Embracing Local

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HJBF and Stingray Music present 14th annual Rising Star Showcase.


Since the very beginning, Fredericton’s Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival have worked to promote and celebrate the efforts and talents of local musicians. For more than a decade the annual Rising Star Showcase has turned the spotlight some of the best musicians the region has to offer and helped give a well-deserved boost to their careers. Familiar names like Ross Neilsen, Keith Hallett, Matt Andreson and Andy Brown are among the many past winners of this local spotlight event.

“It’s so important to Harvest to invest in and play a role in the growth of the New Brunswick music industry and we’re proud to present the Stingray Rising Stars Showcase to our Festival audiences for the 14th year,” says Brent Staeben, Music Director. “Please join us on September 18th and catch these great emerging New Brunswick acts and be part of Harvest history”.

The Rising Star Showcase will take place on Friday, September 18th at 2 p.m. in the Stingray Music Barracks Tent. Each of the four finalists will perform and be judged on talent, originality and stage presence by a panel of music industry experts.

A pre-event online voting campaign will take place and votes will also be taken from members of the audience that afternoon. The panel of industry judges will comprise 50% of the final vote tally and the audience and online voting will represent the remaining 50%. In the event of a tie, the choice of the industry judges will prevail.

The winner—who will be announced immediately following the competition at 4:15 p.m. on Friday, September 18th—will receive $2000 donated by Stingray and the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival. The winning band will also open Friday’s show in the Stingray Barracks Tent with Grand Theft Bus and last year’s Rising Star Winners, Earthbound Trio.

Meet this year’s finalist:

David In The Dark

David in the Dark is already on the up in a big way. With Kevin Belyea spacing out on lead guitar and whammy bar ambience, Jane Blanchard adding colour on keys and harmony vocals, Stefan Westner digging in on the drums, Dylan Ward pumping solidly on the bass and Evan Leblanc delivering lead vocals backed by some seriously driving rhythm guitar, David in the Dark is a band that is also seriously savvy. Though young, these players are a cohesive and creative unit. David in the Dark is not only pushing across musical genres to deliver original tunes that kick and punch above their weight, but they’re doing it with a focus on delivering seriously good music. Vote for David in the Dark.

Free To Grow

New on the New Brunswick scene, Fredericton’s big sounding nine-piece band Free To Grow released their self-titled debut album in November 2014. Their first live performance was in September 2014. With a variety of influences, they consider themselves “a mix of Folk, Rock, Progressive and East Coast in a Classic Rock blender.” The music has had airplay locally, regionally, and even internationally. They have had great critical reviews from Polaris Prize Juror Adam Bowie and also from CBC in Fredericton, Saint John and Halifax. Vote for Free to Grow.

Hum & Hollow

Hum and Hollow explore acoustic music through a variety of genres which has contributed to their diversity and quick acknowledgement in the local music circuit. Vote for Hum & Hollow.

Stephen Lewis

“For the past 4 years I have been booked on for such major festivals as Evolve, Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival, Come Together Music Festival, The Big Kick It Festival and several other festivals held in Canada and America,” said Lewis.  “I have had the pleasure of opening for such acts as The Hornitz, OKA, That1guy, The Joel Plaskett Emergency, performed with and opened for Zach Deputy on The Evolve Festivals main stage, played a personal show for Michael Franti of Spearhead, and was most recently asked to join Dubfx live on stage in Calgary. In the summer of 2014, I headed out on two official Eastern Canada tours spanning five provinces with two shows at Toronto’s legendary Horseshoe Tavern. I was nominated for “Emerging Artist of the Year” award in 2013 and for “Urban Recording Artist of the Year” in 2014 by The Music New Brunswick Association.” Vote for Stephen Lewis.

The Rising Star Showcase | Friday, September 18, 2015 | 2 p.m. | The Stingray Music Barracks Tent | Free Admission

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