New Brunswick plan to reopen music to festival organizers
New Brunswick’s plans to lift COVID-19 restrictions by August 2, pending vaccination rates, are music to festival organizers, but the time may not be right enough to make sweeping changes this year.
The organizers of Harvest Jazz and Blues have the best chance of enjoying a possible unrestricted festival in September.
But will people be comfortable returning to large gatherings so early? This is what festival organizers are trying to measure now.
Brent Staeben, music director for the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival, said they were sending out a customer survey to gauge how comfortable it was with being in a large crowd.
“To get a feel for people on what their comfort level will be now and potentially similar to September,” he said.
Few details on this year’s festival have been released, but Staeben said they plan to have a live audience in September ahead of the government’s announcement.
He said that depending on the results of the investigation, they may be able to have more than they had planned.
More details will be released in mid-June, once organizers hear from customers.
For area 506 organizers in Saint John, news of the province’s plans to lift COVID-19 restrictions in early August is good news, but too late for their festival this year.
“For this summer, we had to plan with what we knew,” said Ray Gracewood, founder of Area 506.
Usually, the festival takes place during the New Brunswick day long weekend, but this year organizers have planned a new format to work with COVID-19 restrictions that have been in place for months.
This year the festival will be a series of concerts by the waterfront in July and August.
People will sit with their friends in groups of six or ten people.
Gracewood said he was happy with the festival’s new approach this year and was happy with the setup.
“I think we’ve come up with a great solution that kind of allows us to offer a ten-concert series.”
Virtual show for baroque fans
Fans of Baroque music from the Acadian Peninsula will have to wait a little longer to return to live performances for the Lamèque International Baroque Music Festival.
Organizers filmed this year’s festival to show it online in July.
Vincent Lauzer is the artistic director of the festival and said many artists come from outside the province.
“We have to be flexible and our main goal is always to deliver good music to people,” he said.
Lauzer said that while New Brunswick’s potential reopening won’t change their festival this year, he would like to try putting on some sort of live show at Lamèque before next summer.