The sound of music will be filling Downtown Moncton this week with the return of Festival (506), a four-day celebration of made in New Brunswick music.
Festivities kick off on Thursday evening at the Tide & Boar Ballroom with the 8th annual Prix MNB Awards. A total of 23 awards are slated to be presented to both musicians and industry personnel alike, and will include performances from Saint John’s Mike Biggar, Laurie LeBlanc, indie rock act Motherhood and Hampton singer-songwriter Jessica Rhaye.
On Friday and Saturday evening, some of the province’s biggest names, along with a number of up-and-comers, across all genres of music will be showcasing at the Aberdeen Cultural Centre and at the Tide & Boar Ballroom.
From Moncton outlaw country act The Divorcees to singer-songwriters including Adyn Townes and Brittany McQuinn to nationally acclaimed rock band The Motorleague and Acadian artist Joey Robin Haché, there is a little something of interest to everyone this coming weekend.
For Music New Brunswick Executive Director Jean Surette, this is one of the most wonderful – and most hectic – times of the year, but he remains steadfast in his determination that the festival serves an important purpose.
“Generally speaking, there is never any shortage of new albums and artists coming from the province. The quality is as strong as it’s ever been,” Surette says.
Although kicking off the conference with the awards presentation runs contrary to how many music festivals operate, Surette insists the early awards presentation helps drive interest in the remainder of what the festival has to offer.
“The awards are undoubtedly one of the highest profile things the festival does,” he says. “We’ve found that by putting the award presentations at the start of the festival, it helps give more visibility to the conferences and showcases that follow them. The festival might only be four days, but it’s a full four days by all accounts. When there is a lot of stuff taking place, it can be difficult to capture people’s attention, so getting the awards handed out and carrying on with the rest of the festival makes sense from a number of different standpoints.”
In addition to offering the public the chance to see some of the province’s best talent, Festival (506) also serves as an important learning and advice space for musicians.
“Music is a competitive space to try to make a living. With the conferences offered throughout the festival, we want to offer advice on how artists can get their music heard and placed to help create additional revenue streams, among other topics” Surette says.
Among those other topics is helping shine a light on overseas markets, looking at how the industry and province can make the music business more inclusive for women, as well as the impact of the province’s music industry on its GDP.
“We were looking to do something a little different with our conferences this year, including how we can make the industry more female-friendly. We not only want to focus on what’s wrong and where we have opportunities for improvement, but want to come out of this with a definitive list on the role we can play in making things better,” Surette says.
“Over the last few years, we’ve seen an uptake in the number of artists staying on top of the business side of things, and taking advantage of the opportunities to better understand how to go about generating revenue. It’s not enough to just throw your songs up on Spotify and iTunes, sit back, and hope for the best. We are encouraging both established artists as well as those newer to the business to take advantage of the knowledge being offered by the guests appearing at the conferences.”
Prix MNB Award tickets are $25. Music New Brunswick Festival passports are $25 and offer admission to all shows, with the exception of the awards show. Individual show tickets can be purchased for $10 each, subject to capacity. Passport Pro passes, offering admission to all showcases and conferences, are $40.
For more information on Festival (506), including a listing of conferences, visit www.musicnb.org.
Festival (506) Showcase Schedule:
Friday Oct. 13
Indie Folk & Traditional Stage – Aberdeen Cultural Centre – 140 Botsford St., Moncton – 7:30 p.m.
Ladd & Lasses
Pop, Country & Blues Stage – Tide & Boar Ballroom – 700 Main St., Moncton – 7:30 p.m.
Habeas Country Stage – Aberdeen Cultural Centre – 140 Botsford St., Moncton – 10:15 p.m.
The BackYard Devils
Carpe Rockem Stage – Tide & Boar Ballroom – 700 Main St., Moncton – 11 p.m.
Little You, Little Me
Saturday Oct. 14
Pop & Folk Stage – Aberdeen Cultural Centre – 140 Botsford St., Moncton – 7:30 p.m.
Joey Robin Haché
Pop & Rock Stage – Tide & Boar Ballroom – 700 Main St., Moncton – 7:30 p.m.
David In The Dark
Cogito Ergo Punk Stage – Tide & Boar Ballroom – 700 Main St., Moncton – 11 p.m.