A musically diverse lineup will anchor the third edition of Moncton’s Mud City Meltdown festival, slated to take place from July 25 and July 30 at various venues throughout the city.
Among the big names headed to Metro for the festival are long-running Kingston rock band the Headstones, who will be playing their first show in Atlantic Canada in more than 15 years, acclaimed producer and musician Daniel Lanois, as well as Acadian favourites Les Hotesses d’Hilaire and Les Hay Babies.
A number of local and regional acts, including Nova Scotia’s Like A Motorcycle, the Chris Colepaugh-led group Gold City Ashes, folk-rock artist Adyn Townes, Moncton jazz-fusion group Les Paiens, as well as a reunion of Moncton heavy metal group Iron Giant, help to round out the festival’s lineup.
As Mud City Meltdown prepares to get underway in approximately two weeks time, festival coordinator Xavier Leger says one of the primary’s goals of this year’s event is to reach an even bigger audience than what the festival has done in its first two years.
“Not only is this year’s festival going to be our biggest yet, we are really hoping to emphasize the whole notion that we’ve got a wide array of talent coming into the city to help celebrate summer in the Maritimes,” Leger says.
“Over the last number of years, the city of Moncton has shown it’s willing to go all in with hosting events, and has really been making an effort to position itself as a destination city. We want to help give Moncton a music festival to call its own, much like Fredericton has Harvest and Halifax has the Pop Explosion. We want to see the festival grow, and add programming that is going to bring people out. It will take a few years before we have a built-in fanbase that will just trust that we will have something they are interested in seeing, but that is the ultimate goal. That is what we are working towards.”
Diversity has been a key to the growth of Mud City Meltdown in its first two years. Not only has it succeeded in drawing sold-out crowds for the likes of Quebec heavy metal band Voivod and Halifax’s Matt Mays, it has also made a point to offer a number of free performances, including family-friendly shows held in public parks and at the Moncton Market.
“We’ve been fortunate in our first two years to have had the festival garner a good buzz, thus far,” Leger says. “Our festival takes a somewhat different approach to programming in that we want to try to offer something for everyone. Even this year, we’ve heard word of people planning on coming from places like Toronto and in the Northeastern U.S. because the programming and what the area has to offer excites them. It’s not that they can’t see some of these shows in larger cities, but it’s the whole package – the proximity to beaches and national parks, the hospitality, etc. – combined with the schedule of entertainment that ultimately seals the deal on them making the decision to spend the time in Moncton.”
It turns out it’s not just music fans that are looking forward to spending time in Moncton. Both Daniel Lanois and Headstones vocalist Hugh Dillon are looking forward to their imminent return to the Metro area.
This will be Lanois’ first performance in the city since he played at the Capitol Theatre in the fall of 2014.
While Lanois’ earlier solo works covered a rich, folk-inspired tapestry, his most recent studio album, Goodbye To Language, is an ambient, instrumental masterpiece that ultimately relies on a relatively minimalistic soundtrack.
He notes that while almost any artist feels most partial to their most recent works, he debated whether he should be calling upon earlier material to help ensure his audience was satisfied.
“Knowing how the English and French languages co-exist in Moncton, I had been contemplating whether I should plan on including some of my French-Canadian folk songs during the show, but was told by a good friend that this festival has its foot in the future, and that I should make no assumptions whatsoever when it comes to my performance,” Lanois says.
“To be able to pull into town, knowing people are looking forward to hearing what I am up to, and are excited by that, is really all that any artist can ask for. I’m truly looking forward to returning to Moncton at the end of the month.”
For the Headstones, the time since they last played Moncton has been significantly longer than Lanois – it’s been the better part of a decade and a half. Although the group spent almost a decade on hiatus, ultimately reconvening in 2011, they have a new record in tow – Little Army – that they are anxious to bring to their Moncton fans.
“As a band, we’ve always want to get back to places like Moncton, namely because it’s been such a long time since we last played there,” Dillon says. “Tour routing doesn’t always work out the way we’d like it to, so when the opportunity to perform at Mud City Meltdown landed in our lap, there was no way we could, or wanted to, say no. We can’t wait to be back on the East Coast.”
What: Mud City Meltdown
When: July 25 through July 30
Where: Various venues throughout Moncton
For ticket information, visit www.mudcitymeltdown.ca
Tuesday July 25
7 p.m. – Adyn Townes – Victoria Park, Moncton – Free
Wednesday July 26
Noon – Amateur Trahan – Oak Lane, Downtown Moncton – Free
5 p.m. – Official festival launch party – Le Caveau, Sommet Lane – Free
Thursday July 27
7 p.m. – La Grande Messe des Hay Babies et des Hotesses d’Hilaire – Central United Church, Queen St. – $25
9 p.m. – Violett Pi with The Squirts – Le Caveau, Sommet Lane – $15 – 19+ only
Friday July 28
Noon – Billy Knowles – Oak Lane, Downtown Moncton – Free
6:30 p.m. – Headstones with The Monoxides, Like A Motorcycle, and Gold City Ashes – Riverfront Park, Assomption Blvd., Moncton – $40
7:30 p.m. – Forward Music Group 10th Anniversary Show featuring The Olympic Symphonium, Gianna Lauren, and Lydia Mainville – Empress Theatre, Robinson Court, Downtown Moncton – $20
10 p.m. – Iron Giant with Galactus, Diner Drugs – Le Caveau, Sommet Lane – $15 – 19+ only
Saturday July 29
10 a.m. – Scotty & The Stars, and Stephen Lewis – Moncton Market, 120 Westmorland St., Moncton – Free
6 p.m. – Marc a Paul a Jos with The Galpines – Empress Theatre, Robinson Court, Downtown Moncton – $15 in advance / $20 on day of the show
7 p.m. – Daniel Lanois with Les Paiens – Riverfront Park, Assomption Blvd., Moncton – $40
10 p.m. – Fuzz Fiction with Little You, Little Me and Los – Plan b Lounge, 212 St. George St., Moncton – $10 – 19+ only