One of Metro Moncton’s newest music festivals kicks off this Wednesday, touting a new name and re-focused vision.
Like its former incarnation the Codiac Music Festival, the Mud City Meltdown touts a wide-range of musical acts, bringing a little something for everybody to the table in a combination of free and paid programming. The festival’s programming prowess first made a name for itself over the last two years as the Codiac Music Festival.
When it came time to put this year’s edition of the festival together, organizer Xavier Leger says the organizing committee realized that they needed to take a step back in order to move the festival successfully forward.
In addition to revisiting the infrastructure of the festival, gauging what worked in the past and what might not have worked so well, festival programming also came under the microscope.
“For us, it meant going back to our roots and going back to what mattered to us as music fans and as festival fans,” he says. “We needed to revisit why we got into this to begin with, as I think our initial vision ended up becoming quite diluted over the last two years. With the Codiac Music Festival, I think we were simply trying to be all things to all people and lost sight of our creative vision and drive.”
Rebranding the festival was included in the festival’s desire for a fresh perspective. While some might see the move as a step backwards, Leger says the dividends began to pay themselves almost immediately.
“I feel that giving the festival a different name ultimately helped give the public a better idea of what we are about. The diverse programming that the Codiac Music Festival was known for has been carried over, but with the Mud City Meltdown, we have seen a tremendous difference in the response that we have been given. From a social media perspective alone, we had garnered almost 10 times the awareness which only half the effort. The response has been encouraging, to say the least.”
Compared to its predecessor, Leger says the Mud City Meltdown has thus far relied more upon social media and word-of-mouth as opposed to pouring mass amounts of money into traditional marketing and ads.
“We strategically cut back on traditional marketing efforts and put those funds into securing bands that we felt people want to see and that are going to attract attention. It was undoubtedly the right thing to do.”
Not being on top of the musical festival chain in Atlantic Canada suits Leger and his colleagues just fine. He says they are looking to build the festival into something that will continue to attract a growing audience as years pass by.
“We want the Mud City Meltdown to become a destination festival. We aren’t striving to be the next big rock festival. We are hoping to fill the gap between high-end festivals and the underground scene,” he says. “We are doing our best to bring those worlds together.”
Arguably the biggest name performing at this year’s festival is Quebec heavy-metal band Voivod. With more than a dozen studio albums to their credit, the group were Canadian pioneers of the thrash metal scene in the early 80’s, finding international success as they rose at the same time as their American counterparts in Metallica and Slayer.
Attracting marquee-sized talent is a cornerstone of virtually every music festival. Rather than relying solely upon national or international headliners to attract concert-goers, the Mud City Meltdown is also proud to display a large commitment to local talent as well.
Voice France semi-finalist Caroline Savoie, The BackYard Devils, singer-songwriter Tyler Hache, Kendra Gale and doom-metal band Zaum are just a sample of the New Brunswick acts that are slated to perform over the festival’s five days.
“We have focused on developing a series of shows with a broad appeal. We approached the programming of the shows from a fan perspective, asking ourselves, ‘Would this be a show we would want to see?’”
Leger says the inclusion of Voivod in this year’s festival lineup has been something that was in the works from the outset of the Codiac Music Festival, but that things just hadn’t aligned themselves as perfectly as they did this year.
He sees a bright future for both the region and the Mud City Meltdown, which he hopes will ultimately lead to attracting even bigger names in the future.
“A lot of bigger bands don’t necessarily make a habit of touring the Maritimes. We feel it’s a nice feather in our hat, to be able to attract a world-renowned band like Voivod and have them play their only Atlantic Canadian show as a part of the festival,” Leger says.
“I think that because the Maritimes doesn’t tend to see as many touring acts as other parts of the country, a lot of venues and promoters in the region feel as though we’ve got something to prove. It hasn’t always been easy to attract bands to Atlantic Canada, but as many acts have found out, there is a lot of people who love good music in our corner of the world.”
What: Mud City Meltdown
When: Wednesday July 22 through Sunday July 26
Where: Various venues throughout Moncton
Ticket and schedule information is available online at www.mudcitymeltdown.ca