Music New Brunswick Week Celebrates Home-Grown Talent

If you’re a fan of homegrown music – meaning you enjoy music made right here in the province of New Brunswick – then the concept of Music New Brunswick Week is not foreign to you.

The week is a celebration of music that encompasses all genres including rock, Acadian, blues, spiritual, roots and more, at venues throughout Metro Moncton including the Tide & Boar and Plan b. Those venues will host some of the very best talent that the province has to offer, including Jared Lutes, Francelle Maria, Julie Doiron, Penny Blacks and Dominique Dupuis, who are among the more than 35 acts performing between Thursday and Saturday evenings.

Music New Brunswick Week culminates with the presentation of more than 20 Music N.B. Awards during a celebration to be held at Moncton’s downtown Crowne Plaza Hotel on Sunday evening. Award winners are determined through a combination of Music New Brunswick membership, a jury vote and public voting. The general public can listen to and vote for their favourite New Brunswick artists by visiting musicnb.org.

Although live music is an integral part of Music New Brunswick Week, there are also conferences scheduled for those interested in advice from industry sources, including independent record labels and artist managers.

Whether you are a musician or a music fan, Music New Brunswick Week offers a little something for everyone.

Music New Brunswick Week originated in 2004, and ran until 2007. The event was put on hold for a number of years, finally resuming under the guidance of executive director Jean Surette in 2010. Considering that Music New Brunswick consists of only two employees with a board of directors who volunteer their time, the growth that both Music New Brunswick Week and the organization have shown over the course of the past two years has been remarkable.

Surette attributes that growth to their communication strategies and branding.

‘Our membership has been growing year over year, which in tur n helps our profile to grow,’ he says.

Moncton musician Brock Gallant will be pulling double duty during the week. Gallant plays drums for Moncton outlaw country band The Divorcees and is also the talent buyer for Plan b Lounge. Although he doesn’t deny the opportunity to scope out new talent during Music New Brunswick Week, he says that he also has to take a more grounded approach to eyeballing new talent.

‘I expect that I will book some acts that are playing during the course of the week, but I try very hard to stay clear of the hype.

The awards and nominations rarely translate directly into an instant audience,’ he says.

‘There is no question that the awards help open doors for our emerging and export-ready artists and help them make inroads in new markets. What I anticipate looking for are bands that show the right drive and have the determination required to build a fan base at Plan b. Someone told me it takes five shows or trips to a venue before you hit your true potential, and I believe this to be true. Bands that are actively working to promote themselves during Music New Brunswick Week, the ones that are tweeting, postering and busking will be the ones to get the shows.’

Among the most notable additions to Music New Brunswick Week this year are more stages in order to host more talent. While Surette has done his best to avoid setting up concurrently running shows in the past, an abundance of talent fed scheduling in 2012.

‘For the last two years, we had no shows that overlapped with one another,’ Surette proudly notes. ‘This year, partially inspired by this past April’s East Coast Music Awards, we thought we would give people a little more variety.

‘Ultimately, it allows us to program more artists as well which benefits everyone.’

Article published in the October 8, 2012 edition of the Times & Transcript