Music New Brunswick Week kicks off today

Some of New Brunswick’s best and brightest musicians will congregate in Moncton beginning today for the 2011 edition of Music New Brunswick Week, a four-day cultural event to be held at venues throughout Metro.

The event features public showcases for the bands and musicians taking part, a number of workshops and conferences and culminates with the presentation of the Music New Brunswick Awards on Sunday.

Metro Moncton-area nominees for the almost two-dozen Music New Brunswick awards include Phil Flowers, The BackYard Devils, Marie-Jo Therio, George Belliveau and Lovestorm. Not only do the awards recognize those making some of the region’s most exciting music, they will also honour those working behind the scenes to keep the province’s music scene ticking, including awards dedicated to music professionals and educators, music venues and more.

The winners of Music New Brunswick Awards are determined by a combination of Music New Brunswick member votes, a jury vote and input from the general public. Voting for this year’s Music New Brunswick Awards began on September 15 and wraps up today. Those interested in lending their voice and support to the public vote for their favorite provincial musicians can do so at www.musicnb.org.

Jean Surette stepped into the role of Music New Brunswick’s executive director in 2008. Since that time, he has been a driving force behind revamping Music New Brunswick’s priorities, helping reinforce the infrastructure behind the province’s music industry while guiding it forward.

Asked what he feels are the most notable improvements to the 2011 edition of Music New Brunswick, Surette has a laundry list of items that he is proud to tout.

“This year, we moved to an online application process which helped make the staff’s job easier at the end of the day but I also hope that it was an easy process for the applicants as well,” he says. “In addition to that, on the back-end, the fact that all of the recordings nominated for this year’s Music New Brunswick Awards can be listened to via our website is exciting as well. It allows people to make their decisions based on what they hear and not simply a name.”

While many music festivals try to cram in as much entertainment as they can in a limited span of time, the music showcases featured as a part of Music New Brunswick are set up in a way that the performances minimally overlap with one another. Surette says the pared-down show schedule serves not only the bands best interests but also the fans’ too.

“There is nothing else going on when it is showcasing time. It really is a great time to encourage people to come and discover artists they might not have heard before.”

Asked what his hopes are for his band’s showcase at Plan B Lounge on Saturday night, Hampton resident Jason Ogden of Penny Blacks has modest but optimistic expectations. Ogden says last year’s Music New Brunswick Week afforded his band the opportunity to mingle and meet countless other bands from the province while also providing them the chance to meet with talent buyers from various music festivals.

“Based on our experience from last year, I would say that we are looking forward to a packed show with a really great vibe,” Ogden says. “We are also looking forward to having the opportunity to meet some folks who come to town for the event. We are launching our new record with our showcase and are hoping that people will come celebrate with us.”

Moncton musician and multiple Music New Brunswick Award nominee Phil Flowers is also looking forward to the opportunity to network with the various industry personnel and musicians who will descend upon Metro for Music New Brunswick Week.

“It really is all about networking,” Flowers says. “With my showcase, I am hoping to make some new friends and contacts, people who could help me out in any way, shape or form. Music New Brunswick Week ends up being about new work partnerships, catching up with old friends and hoping that you have some new people hear you.”

So whether you are interested in hearing a great selection of some of the province’s best musical acts or you simply want to brush up on your knowledge of the music industry in New Brunswick, Surette is confident that Music New Brunswick Week has a little something to offer everybody.

“In addition to the phenomenal talent that will be featured, there is a lot of amazing information and knowledge that will be shared during the workshops and conferences on Saturday,” he says.

“Music New Brunswick Week is not just for the seasoned artist; it is as much for the emerging artist or the curious high school student.”

Article published in October 13, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript