As the East Coast Music Awards invaded the city of Saint John this past April, an independently-run festival, the Quality Block Party, was launched, showcasing upwards of 60 acts, the majority of which hailed from New Brunswick.
The Quality Block Party was originally conceived as a means to show how broad the music industry in the Maritimes had become. The founder of the festival, Peter Rowan, wanted to provide an outlet for groups that were actively recording and touring, but that didn’t necessarily feel represented by the East Coast Music Awards.
The festival proved to be a rousing success, helping set the stage for the event’s second act, which kick offs tonight, and wraps up on Sunday Aug. 13.
“From an organizational standpoint, everything went well, and the way the community came together to support the first edition of the festival completely exceeded my expectations,” Rowan says.
While the first run of the festival may have seen a small boost in attendance due to running concurrently with the East Coast Music Awards, Rowan believes that in the bigger picture, Saint John deserves credit for being open to the concept behind the festival.
“We are approaching the upcoming festival with the knowledge that the East Coast Music Awards aren’t in town this time around. But we are also confident that the first edition of the festival would have been well received whether the awards were in town at the same time or not. Saint Johners were engaged with the idea of a smaller-scale festival and being a part of a comprehensive event. We are hoping the second edition of the festival is just as well received.”
Like its predecessor, the second Quality Block Party festival is heavy on New Brunswick-based talent.
Moncton native Julie Doiron, Fredericton’s Brookside Mall, Motherhood and hometown favourites including Penny Blacks, Clinton Charlton, Brent Mason and Little You Little Me are among the established acts slated to play, while up-and-coming acts like Amy Stone & The Veneers, Sapsucker, and Fredericton’s Hypochondriacs will also grace various stages throughout the city.
One notable facet of the event is the inclusion of all-ages shows taking place over the course of the festival’s four days. Where the bulk of music festivals tend to be centered on licensed establishments, Rowan proudly notes the involvement of venues like Taco Pica, and the Locavore Café – located in the former Real Foods location on Cantebury St. – helps ensure that those under the age of 19 are also able to take part in the festival.
On Saturday, the spirit of the Quality Block Party will be on full display with a unique series of six shows, each of which will be approximately 30 minutes in length, taking place at neighbouring businesses on Germain St., Princess St., and Grannen Lane.
SHR will kick off the shows at Brick City Barbers at 2 p.m. Immediately afterwards, Russell Louder will perform down the street at Heartbreak Boutique, followed by Brent Mason, Sam Salmon and the Morticia Project at the Exchange on Germain, Elwood’s and Rogue Coffee, respectively. The neighbourhood concert series will wrap up at Backstreet Records with performances by Jerry Faye, Motherhood, and Construction & Destruction.
The festival will wrap up on Sunday with an all-day all-ages show at Taco Pica boasting a dozen bands, including Cellarghost, Crossed Wires, and Usse.
For more information on Quality Block Party v 1.2, including a complete rundown of venues and performers, visit Quality Block Party on Facebook.