Summer concert season is full speed ahead in New Brunswick

Despite what economists are telling us, the 2009 summer concert season in the province of New Brunswick is gearing up for what could possibly be one of the busiest in the past decade.

Here is your guide to shows and festivals taking place throughout the province of New Brunswick this summer:

The fourth annual Maritime Countryfest gets underway in Fredericton, starting on June 11 and running through until June 14. Acts scheduled to appear include Moncton’s The Divorcees, 1755, Neon Highway as well as comedian Jimmy Flynn. Details can be found online at www.maritimecountryfest.com.

The weekend of June 20 and 21 will be a busy one in the province’s capital city with the Black Crowes and Live headlining the city’s FredRock Festival. Also appearing through the course of the weekend are Matt Mays & El Torpedo, The Respectables and Die Mannequin. It is all going down at the Capital Exhibit Center and Raceway on Smythe Street. Tickets range in price from $45 for a single day pass to $69.99 to attend both days. Consult www.fredrockfestival.com for more information.

Moving to the Miramichi, Blue Rodeo will be making their inaugural visit here at the end of June. They will be playing at the Miramichi Exhibition Grounds on Friday June 26 with guests including Matt Minglewood, George Belliveau and McGinty. Doors for the show open at 2:00 pm and things get under way at 3:00. Tickets for the show can be bought for $73.45 each and are available online at www.ticketweb.ca

The very next day in Moncton, Bon Jovi are going to be holding court over the Magnetic Hill Music Festival Summer Kick Off. Tickets for the show are selling respectably well at $131.75 a piece and are available for purchase online at tickets.moncton.ca. Please note that all taxes and service charges are included in that ticket price. Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings of The Guess Who fame will be opening the show, as will Canuck rockers State of Shock.

Salty Jam is returning to rock, pop and roll its way through Saint John this summer, running July 9 through 11 at various venues through the city. Acts slated to appear include Newmarket’s Tokyo Police Club, Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees as well as Montreal’s Black Diamond Bay. Consult www.saltyjam.ca for complete details on what is certain to be a great festival.

Australian rockers AC/DC are bringing their Black Ice World Tour to Magnetic Hill in Moncton on Thursday August 6. Ticket sales have surpassed the 60,000 mark and by all estimates, this will probably be the first show since the Rolling Stones in 2005 to sell out the Hill. The Thursday show date is a bit of an oddity but when you can land a band of AC/DC’s caliber, you take what you can get. By my estimates, there is going to be a lot of people calling in sick to work the day after the show.

John Prine is a legend in the folk-rock world and is headed to the province for shows in Fredericton (August 17) and Saint John (August 18). According to his website, the Fredericton date is already sold out so if you hope to catch him at the Imperial Theatre in Saint John, you’d best be advised to pick up your tickets soon!

It should go without saying that money doesn’t grow on trees; at least not in my backyard. Picking and choosing which shows to attend while on a budget can be a tricky predicament so if your funds are limited, I would highly recommend prioritizing shows based on the likelihood of seeing the acts in question return.

After having seen them in concert ten times in the past 15 years, I can safely say that Blue Rodeo is a good bet and wise investment for fans and non-fans alike. The group has a deep selection of hits they run through in concert and are truly one of Canada’s best live bands.

I have had the fortune (or misfortune, depending on your point of view) of seeing Bon Jovi live on two occasions and have to admit that they put on a great live show. According to Billboard Magazine, Bon Jovi had the highest grossing tour of the year ending 2008, grossing a hefty $210 million, playing to over two million people over 99 shows.

Reports and reviews from the AC/DC Black Ice tour shows to date have been nothing less than stellar. I can almost guarantee that AC/DC won’t be touring around these parts again any time soon. Given the fact that the band tours infrequently as is and that their show in Moncton is one of only seven in all of Canada, I truly think this is a once in a lifetime chance to see these Aussie rockers in Atlantic Canada.

However you choose to spend your entertainment dollars this summer, be sure that you are prepared as to what is accepted and not accepted at the various shows and venues, especially the outdoor festivals.

Most importantly, get out there and have a good time!

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