Now entering its second year, the Moncton-based Codiac Music Fest is out to prove that great music can be found in all corners of the city.
Offering an array of talent from both Metro Moncton and around the Maritimes, the Codiac Music Fest kicks off on Wednesday with a free noon-hour performance by pop artist Shaun LeBlanc at Oak Lane in downtown Moncton.
Two free events at city hall – one at noon, the other at 7 p.m. – are among Thursday’s highlights. Later Thursday evening, the Tide & Boar Gastropub and Plan b Lounge will each host events starting at 10 p.m.
From there, the main events for Friday and Saturday evenings move to a newly installed tent along Riverfront Park, where the likes of Moncton bluegrass favourites the BackYard Devils, the Divorcees, Charlie A’Court and more will perform.
“Ultimately, we are looking to make the Codiac Music Festival a destination festival,” says festival director Xavier Leger. “We want to bring people to the city to attend the festival but also give them a reason to stay. Bringing in bigger headlining acts is an absolute long-term goal, but it is something that we must grow towards as opposed to making it happen immediately.”
One area of growth the festival has taken on this year is the installation of a tent in Riverfront Park in downtown Moncton.
Although the festival’s inaugural year was met with good weather, having a tent to protect festival-goers and artists from the elements gives Xavier and his team peace of mind.
Creating an overall positive atmosphere for all involved, both off and on stage, is among Xavier’s chief concerns. He says that many of the acts on this year’s bill told him they had heard good things about the quality of last year’s festival, which helped alleviate some of the concerns associated with new festivals.
“That is exactly what we are after,” he says. “Building and maintaining fruitful relationships with the artists is going to be a key to the longevity of the Codiac Music Festival. When artists talk amongst themselves about how well things ran last year, that in turn helps to encourage others to come on board. And when the artists are enjoying themselves, that energy translates to the audience watching the show.”
While it is common for many music festivals to rely on talent from outside of the region where it is based, there is an undeniably strong focus on local and Maritime music at the festival.
“The local component is really what drives us,” Xavier says. “Everyone involved with putting this festival together grew up in the local music scene and has a love of live music. We happen to be very lucky to be surrounded by a wealth of talented artists, not only here in Moncton but throughout Atlantic Canada.”
Despite the lack of any acts performing at Magnetic Hill over the last few years, there have been plenty of other smaller-scale festivals and pop-up shows to help fill that void. Asked if he shares any concern about the sheer number of music events taking place in the Maritimes this summer and whether the Codiac Music Festival is feeling any heat from the competition, Xavier says that he feels there is room for everyone at the table.
“We aren’t terribly worried about over-saturation when it comes to other events,” he says. “But by the same token, we don’t ever want to be in a position where we are repeating ourselves simply for the sake of continuing. As time goes on, I think we will discover what sets the Codiac Music Festival apart from other festivals in the Maritimes. It is what is driving us to become better.”