Fredericton music lovers say a new festival that runs throughout the weekend is a sign that life is getting back to normal.
Sweltering Songs is a new summer festival that is a play on the popular winter festival, Shivering Songs, which was canceled in January due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the province.
A large white tent is set up in the city center of the city and under the canopy are happy spectators and musicians doing what they love. For many, these are things they haven’t been able to do since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Taryn Deane said seeing bands performing live again surrounded by friends was what people have been waiting for since the start of the pandemic.
“It’s kind of sowing seeds of hope, you think about the future, you start to think about Harvest [Jazz and Blues Festival], you start to think that people are actually, not only happy to be outside, but comfortable and relaxed, ”she told the festival on Saturday.
And it’s not the only music festival happening in the province this weekend. Area 506 has launched its Waterfront Concert Series.
Cam Villamizar said he has managed to see live music throughout the pandemic, but Sweltering Songs is the biggest show he has attended since before the pandemic.
“I couldn’t be happier,” he said. “I think for me and for a lot of my friends, this is the reason why we were just trying to resolve this situation quickly, so that we can come back to it.”
Sweltering Songs is a smaller festival than the one organizer Zach Atkinson used to organize before the pandemic.
He said that to account for COVID restrictions, the capacity is around 120 people in the tent.
He said the idea for Sweltering Songs was to create a folk festival and have people bring lawn chairs to sit inside the tent.
Grass for pods
And following the idea of sitting people in pods at similar concerts, he had small patches of artificial turf for people to sit together in small groups.
Atkinson said the festival was staged within a month and he started planning for it once the borders started to open. He was convinced it would not be canceled due to another potential COVID-19 outbreak.
“I wasn’t prepared to invest that time to know it wouldn’t happen, so we did it quickly,” he said.
Atkinson put on small shows throughout the pandemic when restrictions allowed events, but said he was proud to spotlight Sweltering Songs after a tough time for the industry.
“There is a lack of work for artists, there is a lack of work for the industry, and there is a lack of opportunities for music fans to go and see things.”
The three-day festival ends Sunday evening.