In front of me were two little girls dancing along to the music. Beside me was David Coon, video taping the musical performance. At the back of the room there was a line up for free samples of beer and food, and all throughout the York Street NB Liquor there were people talking and listening.
The night was centred on two things: the launch of Picaroons seasonal beer, Winter Warmer, and the announcement of a few of the performers that will be coming to Fredericton between Jan. 22 and 25 for the Shivering Songs Festival.
“Almost every other music festival in Atlantic Canada occurs between May and October,” explained Shivering Songs co-organizer Brendan MaGee. “This creates a lull in the months where people need a boost more than ever.”
For the 2015 festival, the initial line up includes Owen Pallett, a musician from Mississauga who has worked with everyone from Arcade Fire to Taylor Swift. Pallett has won a Polaris Music Prize, a couple of Junos and has been nominated for an Academy Award for his work on the Her soundtrack.
Joining Pallett this year will be Buck 65, Amelia Curran, Bry Webb, Alan Jeffries & 50 Shades of Blue, Greg MacPherson, and Peter Broderick.
“We’re an intimate folk festival at heart, but we push the boundaries of that, both with more challenging programming like Owen Pallett and with higher energy late night shows like Buck 65,” said MaGee.
Along with musical performances, each year the festival also features an author.
This year, the author will be Sean Michaels, whose novel Us Conductors is shortlisted for the Giller Prize.
Between the line-up announcement and samples of Picaroons, Josh Bravener and his musical guests, Kelly Waterhouse and Nicci Blewett, showed that not all good performers have to come from out of town.
“I love performing, and when I get to do it for my favourite local business, it makes it that much better,” said Bravener.
MaGee agreed that the music scene in Fredericton is often times underrated.
“Fredericton is a fantastic place to make music, as well as take it in,” he said. “There is a small but mighty local scene here, home to a handful of the country’s finest bands and venues.”
Whether people were there for Bravener’s musical performance, the free beer and food or for the line up announcement for Shivering Songs, the night highlighted some of the best that Fredericton has to offer.
It was intimate and not pretentious, and though most people are probably a little disappointed that winter is practically here, the event was a reminder of the good things that come during the colder months.
For McGee and the organizers of Shivering Songs, there is still a lot to be done before the January festival though, as they plan on having another line up announcement before Christmas, but McGee promises, “we’re well on our way to the best Shivering Songs yet.”