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Sixth Shivering Songs Festival proves to be the best yet

Fredericton’s annual Shivering Songs Festival has capped off its sixth year with almost 35 artists playing in seven different venues. This is a huge leap from the eight artists and two venues in its first year, definitely solidifying Shivering Songs as the highlight of midwinter life for many Frederictonians.

All events in this year’s edition were scheduled between Jan. 21-24. As a student the festival was easily afforded and depending on the venue you went to, a lot of shows cost fewer than 10 loonies. At The Capital, for example, there were many excellent shows priced at a cool 8 dollars.

While the festivities kicked off at The Playhouse on Thursday night with Songs of the City, The Hypochondriacs hosted their second Grand Ole Wilser’s on the other side of downtown, at the Wilser’s Room in the Capital Complex. The night was filled with classic country songs by the Hypochondriacs and friends, and was a sold out follow-up to the first Grand Ole Wilser’s, which originally was part of the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival.

Beginning with Motherhood frontman Brydon Crain, the classic country covers were carried on throughout the night, as songs by such musicians as Patsy Cline, Hank Williams and George Jones were performed. The whole cast of musicians provided a thoroughly enjoyable evening for a delightfully age-diverse crowd.

Friday provided a genuine reason to say “TGIF,” as shows went down at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre, Wilmot United Church and throughout The Capital. After performances by the likes of Shane Koyczan with Michael Feuerstack and Alan Jeffries with Juanita Bourque Trio, Vogue Dots with Mauno and Devarrow helped usher in the weekend with a late set that, honestly, you should have been at.

Halifax brought the party with Vogue Dots and opener Mauno, both delivering a fresh take on pop music that’s way cooler than the Top 40 we’ve grown accustomed to. Before the Nova Scotia bands took to the stage though, Moncton local Devarrow did his longhaired folk music thing in between the sets by Juanita Bourque and Alan Jeffries happening at the top floor of the Capital Complex.

Saturday saw events happening all day, with family events happening at the Fredericton Public Library, a craft fair at Wilmot and a live performance by Tim Walker that happened beside a fire at Officer’s Square. Later in the day there were shows at the Boyce Farmer’s Market as well as Yogagrow.

Back at the Capital, The Burning Hell with Quiet Parade and Brookside Mall finished off the weekend, while Mo Kenney played her second show of the night at 12:30am in the Wilser’s Room.

Local Fredericton band Brookside Mall anchored the evening with an airy pop sound, lining up Quiet Parade’s feel good pop rock set. Indie rock vets The Burning Hell closed out the night with a great mix of recent and older songs.

Sunday morning featured the annual Bluegrass Brunch where people were able to recover from a long weekend of music and art and start thinking about who and what to expect for next year.

With multiple options of venue, artists and time slots, Shivering Songs is a flexible and affordable festival for anyone who wishes to warm up their winter season.

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