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Perish Fest set to take over Fredericton

This weekend, lovers of independent art in Fredericton have yet another reason to give thanks: Perish Festival is making its triumphant return.

The two-day event will offer live music, film screenings, an art fair, improv and more! The festival will take place across multiple venues—including the Capital Complex, the Charlotte Street Arts Centre, and Bellwether.

The event, organized by Jane Blanchard, is an offshoot of Flourish, an annual festival held each spring. Blanchard, who performs as both a solo act and as a member of David In The Dark, is a UNB alumna—and, in a way, so is the festival.

“I graduated a few years ago from Renaissance College,” Blanchard explained. “For a leadership course, we had to create a community project…so I decided to start a music festival.”

The festival project became Flourish. Following several successful installments, Blanchard decided to add an October edition—after all, there’s one in the springtime; why not have one in the fall?

Both Flourish and Perish provide opportunities for local, independent artists to showcase their talents outside of the larger events like Harvest, where big-name acts can sometimes overshadow hometown talent. Nearly all participating artists in this year’s Perish lineup hail from Fredericton or Saint John—though some have come from even further, such as Jon Mckiel from Nova Scotia, and Lina Tullgren from Maine.

Other acts on the schedule include local favourites Cellarghost, The Waking Night and Aminal.

As mentioned above, though, the festival includes more than just music. Hot Garbage Players, for instance, are a comedy collective who will present an improv show at the Wilser’s Room. In addition, the Charlotte Street Arts Centre will host a documentary screening about Quality Block Party—a festival which happened in Saint John last spring. Artwork will be presented by Mermaid Boyfriend, Pension Clothing, Robin Goodine as well as many others. Finally, Connexion ARC, a Fredericton-based non-profit art centre supporting contemporary work, will be on hand leading various activities.

Though the current venues are not fully accessible—something Blanchard hopes to amend in future installments—the Perish team does their best to ensure that the festival is as inclusive as it can be. This includes offering alternative payment options to any interested attendees, who may not be able to pay the event’s admission fees. As Blanchard said, “We would never want anyone to have to miss out on a community event over something like money.”

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