FREDERICTON, N.B. – The end of summer often means a return to work and school – but for Frederictonians, it can be the best time of year.
It’s time for the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival.
The annual music festival is turning 24 this week, and bringing in crowds from all across Canada and the United States to help celebrate.
“It’s sort of like the city’s homecoming weekend,” said David Seabrook, the festival’s founder. “People are coming in from Calgary and Vancouver and all over the states and of course with the students coming back into town last week, there’s a great sense of energy in the community.”
Last year, the festival counted close to 80,000 admissions over the six music-filled days. And because the festival is spread throughout downtown Fredericton, there’s a big impact on the community.
“We’re thinking it’s somewhere in the $7 to $8-million impact on the community,” Seabrook said. “So that’s everything from hotels to restaurants to babysitters, taxis, even some of the suppliers of the hospitality industry have their best weekend of the year the weekend before harvest. You notice a lot of the shops get their fronts painted the week before harvest, so there’s a lot of activity that’s generated around the festival.”
And this is one of the busiest weeks of the year for city hotels, many of which are already booked up. Sara Holyoke, general manager for the Delta Fredericton, says they are at full capacity for Friday and Saturday nights.
“It makes the city come alive. For our guests, it’s a great opportunity for them to get out, have a business meeting, and then get out and enjoy some entertainment in the evening. We have guests that actually book to come specifically for Harvest, and people will book conferences and meetings around Harvest.”
With four stages, plus clubs, pubs, buskers, and free shows – music is coming from every corner of Fredericton this week and that’s just what retailers want to hear.