Joel Plaskett on the Mojo Stage [Photo: Scott Greer]

This year’s Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival was incredible. I’m so glad to have had the chance to check out so many fantastic performances and to have the chance to write about my experience.

To wrap up my coverage, I’d like to share 10 highlights from my Harvest.

  1. Opening night shows. It’s a shame that the ultimate pass holders didn’t necessarily get out on Wednesday night – the combination of Keith Hallett, Garrett Mason, Keb’ Mo’, Andy Brown, and Joel Plaskett was phenomenal. Plaskett in particular captured my heart – I’m already looking forward to his St. John show this November.
  2. Paper Lions. I’m surprised that I haven’t checked out their music before. They caught my attention at the Harvest and I’ll be following their music.
  3. Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires. We popped into Bradley’s Friday night show for a few minutes. I was blown away by the passion and enthusiasm that he brought to his music. The lyrics “No time for dreaming, you’ve gotta get on up and do your thing” really struck home with me – there really is no time like the present to live your dreams.
  4. Avett Brothers. This was the most packed, enthusiastic show of my Harvest. I loved the Avett’s unique sound – a mix of folk, country, pop, and rock. They performed like real rock stars; impressing everyone with their voices and instrumental expertise.
  5. John Mayall. I caught about 20 minutes of Mayall’s performance and enjoyed his charming stage presence, entertaining vocables, and guitar skills. However, it was Mayall’s bassist who performed one of the most memorable solos of my Harvest – he was unbelievable!
  6. Ross Neilsen. This New Brunswick rocker was fantastic! He performed a 20 minute set at the Blues tent after the release party for his new album ‘The Shack Up Sessions”. His guitar skills and rock & roll style showmanship made me wish for more.
  7. Said the Whale. I finally got to see one of my favourite bands! The performance was fantastic and I enjoyed singing along to the group’s catchy lyrics.
  8. Afterburner featuring Maceo Parker. I finally got to my first Harvest Afterburner! Macro Parker kept everyone dancing and having a great time until after 2 in the morning. What a party!
  9. Buskers. This was one of my first times seeing buskers in Fredericton. I got to see a fire show and a young boy on a ridiculous unicycle.
  10. Epic closing lines.You know when a band ends on a high note, with the entire audience singing a line that perfectly reflects the place/time/mood? That’s my favourite thing. Here are a few that I loved:
    • Joel Plaskett: “There’s a reason that I love this town”
    • Avett Brothers: “I and Love and You”
    • Said the Whale: “What a fine life we are living”

Avett Brothers – Bob Crawford (bass) and Seth Avett (guitar) [Photo: Scott Greer]