This year I want to go to festivals! Last year I finally got to attend the Larlee Creek Hullabaloo in Perth Andover and if you know me at all or if you have been following me online since last summer you will know that it was just an epic experience! So much so that this year I am inspired to attend even more festivals that I’ve always heard about but never been able to attend and I also want to hit up some of my favourite festivals that I haven’t attended in awhile. I decided when the New Year began that 2018 was going to be the Year of Festivals!
So in the blink of an eye suddenly we’re in March and I’ve got a huge case of Cabin Fever and some of the festivals I’m interested in attending are starting to release information for the 2018 season. Now I’ve got to decide which ones am I going to take in? I need a plan! I don’t think I can go everywhere and do everything, not just because of the cost of attending these things but also I need family time and home time and I don’t know if I have the resources and energy to go someplace every weekend. Choices need to be narrowed down and decisions need to be made soon!
Here are the festivals on my radar this spring:
- Flourish Festival, Fredericton (19-22) – honestly this festival has been kind of low on my radar, but only because I really haven’t heard much about it … it definitely has some attractive selling points. It’s an interdisciplinary art festival that uses alternative spaces like galleries, bars, etc. The full schedule hasn’t been announced yet, but the musical acts have and there are a lot of good ones on the list including The Olympic Symphonium, David in the Dark, The Hypochondriacs, Kendra Gale, Brent Mason, and a whole lot more! There are a lot of performers in the line-up! Another plus is that weekend passes are only $60 (plus $4.99 fees). Fredericton has some pretty awesome vegan food choices when you’re dining out and I’ve recently learned that Catch Urban Grill in the Delta even has a vegan menu, you just have to ask for it, which is fantastic! I am definitely considering this festival.
- Frye Festival, Moncton (21-28) – I have attended Frye a few times and it is always pretty awesome, but I haven’t been to a Frye Festival since … I think 2012 was the last time. This is Atlantic Canada’s largest literary happening and it is super high on my list this year for a number of reasons. First, I haven’t been in six years and that is just way too long. Second, my niece asked me to take her this year and it’s her grad year and I know that soon she will be off on her own life adventures and won’t even want to spend time with me anymore so I have to seize these moments while I still can. Third, I think the bulk of the activities will happen on the weekend when my other niece is also available to attend, and ever since they were little girls I’ve always wanted to take them to this kind of stuff. So 2018 is shaping up to be the year! I am confused by the dates though … it’s Saturday to Saturday, so when is the Soiree Frye? I don’t remember the schedule running that way. When are the readings? What is happening? Where? What does it cost? And can my 18 year old nieces even go to the things I want to take them to or are they 19+ events only? … it seems I am woefully out of touch with the Frye dynamic and I have more questions than answers. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of information available yet either, but all will be revealed apparently on March 21st. One thing is certain, I cannot be in Fredericton and Moncton the same weekend, and I can’t see me travelling two weekends back to back, so a choice is going to have to be made between Flourish and Frye.
- WordSpring, Quispamsis (11-13) – The Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick annual writing festival happens in a different location each year and this year it’s in Quispamsis. Miramichi hosted this festival in … 2016, I think. I have attended this one many many times. I have been the organizer of this event a couple of times in Miramichi and once in Sackville. This is always a great time and a really good weekend. And this is definitely something I could take my niece or nieces to, because I have already done so the last time it was held here. If Frye turns out to be a big old bust, this might be an option. I must admit I am more open and interested in taking workshops this year than I have been in awhile and there are some good ones in the line-up. This is not a cheap weekend though. Unless I can find some Miramichiers heading down to it, there will be return bus fare ($118) plus taxi to and from the bus station ($15 per trip in Miramichi … unsure about Quispamsis) plus hotel ($119 +HST per night), and I am not at all sure about the taxi situation in Quispamsis, can I even get from the Circle K to the hotel or do I need to walk? I have also let my WFNB membership lapse because of financial hurdles, so I will either need to renew that at $60 and pay the $100 registration fee for the weekend or embrace my non-member status and register for $130. There is a dinner that I always attend when I go to this event, which costs $35 extra (generally a bargain) but there are no vegan options on the buffet menu at all, so I guess I would be skipping that (bummer!) But this brings up the question of food for the entire weekend and the availability of vegan choices in Quispamsis or even the availability of a fridge and microwave in my hotel room if there are no local vegan options and I need to bring my own food. So this is not the easiest festival option for me by any stretch of the imagination, but still, depending on how these things play out, it might still be something I attend. But with WordSpring I have two decisions to make … Frye or WordSpring? And also WordSpring or Paddlefest? I gotta say, WordSpring is seeming too hard to fit in this year.
- Paddlefest, St. Andrew’s (17-20) – This music and outdoor recreation festival has been on my radar for at least 15 years but I have never attended. In fact I’ve only been through this area a few times in my life and I’ve only ever been to St. Andrew’s for an overnight type visit once a very long time ago on a family vacation with my mom, sister, brother-in-law, and kids (or was there only one child at that time?) At any rate, St. Andrew’s is practically an undiscovered land for me, which is just one of the reasons why Paddlefest is super attractive this year. Early Bird passes go on sale this week though, like March 8th, and the line-up and schedule will not have been announced prior. The only thing I know for sure is that The Sadies and Julie Aube are on the Main Stage Friday night. People are already booking accommodation and I’m pretty sure the limited number of early bird passes will sell out fast. So I need to be decisive about this one and get in there ASAP if I really want to go. But there is some question whether my boyfriend will be available or working away then, and if he is working away, who will go with me? And if he is here, should we camp out or find a place to stay? Will it be too cold to be in a tent in May in New Brunswick? Should I shell out the extra cash and cross staying at the Algonquin off my bucket list? Are there vegan food options in restaurants that are greatly geared toward seafood like I know the ones in St. Andrew’s are? Ugh! So many questions! And again so few answers to help me make this decision quickly. And I need to make this one quickly if I want to get the best deal.
I don’t have any festivals on my mind for June, but I am open to suggestions. June is my birthday month and some years when my boyfriend is here for my birthday we head to Alma, which is my favourite place to relax in the province. But June is also graduation month and I have a niece and a nephew who will be graduating, so there will be lots going on with gatherings and prom and ceremonies, etc.
Plus, I live in Miramichi which is chocked full of festivals, there will be Rotary SpringFest, Rock ‘n Roll Festival, powwows and all kinds of things that I will be checking out in my own backyard happening mid-May and pretty much every weekend right through the whole summer.
So what do you think? Where should I plan to go April through June? Do you know any of the answers to my questions about these events? Or is there a really great annual festival anywhere in the Maritimes that I need to add to my list? Because I am definitely open to going to Nova Scotia or PEI for the right event.
I am working on another post looking at festival options for July through autumn, so keep an eye out for that post coming soon and leave me a comment today with all your advice and suggestions so I can start making some of these decisions right away.