Harvest Music Festival celebrates 31 years

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Fredericton is gearing up for one of its most anticipated weeks of the year: the Harvest Music Festival.

Before the pandemic, the festival drew thousands of attendees. The 2019 fair welcomed nearly 100,000 visitors, as well as hundreds of musicians and artists. The past two years have looked a little different as the festival went live in 2020, and in 2021 proof of vaccination was required.

But this year, organizers say it’s as close to normal as possible.

“We encourage all of our volunteers and members of our public to wear properly fitted N-95 masks. It is our policy to encourage this,” said Jeff Richardson, general manager of the festival. “We’ve adjusted some of the sites in really exciting ways to create more outdoor spaces.”

Richardson says there are more free concerts and entertainment throughout downtown this year, which he hopes will encourage more people to enjoy the festival experience.

Businesses in the city look forward to this time of year too.

It’s been a positive summer for recovering from COVID-19, but it will take longer, according to the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce.

“I think it will take a long time for businesses to recover financially from two years of huge losses in some cases. And I think there have been changes that you can’t go back to what you were before. Our job market has changed,” said Krista Ross.

But with public schools and universities returning this week, the music festival starting next week, and more conferences scheduled throughout the fall, Ross thinks things are looking up.

“It’s a very busy time of year and we hope it will be positive for our members,” she said.

Richardson says the festival could still use more volunteers to help out.

But in just over a week, he hopes this year’s harvest will be a success.

“I feel like Christmas morning is approaching. It’s such an exciting time in the city and I think that’s reflected in the vibe you’ll feel downtown and also in a lot of the music that’s coming in,” he said.

“This will be our 31st full festival, and this success is largely due to the support we have received from businesses from day one. Almost all of them were able to stay with us in some form during these more difficult years of the pandemic and who are here now and ready to continue supporting us.

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