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New Brunswick’s Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival for Families

by Barbara Rogers

Sep 3, 2019

Stillman Rogers

Destinations / North America

For five days in mid-September, the entire downtown of Fredericton, capital of the Canadian province of New Brunswick, is filled with music and fun as the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival brings musicians and music lovers together. It’s a great event for families, with lots of programs and activities for kids.

New Brunswick, Harvest and Jazz Festival, Fredericton

Photo: Stillman Rogers

Twenty stages provide venues for more than 400 artists in 150 different performances, many free and all within three downtown blocks that are traffic-free during the festival.


In addition to an outstanding lineup on the main stages, where ticket prices start as low as $10, the festival has a long-standing tradition of offering a full schedule of free music programs. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of the festival, the King’s Place Stage presents free lunchtime shows at noon; the stage in front of City Hall features the best of Fredericton’s own up-and-coming talent on Thursday, Friday and Saturday of the festival.

New Brunswick, Children's table, Harvest and Jazz Festival, Fredericton

Photo: Stillman Rogers

The Barracks Tent hosts free performances by the four finalists for the Stingray Rising Stars awards, and there’s more free programing here on Saturday with a performance showcasing the participants in the festival’s Girls + Rock Camp. The Acoustic Stage on Queen Street has free programs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and in Officers’ Square kid-friendly performances begin Saturday at 11 a.m.


Throughout the festival, the Carleton Street stage features free performances by buskers from Thursday to Saturday. And throughout the festival you’ll find buskers, artisan vendors, food trucks and a craft fair in the downtown streets.


In the midst of all the musical performances, on Saturday the grass-covered Officers Square is filled with kids’ activities. There’s face painting and your-face-here picture boards, of course, but kids can also paint their own T-shirts, and have fun with other art projects. There’s always music in the air and Officers’ Square is the venue for free kid-friendly performances. Families bring picnics or collect from the various food trucks and vendors in the festival area to picnic in the park as they listen.

Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival, Children's day. Photo: Stillman Rogers

Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival, Children’s day. Photo: Stillman Rogers

The Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival isn’t the only thing for families to do in Fredericton. In the center of the city, known as the Garrison District, is Officers Square where the music and color of the popular daily Changing of the Guard ceremonies are a great favorite for kids. In the summer there are free concerts and theater performances here, too. Don’t miss taking the kids to see the 42-pound Coleman Frog in the Fredericton Region Museum, located in the former officers’ quarters. You can shop for works by local artists in Barracks Fine Craft Shops, adjacent to the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design. The shops are in the lower level of a three-story stone and wooden barracks built by the British Army in 1827.


Be sure to take the kids to the Science East Science Centre, where more than 150 hands-on exhibits and activities explore energy, technology, dinosaurs, insects, space and the world of animals. They will especially like stepping inside the gyroscope there.


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