Fredericton music scene remains optimistic through COVID-19


The spread of COVID-19 has affected many job sectors including the music industry.

Gatherings in New Brunswick are limited to 10 people and as a result, festivals like Paddlefest and FLOURISH Festival have been put on hold along with the income of the artists scheduled to play them.

Fredericton artists such as Stephen Lewis are feeling the impact of these mass cancellations.His jam band, Stephen Lewis & The Big Band of Fun, has cancelled their upcoming tours across Canada and the United States and their festival appearances at New York’s Mountain Jam and the iconic Glastonbury Festival in the United Kingdom.

“We were booked for 70 plus dates from May until the end of August and that’s our main source of our yearly income,” said Lewis.

Ahead of the potential financial loss is Lewis’ concern about his own mental health from not being able to perform.

“You get used to a certain way of life and you get used to how you get fed emotionally as well,” he said.

“I love bringing music to people and in a lot of ways that’s more scary than the loss of income.”

However, Lewis is maintaining a strong, positive approach in the wake of the cancellations and said he is holding on and is grateful to have those opportunities in the first place.

He also said the positive response to the COVID-19 pandemic from the rest of Fredericton’s artists, such as moving to performing via live stream, is making it easier to stay optimistic.

“We are still here and we want to share music and I think it’s been really incredible,” said Lewis.

Tim Yerxa, director of the Fredericton Playhouse, echoed similar praise. The Playhouse has had to cancel 33 events.

He said those who work within the arts community are creative, resilient and adaptable enough to survive the current situation.

“If there is any sector who can find their way through such a devastating period financially it’s the art sector.”