An influx of music lovers are expected to descend upon Sackville once again over the New Brunswick Day weekend as the town gets set for its biggest happening of the summer – Sappyfest.
More than 1,000 indie fans from throughout North America are expected to descend upon the community from Aug. 2-4 for the 14th annual Sappyfest, an event that is now regarded as one of the must-attend festivals on the summer circuit.
Organizers are putting the final touches together for the event, which, as usual, will feature a diverse line-up of indie music throughout the three-day festival, as well as an assortment of street vendors, a craft and zine fair, poetry and novel readings, artist talks and exhibitions, dance performances and much more.
“There’s a wild mix of things happening which is part of the thrill of it,” said Steven Lambke, creative director for the festival.
Lambke has been involved in Sappyfest since its inception, having been invited to Sackville as one of the festival’s first performers. The Sappyfest vibe quickly grew on him and his involvement soon became more than just as an artist – he not only has since served as stage manager, board member, volunteer, and its creative director, but the Ontario musician even made the move to Sackville in 2009.
“I was spending more time here every year and growing more and more fond of the place and the people here” said Lambke.
Lambke said he believes the secret behind Sappyfest’s success, and the reason it continues to draw people back here time and again, is its quaint and intimate atmosphere. Being able to host such a unique, community-run festival right in the centre of a small town is part of the charm – the audience gets the opportunity to mingle and interact with the musicians and vice versa.
“The truth of the matter is we’re all having the same exact experience together,” he said. “Really I just feel like I’m inviting people to a party. And we don’t know what’s going to happen at that party, the connections that are going to be made.”
Downtown Bridge Street will be the centre of the action for the weekend, where a mainstage tent will be set up, although many other venues throughout town will also be used for the various shows – including Thunder & Lightning, Vogue Cinema, the Legion, and Ducky’s.
As per usual, Sappyfest’s line-up includes a wide range of performers, said Lambke, from acoustic folk to hip hop to electronic to punk rock and everything in between.
“It’s a very diverse mix of music.”
Expected to hit the stage are such artists as Apollo Ghosts, Barnacle, Deliluh, FET.NAT, Haviah Mighty, Julie Aube, Mauno, Motherhood, Nyssa, Tryal and The Weather Station, just to name a few.
In addition to musical performances, Sappyfest 14 will also include Short&Sweet, a program of short dance presentations curated by contemporary dancer Katie Ewald. And Alex Samaras of Tryal and The Queer Songbook Orchestra will host an open group singing workshop culminating in an on-stage performance by workshop participants.
The festival brings a welcome energy and vibrant atmosphere to the downtown during the lazy days of summer, and also helps provide a significant economic boom to the local businesses. Not only are festival-goers purchasing tickets or passes for Sappyfest, said Lambke, but they are also spending their dollars on accommodations, meals, gas and merchandise.
“There’s a lot of people coming through for the weekend so there’s definitely a great opportunity there for all the local shops and restaurants,” he said.
Lambke said ticket sales have been going well to date, with an anticipated crowd of between 1,000 to 1,200 people expected throughout the weekend.
Sappyfest has a crew of volunteers ready to help out with the festival, doing everything from ticket sales to site clean-up, but Lambke said there is always a need for more.
For more information on tickets, schedule or to volunteer, visit www.sappyfest.com or the Sappyfest office above Struts Gallery on Lorne Street.