Can we take a minute to talk about how excited I am for summer in Charlottetown?
So. Much. Music.
Charlottetown starts the summer with a series of free outdoor concerts in Victoria Park for the Charlottetown 1864 Anniversary Celebrations June 10th – 15th. I discovered that a lot of my favourite people will be hitting up the stage. Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys (June 10), Rose Cousins (June 11), Nudie (June 12), Coyote (June 13), More Soul (June 14) and Paper Lions (June 15) are just the tip of this musical iceberg.
Festival of Small Halls returns in June with shows across the Island, including the Late Nights Festival Club at The Old Triangle in downtown Charlottetown. The Late Nights Festival Club starts at 10pm: June 13, 14, 20 and 21. The lineup for Late Nights is usually kept secret, but trust me when I tell you, the surprise is totally worth it.
A couple of weeks later, starting June 28th, Big Red Fest kicks off the first of two weekends at the Charlottetown Event Grounds. You can find all of the ticket and full lineup info on their website. I can’t decide who I am more excited to see that first weekend: Marianas Trench, Lights, Sam Roberts Band or Hey Rosetta.
Canada Day in Charlottetown is going to be jam-packed. In addition to the 10,000 free access passes that have already been reserved there will be 5,000 more available (first come, first served) on July 1st at the Charlottetown Event Grounds. The Concert for Canada features: David Myles, Classified, Roch Voisine, George Canyon, Tegan and Sara and Barenaked Ladies. Did I mention that all of this is free? Don’t forget about the fireworks on the waterfront too!
The 2014 Celebration Zone opens on Canada Day on the waterfront at Confederation Landing and will keep everyone busy this summer with a series of free concerts. You can reserve your free passes starting mid-June. If you’re a fan of Natalie MacMaster and/or The Barra MacNeils you will want to be there that first night (July 4). Keep an eye out for Serena Ryder (July 11), Paul Brandt (July 18), Burton Cummings (July 24), Matthew Good (August 8), Buffy Sainte-Marie (August 13), 1755 (August 15), Matt Andersen (August 16) and The Sheepdogs (August 23). There’s more: Music PEI has put together a killer lineup of local talent. Seriously. There are a lot of insanely talented musicians who just happen to call PEI home and you should definitely be checking out these shows this summer!
On July 12, I’ll definitely be heading back over to the Charlottetown Event Grounds for the 2nd weekend of Big Red Fest. When this lineup was pulled together it was like the organizers were reading my diary. Death Cab for Cutie, Bahamas, Matt Mays, The Killers, Town Heroes and July Talk are all on my must-see list. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be the girl down front swooning over some of my favourites.
From August 7-16 the Civic Centre will play host to everyone’s favourite summer event – Old Home Week. Every year the organizers put together a roster of top-notch musical entertainment and 2014 is no different. There are so many great artists, you just need to check out their website for the full lineup.
The TD Jazz & Blues Festival lineup this year is pretty incredible, let’s be honest it always is. I can’t believe I have never been! There are a few big changes happening with the festival this year, including moving to the PEI Brewing Company. Sherman Downey & The Ambiguous Case with The Chronos Band(August 21), Joel Plaskett Emergency with Mo Kenney (August 22), The Legendary Downchild Blues Band with The F-Holes (August 23) will all be hitting up the main stage and John Campbelljohn (August 23) will be on the late night. St. Paul’s Church is the home of the audience favourite church series, which includes Ron Sexsmith and Dylan Menzie (August 22). I also highly recommend checking out Ben Caplan (August 23) at Fishbones.
One of the last big concerts that will be happening this summer is probably the one that everyone has been waiting for the longest. Canadian country music icon, Shania Twain, will be a part of Founder’s Week 2014 celebrations on August 30th. Did you know that this will be the first time that Shania Twain has ever performed on the Island AND it’s her first concert in the Atlantic Provinces in 15 years? True story.
One last thing. Confederation Centre of the Arts is doing something pretty cool this summer. They have created the concert series ‘Spotlight PEI’. Starting July 12th with Meaghan Blanchard, each week will see a different Island artist taking over The Mack. This concert series could easily be renamed ‘Shannon’s Favourite Island Musicians’. Ten Strings and a Goat Skin (July 19), Ashley Condon (July 26), The Meds (August 2), The First Waltz (August 9), Dennis Ellsworth and Haunted Hearts (August 16), Paper Lions (August 23) and Catherine MacLellan (August 30) round out the roster of amazing artists playing this concert series.
I honestly don’t know how I am going to narrow down my summer concert wish list. I might need to clone myself . I think everyone can agree that there is no better place to be in the summer than Prince Edward Island. Seriously. If you add all of these amazing concerts into the mix, what could possibly be better?
Shannon Pratt, a self-proclaimed music junkie, has been working in the arts (film, television, event production and music) for close to 15 years. When she isn’t out at shows she can be found in her garden playing with her pups. Twitter @ShannonPratt // @luckproductions ShannonPratt on Instagram