Area 506 Festival debuts in new permanent home

Dozens of people strolled through the container village hours before gates opened to the Area 506 Festival. Robert Lothian/Global News

The music of one of New Brunswick’s largest festivals is echoing again across the Saint John Harbour.

The full Area 506 Festival experience returned Friday evening following two unusual years. In 2020, online concerts were streamed through AREA 506 social media channels.

A year later, pandemic restrictions forced Area 506 into a pods system and limited the impact for local vendors usually involved.

However, local musicians, national artists, and those same hometown vendors are back this year. The festival is also marking its first year beside the recently constructed Area 506 Waterfront Container Village.

I think having a permanent home is really exciting. It was always the dream for Area 506 to have a home, and what you can see around us is really a passion project for a lot of people. It’s exciting to see it come to life, “said Sarah Tippett, a member of the Area 506 Planning Committee.

Tippett said an “electric” Friday night show, headlined by artists like Sloan and k-os, brought an uncharacteristically large crowd for the start of the weekend.

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Saturday evening is expected to sell the most tickets with performers that include The Glorious Sons, The Trews , and Saint John-based group Jamie Comeau & the Crooked Teeth.

Before gates open to the Area 506 Festival, artists, dancers and performers hit the new culture stage opened to the public free of charge.

Despite uncertainty in the past two years, and a new home, the event vision remains the same: promote local.

Click to play video: 'New retail shops and performance space opens on Saint John waterfront'
New retail shops and performance space opens on Saint John waterfront

I think we really do our best to engage local. We celebrate music, culture and goods, everything that makes New Brunswickers and New Brunswick, what it is and who we are,” said Tippett.

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“We have featured New Brunswick bands on the stage along with some outside headliners. So I think really bringing everybody home is kind of the goal.”

The 2022 Area 506 Festival concludes Sunday following performances by the Arkells, Mother Mother and several other artists.

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