On The Harvest Beat

Words by Erin Keating; photographs by James West.


The Blind Boys of Alabama took The Fredericton Playhouse to church at the Opening Night Gala Tuesday night, to kick off the Festival on exactly the right soul-singing note to lead Harvest patrons into the rest of festival week feeling good.


Backed by an incredible band, The Blind Boys brought southern gospel and soul to the Playhouse crowd, feeling the music so hard that they demanded the audience feel it too. And boy, did they. With extended applause breaks, spontaneous ovations, and smiles from ear-to-ear, there was an electric feeling in the air, emanating directly from the Blind Boys’ souls and soulful voices.


Opening the show was Fredericton’s own Ross Neilsen in an intimate solo performance – just him, his acoustic guitar, and his hometown crowd. Neilsen put on a captivating performance, warming the Harvest crowd up for what was to come.

This was the first of a few appearances throughout Festival week for Ross, who you can catch in the TD Mojo tent late night on Friday and the Cox & Palmer Blues Court late night on Saturday.


The opening Night Gala on the TD Marquee stage was the perfect way to ease on in to Festival week. We’ll ramp it up tonight with a stacked set of three incredible blues rock acts – The Magpie Salute, The Record Company and Anders Osborne. Join us in the Moose Light Blues Tent tonight to kick off Harvest’s tented shows!



Happy Harvesting! Can’t wait to see you out there.