Before Flourish became the most eclectic festival in Fredericton, it was Jane Blanchard’s school project. Blanchard, who co-founded the festival with Stefan Westner in 2014, laid the foundations for the festival through a project management course during her second year at the University of New Brunswick’s Renaissance College. Through coordination with local artists, venues and businesses, the festival quickly became a celebration of Fredericton's quiet but impressive arts community, with creators from across North America invited to take part.
Taking place every April, Flourish now features dozens of musicians performing over four days in venues throughout New Brunswick's capital. While most of Flourish’s performances take place within the city’s preeminent venues — the two-storey Capital Complex and the school
gymnasium-turned-concert hall of the Charlotte Street Arts Centre — some events are hosted in downtown business spaces. Attendees can explore the annual zine and print fair, which features painters, printmakers, zine publishers, photographers, comic artists, textile artists, sculptors and more, with plenty of wares available for purchase. Improv performances, art installations and various workshops take place in stores and galleries during the festival days and between live acts.
A festival for artists, by artists, Flourish is meticulously curated in order to bring musicians pushing the boundaries of their respective genres together. Previous performers include Julie Doiron, Laura Sauvage, WHOOP-Szo, Lex Leosis (of the Sorority), B.A. Johnston, Motherhood, Merival, Blue Nuit, Lonely Parade, Pallmer, and Sorrey.
One of Flourish’s goals is to provide up-and-coming artists the opportunity to have a magnificent first show in Fredericton. As Blanchard explains, when visiting and local artists are invited into a warm and welcoming community, they will naturally enrich the festival experience for everyone: “If the artists are enjoying it and giving it their all, audiences are going to enjoy it.”