MONCTON – Ever wondered what a light and music show would look like inside the massive Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption Cathedral on St. George St.? Keep an eye out on Flash Festival’s programming February 15-16.
The cathedral show will feature a musical performance by Alma artists Tim Isaac and Jim Blewett, who will play together again after five years under the banner Isaac & Blewett Reunion Show. With light projections from Halifax artist Wasko, the sit-down event will also include Maggie Savoie & the Montgomery St. Band.
Organizer Lisa Griffin said the venue’s architecture and acoustics make it “the coolest” church in town for the purposes of the event. The church has been on the corner of St. George and Lutz Streets since 1939 and was saved from demolition in 2014.
“It’s never been used for a show like this,” said Griffin, the co-founder and executive director of Art for Art’s Sake, which is also behind the summer mural festival Inspire.
This year, organizers stuck to the theme of showcasing mostly Atlantic Canadian acts – more than 22 of them. The only performer from outside the region is the North Fire Group from Toronto.
Given that the cathedral is a challenging venue to set up, organizers have decided to scrap the Flash Feast, a culinary art component that was hosted by catering company Barolo & Co. at the Masonic Temple last year.
Instead, Griffin added a free audio tech workshop for women, facilitated by Ottawa sound technician Maxime Brunet, who has worked with bands like Blind Melon and July Talk.
The workshop is part of Art for Art’s Sake’s effort to see more women and non-binary people in the event production industry, she said. One of the non-profit organization’s goals is to create an avenue for people to work in the creative sector and stay in the province.
Besides the cathedral, there are other venue changes.
The Fire & Ice party, which includes fire performers, ice carving, circus arts performances and outdoor light projections, will be at the Ian Fowler skating rink and outdoor plaza area of the Avenir Centre. Griffin said her team has a plan to avoid projection problems organizers faced last year due to the cold weather.
“We can control the design of what is happening with how people are moving around the site, how long it is, where it is, that kind of thing,” she said.
The Fire & Ice party is free and open to all ages. This year, it will include a licensed area for drinks, figure skating performances, maple in the snow, lasers and a giant 3D rabbit from the Flash logo.
“It will be the night to go skating,” Griffin said.
The organizers will also use the courtyard area of the Tide & Boar, which is a free component of the Friday night programming. The closing party will be held at Pink Flamingo on Saturday.
“In a lot of the environment, we put a lot of work into creating them through light. The Tide & Boar has this special light feature, some of which are interactive, some will give you a certain feel and an environment,” Griffin said.
She said it’s important to explore existing spaces in the city and Flash aims to offer creative experiences that the whole community can enjoy, especially in the winter.
“If we’re building things like Avenir, we should really be capitalizing on celebrating our winter,” she said. “As Canadians, I think that’s one of our strongest points is that we have these amazing winters and we should just say, ‘look, we’re outside, you can be too, and here’s how we celebrate it’.”
VIP passes aren’t for sale anymore, but weekend passes are available for $65. Tickets for each of the four main events are also available at a price range of between $20 and $35.