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Music PEI unveils lineup for weeklong festival celebrating award nominees

The lineup for the upcoming 2023 Music PEI Week was unveiled Monday, with the weeklong musical celebration featuring performances from both new and returning Island artists.

This year, Music PEI Week runs from March 8 to 12. The festival will have 11 events and musical performances taking place across Charlottetown, Souris and Summerside.

“There’s going to be lots for people to choose from — different genres, different styles,” said Rob Oakie, executive director of Music PEI

Oakie said Music PEI Week is a celebration of the Music PEI Award nominees, and almost all of the performers are nominees.

A man standing in an art gallery smiling.
Rob Oakie, executive director of Music PEI, says he’s looking forward to watching the performances taking place throughout Music PEI Week. (Safiyah Marhnouj/CBC)

An opening reception featuring performances by women and non-binary artists will kick off the weeklong festival in honor of International Women’s Day.

The closing Festival Finale concert will feature performances by some of the top nominees, Oakie said, including Alicia Toner, Cory Gallant & The Red Dirt Posse, Lawrence Maxwell, and Lennie Gallant.

‘Exciting’ to have festival again

A series of rock, hip-hop, classical music and folk performances round out the festival lineup.

Oakie said he’s looking forward to the whole week, but especially the live music.

“I take great joy in sitting in the audience and watching the audience’s reaction to the performances. It’s so, so wonderful to see,” he said.

Last year’s events had to be canceled because of an upswing of COVID-19 cases.

“We were all set to go and had to cancel the week of, so that was hard to take,” Oakie said. “It’s pretty exciting to be able to have a full-on festival this year.”

A humbling experience

PEI singer-songwriter Logan Richard said he couldn’t wait to perform with his band at the Red Dirt Rock concert in Summerside on March 10.

Richard said he’s humbled to be nominated for Music PEI’s R&B/Soul Recording of the Year award.

A man standing in an art gallery smiling.
PEI singer/songwriter Logan Richard says he’s looking forward to performing with his band and watching the work of other artists during Music PEI Week. (Safiyah Marhnouj/CBC)

“There’s so much incredible talent at PEI, so it’s really exciting to be on the nominee list, which includes so many talented friends and individuals,” he said.

After last year’s festivities were cancelled, Richard said it would eventually feel really nice to have an opportunity to play in front of a large audience again, and to watch other artists perform.

[It’s] something I’ll never take for granted again.—Logan Richard

“It feels great and [is] something I’ll never take for granted again,” he said.

“You can’t really describe how cool it is to play my songs for an audience and to kind of see them process it and take it live. It’s my favorite part about being a musician.”

Tickets for Music PEI Week will be on sale starting on Feb.1.

This year, a special free shuttle sponsored by Cavendish Farms will run from Charlottetown to events in Summerside and Souris. Spaces will be limited, and spots can be reserved at Music PEI’s website on a first-come, first-served basis.