George Street Festival, St. John’s, NL
By Keith Sharp
Known as ‘The Biggest Little Street In North America’ located in the centre of St John’s Newfoundland, the George Street Festival is set to execute its 36th annual festival on Friday, August 27th, 2021 with six nights of concert activities on a stage setting located directly on the street which is comprised of two blocks of pubs, bars and restaurants.
After a mad scramble against the current pandemic which forced the cancellation of last year’s festival, George Street Association’s Peter Quinton has been able to confirm Hamilton Ontario’s Arkells and Blue Rodeo, who were previously booked to perform in 2020 along with Glass Tiger. Also booked are local favourites Shanneyganock and Tim Baker (former lead vocalist for the indie band Hey Rosetta).
“We had only gotten the okay to stage the event about four weeks ago. The Iceberg Festival (another St John’s event) was given the okay to stage their event September 8th, so we elected to go a week earlier,” explained Quinton. “Yes it has been crazy but fortunately, bands like Arkells and Blue Rodeo, who were booked to play last year, agreed to come back this year.”
The stage venue itself can accommodate up to 3,000 spectators per night, and after the main show has concluded, patrons are allowed to drink outdoors on the street and visit as many bars on the street as they wish, the on-street drinking goes until 1.30 a.m. and the bars are open until 3 a.m for a set admission charge of $15.
From a festival that started life as a showcase for local talent, the George Street Festival has expanded to feature many artists from mainland Canada as well as several top U.S attractions such as Kenny Rogers, George Thorogood, The Wallflowers, Third Eye Blind and The Gin Blossoms. But just as important, the festival also features top local artists such as Shannyganock (a perennial crowd favourite) and Tim Baker with several other local bands serving as support artists for the headliners.
Quinton, who has been booking the festival for the past 16 years, notes it’s always been a challenge to attract mainstream artists to ‘The Rock’, but as artists do venture to the East Coast, they are discovering that flying into St John’s isn’t a major problem. “Once they have been here, they enjoy the experience and the hospitality of this area,” Quinton explained.
A veteran promoter who has been a major force in booking talent on the island, Quinton has previously booked Rod Stewart and The Black-Eyed Peas for major festivals around St John’s.
He notes that the George Street Festival has established itself as one of North America’s premiére concert events that regularly attracts more than 30,000 visitors to the festival, which is a major boon to the local economy, especially at a time when the current pandemic is causing chaos with tourism.
“It’s great that competing venues join forces during this one week to work together to make this festival happen,” Quinton noted. “The George Street Association brings everyone together and we do have to thank the City of St John’s and the public health organization for working with us to make the festival happen.”
FRIDAY, AUGUST 27
Bic and the Ballpoints
Tino Borges and the Incident
Women Of Rock
Headliner: Glass Tiger
SATURDAY, AUGUST 28
Anthony McDonald & Ronnie Power
SUNDAY, AUGUST 29
Donovan Woods & the Opposition
Headliner: Tim Baker
MONDAY, AUGUST 30
Headliner: The Reklaws
TUESDAY, AUGUST 31
Headliner: Blue Rodeo
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1
DJ Dem Ones
Website: George Street Live
Tickets: George Street Tickets