Area 506 festival announces big musical acts for 2017 lineup

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Area 506 Festival kicks off in Saint John on Saturday

The Area 506 festival will return to Saint John's Long Wharf for a second year, with a music lineup its organizers are billing as "100 per cent Canadian."

At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, organizers revealed the headliners for the New Brunswick Day long weekend shows.

Playing on the main stage are mainstream acts such as Tegan and Sara, the Strumbellas, Bahamas, Stars, and Matt Mays.

"The one thing that we wanted to do this year was blow everyone away and exceed expectations, which were high already I think," said chairperson Ray Gracewood of the lineup. "So I think we've done that."

In its first year, festival goers were treated to the acts Wintersleep, July Talk, Big Sugar, and Grace Potter.

New Brunswick artists are also featured prominently on the festival's 2017 schedule.

David Myles, Les Hay Babies, and Jessica Rhaye will play the main stage.

New Brunswick bands featured

A second stage will show off cultural acts, along with New Brunswick bands, including David in the Dark, Penny Blacks, and Mike Biggar.

Gracewood feels this lineup should bring more crowds than last year.

"We had upwards of probably between 20 and 25,000 people throughout the entire weekend," he said. "Our night numbers were somewhere in around between 2,000 to 2,800 people. So our expectations would be to increase that by about 50 per cent this year."

While the highlight of the festival is the music, Area 506 once again intends to showcase provincial culture.

New Brunswick artists, companies and multicultural associations have once again been invited to take places among the tents.

Quickly setting itself apart from other events with its festival grounds enclosed in shipping containers, Area 506 is adding another new feature.

On Wednesday organizers announced it will include a craft beer garden featuring New Brunswick breweries.