Cold Nights, Warm Hearts, Can’t Lose

First-ever Cold Nights Festival hosted at Thunder and Lightning

This past week, Thunder and Lightning (T&L) became a warm hideaway from the frigid Sackville weather as it hosted the first-ever Cold Nights Festival. Presented by T&L and CHMA’s Stereophonic, the festival provided what they described as “half a week of arts-based entertainment to get [Sackvillians] through the cold nights.”

Wednesday and Thursday evenings welcomed three artist concert bills, inviting performers to thaw Sackville souls frozen by the week’s snow and glacial temperatures. Amidst a quiet snowstorm on Wednesday, locals Klarka Weinwurm and Kylie Fox and visiting artist Nick Ferrio filled the evening with “pop, rock, a bit of grunge and some playful folk,” according to the Facebook event page.

“It was such a cozy evening,” said Fox. “From where we were playing we could see the snow falling outside and people were sitting on the floor around us. It was really sweet and special. I’m really grateful to have a band to share those experiences with.”

The following evening welcomed artists Camille Delean, Richard Laviolette and Campbell Woods for what the event page called a night of “country, folk, feel-good music.” Wednesday and Thursday’s concerts took place in the kitschy front “living room” of the bar. The indie atmosphere of T&L makes for a wonderful venue for such intimate, cozy concerts year round.

Friday evening invited attendees in for a winter social cocktail hour and art show. On display were a curated selection of T&L concert posters. Following the casual drinks and art show was a film screening of satirical comedy Modern Classic, a film featured at the 2017 Canadian Film Festival. The festival concluded Saturday night with two T&L staples: Nerds Rewarded trivia and a raucous karaoke dance party.

“I had such a good time during the Cold Nights Festival,” said student Sophie Betts. “It’s really encouraging to see so many people come out to enjoy good company and good music despite the frigid temperatures. It’s also lovely to see students supporting local music at a small, local business like T&L. I’m really thankful to live in a place where people can come together to appreciate talented artists and good drinks.”

Asked about his time at the festival, Sackville local Sam Bliss said, “The first two days featured three Sackville artists – Kylie, Klarka and Richard. It’s really cool to be able to see bands from all over the country play shows with local talent.” Bliss said karaoke was a high point of the week for him, highlighting local artist Graeme Patterson, who “broke out the best Freddie Mercury impression I’ve ever seen, complete with moustache and sleeveless shirt.”

Bliss also added that Mount Allison students should know T&L is “welcoming to everyone, not just the arts and music community,” and made note of the fact that the bar happens to have the cheapest beer deals in town.

With unique drink specials, weekly concerts and trivia, and excellent company, T&L is certainly a local hotspot to visit if you’ve never been. This Thursday, Jan. 25, Presents: the Improv will perform a cozy comedy set. Sunday, Jan. 28 will bring an opportunity to catch what the event page describes as Fredericton artist Keith Hallett’s “spooky pre-war blues” as a part of T&L’s Sunday Sessions, a series of low-key concerts to finish the weekend off surrounded by music, community and joy.

Rebecca Butler