Rooted in music

Profile: Craig Fair by Julie Bull

After my chat with Craig Fair, it became clear that this multi-talented human could not be described merely by his technical and artistic abilities, of which there are many. The playful poet in me would like to call him Craig Fair: Creator Extraordinaire. 

Involved in musical theatre since age 10, and playing music even earlier than that, Craig has essentially spent his entire life involved in stage productions. He lived and worked in various cities and was part of the Confederation Centre of the Arts Charlottetown Festival for 18 seasons, up until 2019. “I felt most at home in Charlottetown because of how much time I was here over the course of my adult life.” 

After many years of being on the stage, Craig spent the decade before the pandemic behind the scenes in director and producer roles. “Then when my 40s came, I decided it was time to get back on the stage again.” Craig was based in Toronto and traveled all over for his work in the years before the pandemic. With the abrupt stop in live entertainment in 2020, he found himself contemplating his options and he made the move to PEI later that year. “I was ready to make a change, so I came back to PEI in an effort to feel rooted.” 

For the first several months on the Island, he didn’t touch music. “I just needed a break and to allow myself to restore and reset.” Craig took the time needed to settle in and to decide where he would put his focus, which eventually led him back to music. 

Craig’s first foray into the music scene here was Mixtape Nights at the Trailside Music Hall in Charlottetown. As we all know, PEI is a relational province and our connections with each other are what make everything and anything possible. “I drew on my relationships from all those years with the Confederation Centre of the Arts and people were ready and willing to collaborate.”

By the end of 2021, Craig decided he would stay on PEI. “I realized that what I was missing was roots and that I could build those roots here.” As he continued to build roots and connections, Craig Fair Music Productions made a splash in the local music scene in 2022. In just two years, Craig has produced and performed in countless projects and brings dozens of local musicians, artists, and technicians together to make the shows happen. “I want to bring world-class entertainment to the stage here on PEI.” 

“I have big dreams and I am working with phenomenal artists and musicians here on the Island to make those big dreams happen.” Craig carries the big picture view of the production in one hand and the details of the event in the other. Holding it all together, he creates spectacular shows that draw on the strengths of the entire team. “I love witnessing people learn and grow, and we are all constantly learning from each other on stage.

“I encourage musicians to bring their unique voice and style to the songs we’re performing. When it’s a cover of a popular song, people will have already heard many versions of it over time so it’s more important to elevate the song with our own personal flair. Our shows demonstrate that there are unique and new ways to perform the classics.”

A show by Craig Fair Music Productions is high energy, electric, and engaging. As an audience member, we are left in awe of what we have experienced. “At the end of every show, no matter the challenges or difficulties in getting there, we take a moment to recognize the magic we co-created in the space.”

Craig has found his footing by being authentically himself in the work that he does, and he shares that wisdom with others. “I want to continue encouraging other people to be fully themselves, on and off the stage.”

The collaborations and supports that Craig has built since living here continue to grow and flourish. “In this new chapter of my life, I get to choose who I work with, and I choose those who are joyous and respectful.”

With a full slate of incredible shows already scheduled for 2024, Craig is dreaming beyond this year into a future filled with world-class entertainment close to home, and he’s making those dreams come to life. 

 “I get to do what I love with the people I love in a place that I love.”

Julie Bull, an Inuk (NunatuKavut) researcher and educator, has extensive experience in community-based participatory action research, emphasizing Indigenous perspectives. A champion of social justice, Julie envisions collaborative efforts between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities worldwide. With a focus on research governance and ethics, her work with NunatuKavut has yielded notable publications and presentations.