Toboggan Peninsula rocks Hillhurst-Sunnyside
Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Centre up and coming music venue
By Kelsey Hipkin
After the festivities that were Sled Island and before the hay bales and cowboy hats that is the Stampede, there was a slight lull in Calgary’s music land; that lull was filled by the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association’s presentation of the Toboggan Peninsula Music Festival running July 7-9.
Toboggan Peninsula (clever play on words as a branch of sorts of the Sled Island Music Festival) was the brain-child of HSCA Executive Director Jay Michi and Marketing and Events Coordinator, Sara Hughes (who also happens to be the drummer in the band Grown-Ups, which is playing tonight).
Michi was going through some old files when he came across a paper trail of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts support and discovered that the HSCA used to have a staff member dedicated to booking bands at the community centre.
“[It’s] a lot of work to put on shows with some changes in staff and leadership over the last few years [HSCA music venues] kind of just vanished,” Michi explained.
He called AFA and asked about getting performances at HSCA going again, received strong support and the suggestion of having a concentrated three day event that would be considered a festival.
Next, Michi said, was the question of when to hold the event. Sandwiching it between the Sled Island Music Festival and the Calgary Stampede seemed like an ideal time. Michi and his friends started joking about a “cheeky” homage to Sled Island and the moniker Toboggan Peninsula was born.
Michi contacted the organizers of Sled to make sure it was something they were okay with.
“Their perspective of Sled as a festival [is] that it would grow and have off-shoots and this (Toboggan Peninsula) would fit directly into that,” he said.
Wednesday, July 7 saw Nathan M. Godfrey, Doer & The Doddler and secret headliner The Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra take the stage. Michi said the show was a real success and thanks to Mockingbird Orchestra the HSCA sold out of all of their beer, provided by sponsor Wildrose Brewery.
Thursday, July 8 saw the show start off with the band Grandmothers, who Michi said had never played live before but were “absolutely amazing.” The mostly Calgary based band also has some members from Sweden. After Grandmothers came Very Really So, fronted by, as Michi called him, “the ubiquitous Evan Freeman.”
Then, SAVK, Stephen van Kampen formerly of Beija Flor, and one of Michi’s personal favorites who now performs solo put on quite a show. “[The] complexity and technicality of his music is astounding for a one man show,” Michi said. Last night’s headliner was another Calgary “phenomena”, the band Friendo.
Tonight’s all ages closing show will include the talents of Deformer, Sabertooth, Grown-Ups (who are about to go on tour with Fucked Up) and Sharp Ends as headliner.
Having bands play at a venue like the HSCA is very important Michi said. “The idea that we’ve gotten away from having accessible shows at community centers is not a good trip. I’m working very hard to reverse that here.”
Michi said there’s another show in the works for HSCA in October. “When we see how independent businesses and non-profits are starting to try and exist as music showcases, and venues like the case of Comrad Sound, [it] underscores the importance of Community Associations to do these kinds of shows.”
Things kick off tonight (July 9) at 7 p.m. for free, although donations can be made.