‘Calgary best music scene in Canada’ says Sled Island festival director
Fans excited by announcement of headliners
“Calgary is the best music scene in Canada.” That’s a pretty bold statement made by Lindsay Shedden, Sled Island festival director. She wasn’t just murmuring it either; Shedden firmly stated her opinion to all present at Sled Island’s headliner announcement on Feb. 28.
Generally, it has been accepted that Vancouver and Toronto were the largest markets in Canada. Calgary has been making huge strides in its all-ages scene lately, due to numerous newer venues like Local Library, The New Black Centre, The Area, and larger music festivals like Sled, which has an impressive offering of all-ages events as well.
However, Sled Island, which began back in 2007, is bringing in names that are putting Calgary on the map, regardless of what scene you’re into.
It’s an important part of Calgary, which is why Calgary 2012 curator Michael Green was on hand to award the music festival a $20,000 grant as part of Calgary’s cultural capital campaign.
This year’s local curator for Sled, front man for The Dudes and Calgary golden boy, Dan Vacon echoed how important the festival was to the city, as he interviewed himself to kick off the announcement.
“Sled Island is revitalizing Calgary,” Vacon said. “We are no longer losing artists to Toronto or Vancouver. Instead we’re getting them to come here.”
Also the frontman for local acts Dojo Workhorse and The High Kicks, Vacon loves what Sled means to the city. “We’re getting giant-calibre acts, but spread out in a real city,” he said.
This is what draws the huge appeal Sled gets. While main stage acts can be performing at venues as large as Olympic Plaza, there are over 30 venues to catch these acts, from the aforementioned Local Library to Tubby Dog to tons of bars across the city. Vacon echoes the sentiments of many Calgarians with his opinion of Sled as he thinks “it’s rad!”
The headliners for this year’s festival are: former local darling Feist, New York indie rock act The Hold Steady, former Pavement singer and guitarist Steven Malkmus and the Jicks, Montreal pop sensation Grimes, haunting folk group Timber Timbre, former Sonic Youth frontman Thurston Moore, this year’s guest curator Andrew W.K., and recently reunited ‘90s favourite Archers Of Loaf.
It is the efforts of Shedden and everyone working at Sled bringing in these names that are bringing Calgary to prominence. Just the day before the headliners were made public, it was announced that Beirut would be coming to Calgary this summer for the Folk Festival and Bon Iver would be playing two shows that will likely be sold out nearly immediately. Less and less Calgary is getting passed over by big acts, with fans having to travel to Vancouver or the United States for a chance to get to see their favourite band play live.
With the full lineup being announced on April 15, you can expect to see over 200 more bands added to the lineup, with a fair mix of local and foreign talent. While Sled is known for its music, it also hosts film, comedy, and other arts events around the cities.
The other major announcement for this year is that comedy showings would be available for all four days of the festival, which is a first. Tickets and wristbands are on sale now for the festival and early bird discounts are on now. Sled Island goes on from June 20 to 23, and you can find more information at sledisland.com.