Prepping for fest season
A music lover’s guide to what summer has in store
Sled Island – June 18-22
Just seven years old and Sled Island has already made a name for itself in the Canadian music festival scene in a big way. Spread over 30 venues across Calgary, this festival hosts more than 250 musical acts, as well as film, comedy, and art shows, which have become more prominent in recent years.
After being cut short last year by the June floods, Sled Island is making its triumphant return almost entirely due to community suppport — this time making it clear that, “Nobody rains on our parade.” Last year, the festival faced enormous losses — almost $200,000 — but after reaching out to the community, nearly 70 per cent of pass holders decided not to refund their tickets, allowing Sled Island to make its comeback, and we’re glad they did.
Each year, the festival has a guest curator, an artist who helps “to set the festival’s specific tone through programming selections and with their presence at the festival.” This year, the guest curator is Kathleen Hanna (The Julie Ruin), forerunner of the riot grrrl movement.
Sled Island has only released its first wave of headliner announcements (at the time of publication), but there’s already a lot to be excited about. So far, headliners include Spiritualized, Neko Case, St. Vincent, Joel Plaskett Emergency, Killer Mike, and, of course, The Julie Ruin. But there are many more headliner announcements to come, and if the first announcement is any indication of what’s in store, Sled Island is a fest that definitely shouldn’t be missed this year.
Folk Fest – July 24–27
This festival, which is celebrating its 35th year in 2014, takes over Prince’s Island Park for four days of celebrating music and culture. Folk Fest consists of many concerts and performances — as well as workshop-style sessions with the artists.
Slowly releasing headliner announcements via their Leak of the Week since January, the lineup for Calgary Folk Fest is looking to be just as diverse and impressive as you’d expect:
Andrew Bird, though known for creating an “indie-pop symphony” through electronics and violin, will be hitting the stage at Folk Fest. He will be with his touring band, The Hands of Glory, for a stripped-down, more natural sounding show. Trampled by Turtles, a group made up of band members who previously played in punk bands, is a bluegrass-folk string band with a huge, enveloping sound. Juno-nominated artist Basia Bulat brings her indie-folk, singer-songwriter sound. A Tribe Called Red melds traditional vocals with electronic backing music for what they call “pow-wowstep.”
Though the full line-up for Folk Fest 2014 won’t be released until April, it is already looking to be a weekend full of immense talent and amazing music, so get your tarp and festival chair ready, because you’ll definitely want to be at this fest.