Festival Review: Sask Music Festivals of the Past Decade

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Ominocity Looks Back on Pivotal Saskatchewan Music Festivals

Editor’s Note – This article is part of our all-week coverage on festivals in Saskatchewan that promote local music. Check back for more coverage, including a preview of Saskatoon’s Mazz Fest!

Saskatoon’s punk, indie, metal and underground music scene has always had some great and not-so great festivals. Every now and then someone comes along and thinks they can put on some massive shaker and everyone will come and party and the gods will part the clouds to come puke along with us mortals. Except they are incompetent and the entire thing goes down the shitter. But when someone comes along and does it right it becomes etched in time and everyone raves about it for years afterward.

Greenfields Festival – Eagle Creek, 1994

Featuring plenty of local bands from back in the day (Stronghold, OWC, Porksword, etc.) in addition to some “big” names at the time including D.O.A., King Apparatus and 13 Engines, Greenfields Fest more or less fell into the category of would-have-been-cooler-if-more-people-came. If memory serves correctly there was a good-sized crowd (+2000, according to sources), but I also don’t think a lot of money was made. If any. Highlights included a six-foot tall bong and a drunken Porksword member lighting off fireworks into the crowd.

***Thanks to Mike Murza for corrections.

Photo lightly borrowed from Saskatoon Punks Back in the 90s.

field fest

Sask Punk Festival – North Battleford, 1998-2001

Strangely enough, this festival, held in the thriving prairie metropolis of North Battleford, was kind of a weird success. For the first couple of years anyway. Held in a building that could have been an abattoir, the first couple of years brought a whole lot kids together in a way that hadn’t really happened in a long time. Unfortunately, the last two years didn’t fare so well with a declining attendance. Highlights include members of CERTAIN bands drinking antifreeze, some kid passing out and getting peed on by Shaun from Tencount – passed out guy was later kidnapped and taken to Winnipeg by a touring band, and raising a whole lot of money for the Women’s Interval House in North Battleford.

Photo taken by Festival promoter Andrew ‘Buck’ Walls.

OWC

Georgestock – Blackstrap Lake, 2005-2007?

Georgestock was a very cool idea put on by some very cool people. This one should have been listed in a tourism guide as one of the top events in Saskatchewan. Too bad it had to die. Basically, someone with lakefront property at Blackstrap Lake (kind of slough-y if you ask me) let a bunch of kids put up a stage and invite a bunch of friends for an all-day, all-night drink-a-thon with a wide variety of Saskatoon bands. And since everyone was probably too drunk to drive, we all got to camp and get trashed and go swimming at our leisure. Again, not really sure if anyone made any money – I don’t even remember paying to get in – but it was one of those amazing and rare moments when you felt proud to be a prairies skid who was a part of something that was really happening. Highlights included mudfights, day drunks, midnight burgers and The Junior Pantherz.

Photo borrowed liberally from Punkoryan.com.

Roadkill Festival – Dundurn, 2007

Basically, this could go down as the worst disaster in Sask. music history. Without getting into too much detail, promoter promises an unreasonable amount of money to a handful of local bands, puts in a ton of promotion through Rock 102 – not too sure who listens to Rock 102 and cares a whole bunch about local metal and punk bands – and then wonders why absolutely no one shows up. Yup. Lawsuits and fraud charges abound and anyone who was there likely has some truly depressing stories about the Fest. Highlights include getting the fuck out of there.

But here is a video of Volcanoless in Canada to cheer you up.