The Gateway Festival is Saskatchewan’s Next Major Music Event: Review, Photo Essay

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Bengough festival brings in audience from across the province

It was a mixed crowd of faces at The Gateway Festival, located in the southern Saskatchewan town of Bengough. Local ranchers joined forces with indie rock kids and country and folk enthusiasts, as performers from all over the province and beyond took to the two stages at the event.

Bringing together headliners such as Steve Earle and Corb Lund along with alterna-acts such as Limblifter, Wooden Sky and Yukon Blonde over the course of the weekend, The Gateway Festival has proven itself to be Saskatchewan’s next major music event.

Festival staff estimated that the event had outgrown its previous attendance records, with thousands on site for the spectacle. Despite hitting these numbers, the festival never felt anything less than intimate. A stroll across the site took minutes, while just across from the backstage area several horses lounged in a field.

So prairies.

big muddy castle butte

Situated in one of the most typically prairies-centric areas of the province, many festival-goers also took in the sights, such as The Big Muddy Badlands and Castle Butte, a massive protrusion of stone and dirt.

Friday – Day 1

riva
Riva

The first act on Friday’s main stage, Riva, one half of Regina duo The Spoils, brought on a collective-sized onslaught of indie rock. Definitely looking forward to hearing more from this project in the future.

Factor and Def3, who are rumoured to be the only hip-hop act to play the Gateway Festival, kicked off an energetic set. While Saskatoon’s Jeans Boots unleashed volleys of weird noise and pointed melodies to the crowds gathered in the beer gardens.

def3 gateway

Def3 and Factor

jeans boots gateway

Jeans Boots

Their first set in Saskatchewan in eight years, Limblifter played a set that was heavy on the hits. Featuring past members of prairies bands such as Age of Electric, the four-piece got several members of the crowd singing along – some of us still remember the Big Shiny Tunes days fondly.

limblifter gateway

Limblifter

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Shotgun Jimmie

Acts such as Rah Rah and Shotgun Jimmie similarly kept the crowd dancing, while headliners Yukon Blonde and Steve Earle and the Dukes put on typically pro performances. Earle especially managed to impress, and even dug out his trademark tune “Copperhead Road”. Of course.

Saturday – Day 2

Saturday’s events were kicked off with several musicians playing at the local swimming pool – totally a rad idea that will hopefully continue next year.

fly points

Fly Points

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Harlan Pepper

Other notable acts include Harlan Pepper, who sounded like a cross between Attack in Black and The Sadies, and Regina’s Prop Planes, who blend high-energy alterna-rock along with an array of effects and fuzzy noises. It was also the first time I heard Fly Points, who are definitely a band worth checking out.

The Lazy MKs similarly brought a cool vibe to the concert with a full horn and string section, and a killer cover of the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage”.

lazy mks gatewayThe Lazy MKs

prop planes

Prop Planes

Bands like The Lonesome Weekends and Zachary Lucky brought on a unique twist on country rock, while The Karpinka Brothers put out the feel-good vibes.

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Zachary Lucky

Playing after acts like The Wooden Sky and Blake Berglund, headliner Corb Lund eventually shuffled on stage and put on one hell of a performance. Cowboy hats began littering the audience and Pils lifted to the sky in salute as Lund told jokes and strummed relentlessly on a battered acoustic guitar. Definitely the high point of the festival – thankfully Lund eventually gave in and came back for an encore.

Ominocity would like to wish a hearty kudos to everyone who came out, played or helped to make The Gateway Festival a rousing success.