Saskatchewan music festival season is coming: Here are 10 must-see bands

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Summer festival season is coming! Also, outdoor patios, short shorts!

Ah summer. That time of the year when the collective mood across the prairies is lifted with a heaving sigh and people start going outside and having fun again.

It also heralds the arrival of summer music festivals in Saskatchewan, a season which is already shaping up to be a collectively great line-up.

Here are some of Ominocity’s picks for this summer’s must-see bands. See you in the pit!

- Atlas Sound photo from Flickr user “Georgia Hinaris” – Creative Commons.

– Atlas Sound photo from Flickr user “Georgia Hinaris” – Creative Commons.

Atlas Sound – MoSoFest, Saskatoon – June 11-14

The solo project of Bradford Cox, front man of indie art-damage band Deerhunter, Atlas Sound is a compelling collection of noise collages, drone and hazy pop melodies. Having released a slew of high-profile recordings over the past decade, Cox’s most recent release as Atlas Sound is Parallax, an album that percolates with weirdo, shifting electronica flourishes and melancholic vocals that are, at times, completely otherworldly.

- Lindi Ortega photo from Flickr user “Dave Lichterman” – Creative Commons.

– Lindi Ortega photo from Flickr user “Dave Lichterman” – Creative Commons.

Lindi Ortega – Ness Creek Festival, Big River – July 17-20

Currently based out of Tennessee, Toronto’s Lindi Ortega is a perfect blend of stomping country party rock and crooning indie soul. Her latest album, Tin Star, is raucous yet heartfelt – the perfect ingredients for a midnight folk festival dance off. Don’t forget your boots.

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St. Vincent – Saskatchewan Jazz Festival, Saskatoon – June 20 – 29

Annie Clark’s 2014 album St. Vincent is already a contender for one of the best albums of the year. Filled with unexpected bursts of apocalyptic dance beats, ethereal electronica drones and snakey guitar bits, St. Vincent has similarly been leveling audiences at festivals across North America.

- Lauryn Hill photo from Flickr user “Tomas Jansson” – Creative Commons.

– Lauryn Hill photo from Flickr user “Tomas Jansson” – Creative Commons.

Ms. Lauryn Hill – Saskatchewan Jazz Festival, Saskatoon – June 20 – 29

Of course, it would be ridiculous to ignore the fact that the Sask. Jazz Fest also brought in Lauryn Hill, solo artist and member of the Fugees, who set the record for the fastest sold-out show in the festival’s history! Stoked!

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Andino Suns – Regina Folk Festival, Regina – August 8 – 10

Having just released their sophomore full-length album It’s Time to Rise, Regina multi-instrumental Latin folk group Andino Suns have come out swinging. High-flying world beat rhythms invoke a sense of urgency in the group’s jubilant, heartfelt vocal melodies while the lyrics tackle political issues without ever losing the party vibes.

- Justin Townes Earle photo from Flickr user “WFUV” – Creative Commons.

– Justin Townes Earle photo from Flickr user “WFUV” – Creative Commons.

Justin Townes Earle – Gateway Festival, Bengough – July 25 – 27

If you attended last year’s Gateway Festival then you probably saw headliner Steve Earle blow away a collection of indie rock hipsters and local cowboys. This year, the festival, located in a tiny ranching town in southern Saskatchewan, is bringing in Steve’s son. Justin Townes Earle is a folk and country wizard who has garnered a reputation for sweet songs that don’t skimp on the twang.

 - Into Eternity photo from Flickr user “black.stilletos” – Creative Commons.

– Into Eternity photo from Flickr user “black.stilletos” – Creative Commons.

Into Eternity – MetalWizard Open Air Festival, Valhalla Acres – July 12

Formed in Regina in 1997, Into Eternity are easily one of the province’s most fierce bands. Having toured alongside the likes of Megadeth, Lamb of God, Opeth and Dream Theatre, Into Eternity have released several critically-lauded albums, and rumours have it the death metal group are gearing up for a new album sometime this year.

Yukon Blonde

Yukon Blonde – Grilledcheesapolooza Music Festival, Kindersley – August 15 – 16

True, Yukon Blonde play in Saskatoon all the time, but this is Kindersley! And it’s not really summer without dancing to hepped-up dance pop. Also, the true star of this festival is whoever wins the grilled cheese eating contest. In fact, Ominocity may even enter this year. We will crush you all!

- Corb Lund photo from Flickr user “ActiveSteve” – Creative Commons.

– Corb Lund photo from Flickr user “ActiveSteve” – Creative Commons.

Corb Lund and the Hurtin’ Albertans – Long Day’s Night Music Festival, Swift Current – June 19 – 22

Remember last year when Corb Lund said there was a 75 to 80 percent chance of a smalls reunion happening? Well we’re still waiting on that one to come to pass, but for now we’ll just have to settle for Corb Lund the country rock star. In addition to his leather-tough dreamy good looks, Lund puts on one hell of a show, as evidenced during last year’s performance at the Gateway Festival. Maybe he’ll finally get the smalls on the road next year?

ken mode skot

KEN Mode – Queen City Riot Festival, Regina – June 13 – 14

Not sure if you’ve been keeping track, but sludge-mongers KEN Mode are currently celebrating the fact that they have been a band for 15 years. Having recently added Skot Hamilton to their ranks, the band are playing a whopping total of three shows this summer, including at Regina’s Queen City Riot Festival. Don’t despair if you are from Saskatoon though – KEN Mode will be playing here for MoSoFest as well.