With last year’s event being something of a disaster, it’s entirely amazing that organizers of Calgary’s Sled Island festival have pulled together another hugely impressive line-up for 2014. This year’s fest runs from June 18 to the 22.
For those who have never been, Sled Island is a sprawling multi-venue, multi-genre festival that embraces all the music, art, comedy and culture you can handle. Also, Calgary is like the New Orleans of Canada and the whole thing is a total party that needs to be experienced first hand in order to be believed.
Here are some hot tips in case you were considering attending Sled Island this year:
Spiritualized is playing
Spiritualized is Jason Pierce who is also J. Spaceman. He has written some amazing music, and I don’t think he comes around to these parts much. So total no-brainer. But also, this show is going down in the Olympic Plaza venue, which is a mini amphitheatre located in downtown Calgary. Also, add Rocket From the Crypt on opening duties and the whole thing smells like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Maybe it’s the whole being neighbours thing, but Saskatchewan is usually well-represented at Sled Island. And this year is no different, with Sask. acts Phalec Baldwin, Economics, The Moas, Black Hell Oil, Caves, Powder Blue, Shooting Guns, Slow Down Molasses and White Women all playing shows.
Similarly, CFCR 90.5, Ominocity’s favourite radio station ever, are once again hosting their daytime hotdog party at Calgary’s Tubby Dog restaurant. Come for a dog, stay for the bands!
The National Music Centre is giving free tours
The National Music Centre, located in Calgary’s downtown area, is home to some of the country’s oldest musical instruments. The best part? You can actually play some of them.
The Centre is a one-of-a-kind space that tells the story of Canadian music through its collection, covering a diverse range of genres such as classical to rock to hip-hop and everything in between. The mission of the institution is to foster an appreciation of all things music. And there is plenty to love. Like the massive vintage synthesizer consoles that look like they have been ripped out of the hub of a spaceship. Or the piano that Elton John wrote some of best-known songs on. Or the Winnipeg-built Garnet amp, which possesses a driving, dirty rock sound popularized by the likes of Randy Bachman and The Guess Who.
Or the theremin. When do you ever get to play a theremin anyway?
More music than any one person could possibly handle
Having to pick and choose the bands you want to see is one of the best parts of festivals like Sled Island. But it’s also more than a little heartbreaking because suddenly you realize that you can’t see everything. What to see? Who to skip?
If we were forced to choose, we’d make a point of checking out White Lung, who just released a new album full of blistering punk rock, The B-Lines, who are playing an instore at Sloth Records, surf punks Tough Age, who are doing the Tubby Dog thing (and never tour argh!), and ex-Husker Du front man Bob Mould – also, would get to this show early to see Solids.