Deep in the southern fields of Saskatchewan, Bengough’s Gateway Festival threw itself a birthday bash. Celebrating its tenth year, the invitation list included the likes of The Sheepdogs, The Sadies, The Northern Pikes, Tim Hicks and a whole lot more. Suffice to say, a good party is always worth a roadtrip, even when it’s four hours spent navigating through doom clouds, torrential rain and desolate highways.
But it’s especially worth it when you arrive to sunshine, music, and vendors selling cold beer and pickled eggs.
Having gotten to the party late, we arrived in time to catch Regina’s Nick Faye. Having spent the majority of the summer touring throughout eastern Canada, Faye was in fine form, and even included a Weakerthans cover in his set. Up next was George Leach, who recently won a JUNO for Aboriginal Recording of the Year. With a sound that combined blues riffs with smooth vocals, Leach sounded formidable behind one of those guitars that are, like, double guitars.
Back at the Garden Stage, Andino Suns kept the party rolling with a groove-heavy sound that fused prairies folk with Latin rhythms. Meanwhile The Deep Dark Woods unleashed a set that was remarkably confident – having spent years honing their songs on the festival circuit will do that. Balancing out rootsy folk songs with extended jams, the five-piece did not disappoint.
Several beers later, along with more pickled eggs, we ran up to catch Library Voices. With a set comprised of songs from their latest EP, For John, the multi-member Regina group started with the slow-burning “Some Mezcal Morning” before exploring weirdo surf-pop territories with “Space Age”. Always a pleasure to dance with you Library Voices – let’s do it again real soon. On the main stage The Sadies were gearing up for what would be another stellar set that was packed with hits. The Sheepdogs similarly churned out the hits, eliciting a huge response from an increasingly ravenous crowd. Closing out the night was Snake River, whose hazy guitar meanderings was the perfect send off to bed. Well, for most of us anyway.
While we unfortunately had to leave early the next morning, thus missing the remainder of the festival, it was a total rager while we were there. Now, if only every party could end with an obligatory pancake breakfast…