Sled Island returns to Calgary for its 13th year

Summer is just around the corner, and that means another season full of festivals. Calgary is no exception with Sled Island returning for its 13th year!

For those unfamiliar, Sled Island started in 2007 and plays host to artists spanning all media; music, comedy, film, and art. Each June the festival welcomes more than 250 artists with anywhere from a few hundred followers to a few thousand, which is perfect, as the festival is meant to be a place for discovery.

This year is no exception, announcing Julien Baker as the curator for the festival. Hailing from Memphis, TN at the age of 23, she could be the youngest curator to date but that won’t slow her down. As not only is she the curator for this year’s festival but she is one of the many performers being announced. The first wave of artists is out and some of the headliners include name’s such as Japanese Breakfast, JPEGMAFIA, Bully, and more. Though it was hard to pick out a few to mention, I gave it a go.

Though not a ton of Canadian names were dropped in the first wave, it goes to show that the festival welcomes acts from all across North America and The Atlantic. Though one name does stand out; Fly Pan Am hailing from Montreal is set to perform at Sled Island shortly before of the 20th anniversary of their debut album. The band comprised of Félix Morel, Jonathan Parant, Roger Tellier-Craig, and Jean-Sébastien Truchy recently played their first show in 14 years. Though it’s the first time the band is appearing at the festival, members have appeared in other bands over the years including Le Révélateur and 2015 curator Godspeed You! Black Emperor. If you’re into experimental rock and curious to see how a band is after 20 years, this one is not one to be missed.

While we’re focusing on performers from Montreal, why not move genres to a more electronic sound and check out Sinjin Hawke + Zora Jones. If you want to fully immerse yourself in trap, RnB inspired club sounds, the duo will overload your senses. Including 3-D mapped, giant robotic versions of themselves and other visual effects.

As mentioned earlier the festival is no stranger to artists outside of Canada. Travelling from Tuscon, AZ is Kid Congo Powers And The Pink Monkey Birds. I honestly picked this one just for the name itself. Though after doing some research, I have realized that Brian Tristan fronts the band was also involved with The Cramps and Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds. Bringing in a classic garage-punk sound is one that hits close to home for me.

While North America is home to some amazing artists. We can’t overlook the bands coming in from overseas, including The Comet Is Coming who is coming all the way from the UK. This band not only mixes jazz, electronic and psychedelic sounds together but seems to always bring a feeling of content and movement to each listener.

Within the months to come there will be many more announcements of artists appearing this year, so stay tuned. You can follow and check out the entire lineup on the website or check out their Spotify playlists. Stay tuned as I will also be announcing must-sees with each wave of artists announced.

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