sled island 2016 exposures

EXPOSURES: 30 photos from Sled Island’s incredible 10th edition

The 2016 edition of the Calgary festival was the perfect size, packed with great discoveries and bucket list legends.

- Jul 4, 2016
EXPOSURES captures the moods and experiences of fans and artists, both onstage and off. This time, memories from a packed, packed week at the perfect edition of Sled Island, the Calgary festival's 10th year.

I finally made it to Calgary for Sled Island after years of pining from across the country, and boy did it deliver. Unbeknownst to me before I arrived, Sled (as it’s affectionately referred to by most festival-goers) was celebrating its 10th edition this year, and it’s obvious that the organizers have spent that time really figuring out how to throw a truly awesome party. While similar "club-hopping" festivals can often be overstuffed with bands, Sled felt like the perfect size, with just enough options to be exciting but retaining individual showcases that you could truly enjoy from start to finish.

You can tell that a lot of care went into choosing the acts, which I really valued, because there's nothing worse than being stuck watching something not so good when you're missing out on something at another venue. So, while I didn't catch all the big headliners (Julia Holter, Tortoise, and this year's guest curator Peaches) that I would have liked to have seen, I discovered a lot of great bands from western Canada that were new to me. Plus, I finally saw Guided By Voices.

So, shall we look at some photos?

1 - edmonton skyline

1. Here we are, beautiful Calgary, where the sun always shines and you can wear a cowboy hat without getting any weird looks.

2 - the highest order

2. Toronto’s The Highest Order, on tour celebrating the release of their new album Still Holding, got us moving and grooving with their psychedelic country jams.

3 - whoop-szo

3. London’s WHOOP-Szo impressed at the Local 510.

4 - shearing pinx

4. I ran into Vancouver’s Shearing Pinx goofing around CJSW’s music library.

5 - by divine right

5. By Divine Right played to a packed and rowdy room at Chart Attack’s showcase.

6 - supermoon

6. Supermoon, from Vancouver, was one of our favourite discoveries of the festival.

7 - jar arner

7. Jay Arner flashes some cash while his band smiles politely (l-r Adam Fink, Adrienne LaBelle, and Jessica Delisle)

9 - nmc 2

8. While I was in Calgary, I had the chance to tour Studio Bell, the new home of the National Music Centre. Many of the instruments in the NMC collection are in full working condition, and can be used by musicians who take part in their artist-in-residence program.

10 - nmc 3

9. One of the coolest things to check out when you visit the NMC is the Rolling Stones’ Mobile Recording Studio, which was used to record albums such as Exile on Main Street and Led Zeppelin IV.

11 - mitchmatic

10. Edmonton’s Mitchmatic switched seamlessly between rapping and playing sax.

12 - tough age

11. Tough Age lived up to their reputation as one of Vancouver’s most beloved bands.

13 - hsy

12. Back at CJSW, Toronto’s HSY ran through a blistering live-to-air set.

14 - artists against artists

13. Eccentric Vancouver musician Johnny de Courcy and Laura Bardsley, in between playing their own sets, spent the entire festival running around filming interviews with everyone they could find for their new web series Artists Against Artists.

15 - vulva culture

14. Halifax’s Vulva Culture packed people into the famed 17th Avenue eatery Tubby Dog for a mid-afternoon set.

16 - conduct

15. I stumbled into an unofficial house show, where I caught Winnipeg’s Conduct, who Ryan Parker saw playing the same house last year at Sled!

17 - shearing pinx

16. Down in the basement, I saw new pals Shearing Pinx doing their thing.

19 - faith healer

17. Really nice to finally see Edmonton’s Faith Healer, who released one of my favourite records of last year, Cosmic Troubles.

20 - psychic tv

18. Genesis P-Orridge’s Psychic TV brought out some of the festival’s most hardcore fans. I witnessed several audience members brought to tears.

21 - blu shorts

19. Upstairs at the Legion, Calgary’s Blü Shorts kept things weird. I loved every minute of it.

22 - astral gunk

20. Recently revived Sackville punks Astral Gunk came through with a batch of new songs but the same high energy.

23 - tops

21. Montreal’s TOPS had something of a homecoming, with many family members in the audience. Thankfully, they delivered one of the week’s highlights.

24 - heaven for real

22. The members of Halifax/Montreal band Heaven For Real (l-r: Cheryl Hann, Scott Grundy, Nathan Doucet, and Mark Grundy) could also be seen throughout the week performing stand-up comedy (Cheryl), or performing with their other group, Quaker Parents (Nathan and the Grundy twins).

25 - esg

23. New York legends ESG were one of Sled Island’s most exciting programming choices, and the audience certainly revelled in the chance to hear iconic songs such as “UFO” and “Dance” in the flesh.

26 - angel olsen

24. Angel Olsen packed people into the Central United Church, performing songs from all her albums, plus previewing a few from her upcoming LP My Woman.

27 - deafheaven

25. Back at the legion, Deafheaven provided catharsis for the crowd.

28 - built to spill

26. Built To Spill have nothing left to prove, yet they still proved they’re one of the most consistent bands of their generation still working today, continuing to release great records and put on vital performances.

29 - kaytranada

27. Montreal producer Kaytranada had the crowd at Flames Central transfixed.

30 - shotgun jimmie

28. Brandon, MB Guided By Voices superfan Shotgun Jimmie wasn’t going to let a little bit of rain dampen his enjoyment of a GBV set, so he came prepared.

31 - guided by voices

29. Guided By Voices played and made as us all very happy.

32 - the end

30. Post-GBV smiles with Shotgun Jimmie and Winnipeg’s Human Music (l-r: Mef Hollier, Cole Woods, and Jory Hasselmann), with Tough Age’s Jarrett K. creeping in the background. Apparently it was Jarrett’s 42nd time seeing GBV!

Okay, that’s it, that’s the end. It was the most fun week of my life.


Susan plays Tubby Dog at Sled Island

9 Discoveries from Calgary’s 2015 Sled Island Festival

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