Starting June 24, Calgary music fans will enjoy the nasally sounds of Nardwuar the Human Serviette, the primal party tunes of Andrew W.K. and the usual epic late night dance after-parties when the third annual Sled Island music festival comes to town.
Though the haters and the rumour mongers had said that the festival wouldn’t run for a third year, festival director Zak Pashak says that it’s back baby.
“People doubted that we were going to run again this year,” he says. “It’s weird that people say that, because it’s never really been that way.”
Unlike last year, where it took place on the Mewata Armory’s grounds, this year’s festival is located in the epicenter of Calgary’s culture district — Olympic Plaza, in between the Calgary Public Library and the Epcor Centre.
“We thought Mewata was a nice venue and it was pretty, but it’s also kind of tucked around the outskirts of downtown and it’s between two major roadways, so it’s kind of uncomfortable there,” says Pashak “I find Olympic Plaza is more cozy, with big buildings around it. It feels more urban.”
Media buzzed as Pashak too the stage at Broken City to make the anouncement Friday May 1. The baby-faced Pashak, reading from a sheet, announced the line up languidly, waxing poetic on the bands to the crowd.
Later, he gave one-on-one interviews after the press conference.
“I’m excited about everyone, there’s a lot of great shows,” says Pashak. “I guess after booking so many bands for so long, I don’t necessarily get excited about big draws — I’m excited about our big draws, the Breeders are cool — but there’s little shows that I booked at the Bamboo [Tiki Room] with envelopes full of cash that I find myself being quite excited about.”
Other bands that will be playing the festival include the aforementioned Kim Deal-fronted Breeders and local Albertan boys (via Toronto) the Rural Alberta Advantage. Booking all these bands and presiding over the madness of running a festival—as well as two bars—has left Pashak looking exhausted.
“I’m so busy,” he says, with a small laugh. “I own two bars and run this festival. I’m tired.”
See the official Sled Island website for more details.