Applications for media accreditation for Sled Island 2019 are officially open! 

If you are interested in covering this year's festival, apply here

Application deadline is Friday, May 31. 


Canadian & International Media
Katie Nelson

Calgary Media
Kurtis Gregor
Marketing & Communications Manager

Sled Island 2019
Press Kit + Artist Assets

Entering its 13th year, Sled Island brings together 250 bands, comedy, film and art in over 30 venues — from bars to churches to theatres to Legions and more — to 40,000+ attendees each June. Even the most dedicated music nerds would be hard-pressed to know all of the artists playing. Here’s a cheat sheet to the first 20+ artists, most of which have never played Calgary before, to get you better acquainted.


Memphis-based singer-songwriter Julien Baker was announced as the festival’s 2019 guest curator. Just 23 years old, she has already released two critically-acclaimed solo albums as well as a collaborative project with Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus called boygenius. Each year, Sled Island’s guest curator puts their personal stamp on the festival by programming 10-12 artists throughout the week. Selected artists announced so far include: Japanese Breakfast, JPEGMAFIA, Hop Along, Bully, Torres, Worriers, Death Bells and Squirrel Flower.


We’re excited to announce exciting voices in independent music-making today:

  • Japanese Breakfast: from lo-fi bedroom pop to more expansive shimmering space pop, Michelle Zauner’s project has one common thread: perfectly-penned songs.
  • JPEGMAFIA: politically-charged, adventurous, and noisy hip hop bursts of energy from Iraq war veteran Barrington DeVaughn Hendricks.
  • Le1f: one of the most transgressive and enrapturing artists of electronic music’s present, celebrated alongside other innovators like Sophie, Junglepussy and Lunice.
  • Hop Along: with finely-tuned songcraft and Vulture’s “best voice in rock music,” Hop Along may be the best entry point for those intimidated by the fest’s near-endless sub-genres. 
  • Bully: Nashville might be the last place one might expect to be ground zero for a grunge revival, but Bully’s feedback-drenched, Cobain-scream pop will make you a true believer.
  • Cate Le Bon: the Welsh-born songwriter’s free-form brilliance is hard to pin down but easy to appreciate, whether its sprinkled atop psych-folk, post-punk or classical piano compositions.
  • Cass McCombs: the idiosyncratic poet-prankster topped too many “most anticipated albums of 2019” lists for us to keep up.


Joining them are a selection of artists who have already left their indelible mark on music:

  • Oblivians: the godfathers of garage punk, featuring members of Reigning Sound and The Deadly Snakes, among many others, return nearly 25 years after their debut.  
  • Man Or Astro-Man?: with a dash of Devo and a pinch of The Ventures, Man Or Astro-man? are the festival’s bucketlist space age surf band you didn’t know you needed.
  • The Messthetics: members of legendary band Fugazi teamed up with Anthony Pirog for decidedly more adventurous avant-jazz guitar explorations.
  • Fly Pan Am: after an extended 15-ish year hiatus, the krautrock-inspired experimental rock of these Godspeed You! Black Emperor collaborators returns.
  • Kid Congo Powers + the Pink Monkeybirds: an honest-to-goodness punk rock legend, Kid Congo was a member of The Gun Club, The Cramps and Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds.
  • Chandra: after fronting a post-punk, freak-funk group by the age of 12, she returns with a brand new band, including her 12-year-old daughter, after three decades away from music.


At the close of the festival each year, attendees trade stories of their “you had to be there!” shows. Here are a few that may otherwise fly under-the-radar, but that are guaranteed to be among the most memorable shows of the fest:

  • Lubomyr Melnyk: this illustrious Ukrainian-born pianist and composer claims to hold a world record by playing 19.5 notes per second per hand.
  • William Basinski: best known for The Distintegration Loops, a work in which the highly-regarded avant-garde composer recorded the life and death of sound through slowly decaying analog tapes.
  • The Comet Is Coming: a euphoric live show that sits somewhere between Kraftwerk, Sun Ra and Fela Kuti.
  • Ouri: With a mix of apocalyptic trap, lo-fi house and spectral R&B, it may be best to just say that there’s no other producer that sounds quite like Ouri.
  • Sinjin Hawke + Zora Jones Live AV: 3-d mapped robots and a visual theremin (an instrument translating dance moves into song) are just a couple of the tools at this audio-visual duo’s disposal.


One of the joys of working with a guest curator is discovering new artists that may not yet be gracing the front page of Pitchfork, but that come with a built-in and trusted stamp of approval. In addition to Japanese Breakfast, JPEGMAFIA, Hop Along and Bully, Julien selected:

  • Torres: the follow-up to her two critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter recordings sees Torres moving her songcraft into decidedly more electronic territory.
  • Death Bells: the six-piece Sydney, Australia transplants’ morose post-punk fits in perfectly with their new Los Angeles surroundings.
  • Worriers: Brookyln-based hooky and ultra-melodic pop-punk that trades individual trauma for communal catharsis.
  • Squirrel Flower: with choral training and an impressive range, Ella William’s introspective  and personal songs become universal.