Sled Island Returns in 2014!

Sled Island 2013's cancellation due to the flooding and the state of emergency issued in Calgary in June was an unprecedented situation for the festival and its attendees, participating artists, partners and friends. The flood brought real devastation and loss, which was matched by an undeniable and inspirational spirit and resolve. In the wake of the flood, Sled Island offered refunds to all ticket and pass holders and faced losses of up to $200,000. Today, we are thrilled to report that thanks to the overwhelming support of our community, including attendees, artists and our numerous partners and other supporters, Sled Island will return as strong as ever in 2014.

Our most sincere gratitude goes to our pass holders. During the four week period following this year's cancelled festival in which Sled Island offered full refunds to all pass holders, nearly 70% chose not to ask for a refund or chose to reinvest their refund in the festival through our online charitable donation page at This strong and humbling show of support is the clearest signal to date of the incredible and growing community that exists behind Sled Island. We've always said Sled Island has the greatest festival community in the world and this claim rang loud and clear during the festival's greatest challenge.

As well, the ongoing commitment of the Calgary Hotel Association and Calgary Arts Development Authority (CADA) to Sled Island through the Remarkable Experience Accelerator program has been instrumental in allowing us to respond to both the immediate and long-term needs of the festival. We are also grateful to Heritage Canada, which has committed its support to the festival for the third straight year through their Building Communities Through Arts And Heritage program.

Thank you to every person who purchased a 2013 festival pass or ticket, those who chose to see that purchase as a long-term investment in the future of this festival and to every artist, volunteer and partner who helped Sled Island overcome such tremendous adversity.

We would also like to specifically thank The Calgary International Film Festival, Theatre Junction GRAND, The Calgary Underground Film Festival, the Quickdraw Animation Society, Republik, Broken City, Commonwealth and Tooth Blackner for offering passes, season's tickets, concert tickets and discounts to Sled Island pass holders as a show of support during the festival's refund period.

We can't wait to see you all again when Sled Island returns June 18 to 22, 2014!


CJSW 90.9 FM's Annual Funding Drive Is Underway - 2 Days Left To Pledge

Our good friends at CJSW 90.9 fm have been hustling their hearts out for their annual funding drive and there's only two days left to pledge. As a largely volunteer-run campus radio station, any and every amount you pledge is helpful for everything from buying equipment - much-needed headphones and microphones - to helping the station to begin offering podcasts of their incredible and incredibly diverse programming.

At Sled Island, we believe that CJSW is one of the greatest campus radio stations in the world and absolutely instrumental in fostering a passionate, knowledgeable music audience; it's that audience that propels the festival each year, providing local, national and international artists some of the best shows of their lives. As well, the station offers up a staggering amount of their airwaves to local artists, from playing their new albums to offering in-studio live session recording time to bands new and old alike. Our festival has benefited immensely from the CJSW training grounds, with much of the festival's staff and board of directors having direct ties to the station. As well, every year, CJSW helps us to produce the Sled Island podcast series which are important tools for our increasingly immense schedule to be unpacked.

All that to say, we can't say enough good things about CJSW 90.9 fm. We cherish it and hope you do too. If you pledge by phone (403-220-5000) or online, you'll not only have the satisfaction of knowing you helped to ensure CJSW survives and thrive, you'll also be eligible for a wide range of incentives, from t-shirts and sweatshirts to mix CDs of in-studio sessions recorded at the station.

Pledge now, won't you?


Sled Island Presents: Fucked Up At Commonwealth November 19th!

After the mind-meltingly good show from Sled Island 2013 curator John Dwyer's band Thee Oh Sees (we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the jaw-dropping sets from The Blind Shake and OBN IIIs as well), we thought we'd continue with the whole, 'let's party with past-curators' thing. Today, we're thrilled to announce that, thanks to the Commonwealth Bar & Stage, on Tuesday, November 19th, Sled Island 2010 curators, Fucked Up, will be back in town for another set of sweaty, shirtless and near-symphonic punk rock.

They'll be joined by a shockingly good and knee-weakeningly-loud line-up from top-to-bottom with Sabertooth, Sissys and Grown-Ups.

Tickets are on sale now!


Sled Island's Picks For Halifax Pop Explosion

One of our favourite festivals in the world, The Halifax Pop Explosion (HPX) is just one week away. For twenty one (!) years, HPX has managed to grow annually without ever losing sight of what makes it such an incredible festival: intimate, revelatory concerts that help to showcase the city and its scene.

With over 180 bands in 20+ venues, there's a lot to take in. As such, the Sled Island staff have put together a nice little list of recommendations - everything from shows by Atlanta-based, hip-hop year-end-list-topper Killer Mike to late-night grub-topper, donair sauce. We did this partly because we want to help and partly because it just might allow those of us in Calgary to live out HPX 2013 vicariously through you.


Ardmore Tearoom 6499 Quinpool Road
The perfect place to cure your hangover, fill your belly and keep some loonies in your wallet for the next round. The Ardmore is also great place to console yourself by observing those whose hangovers are somehow worse than yours. Try the lumberjack with a shake.

Gus' Pub 2605 Agricola Street
This is my favourite venue in Halifax. The exterior is cherry red and has a large sign with a grandad in all plaid advising you to not drink and dress. The interior is cozy, has a corner stage, a separate VLT room and cheap beer. There are some foggy but extremely awesome memories in this pub--I would set up camp here on the Friday as one of my favourite bands, Ketamines kick things off in the afternoon with a stacked bill of Tough Age, Black Mold, Jon McKiel, Ghostkeeper, and many more!

Steve-O-Reno's Cappuccino 1536 Brunswick Street
Halifax is where I learned to love coffee. Steve-O-Reno’s set the bar high with their wonderfully addictive cappuccinos. Stop by this charming coffee house right off Spring Garden for your dose of caffeine before venturing up the Citadel Hill for a view of the Halifax Harbour. One shot or two!

Minato Sushi 1520 Queen Street
Halifax is known for many things, fresh fish and a quirky charm are two of them! There's a handful of great sushi places in downtown Halifax, but my favourite was always the house on Queen Street. Get a bunch of friends and grab a table upstairs or down for a delicious array of fresh east coast seafood in the form of sushi!

Donair Sauce e v e r y w h e r e
donair sauce option
you improve all late night grub
and pizza I love

I just wrote a haiku for donair sauce--THAT's how important it is. Take advantage of having it readily available while in Halifax. Drown everything you can in it. Donairs? A given. Go right for the gold and head to KOD. Pizza? I will personally shame you if you don't go to pizza corner (Blowers & Grafton Streets) and try it on a slice. This has become my favourite treat of all time. Fries, garlic fingers, in a bowl... whatever, just trust me--if donair sauce is an option, put it on whatever you have in front of you and thank me later.


First off, we recommend checking out Sled Island at HPX. We're thrilled to be out in Halifax in spirit with a showcase featuring a handful of great live bands, a couple of which have graced, er leveled Sled Island stages in previous years. From the angular, throat-shredding but always tuneful Obits, fronted by Rick Froberg of Hot Snakes, Drive Like Jehu and Pitchfork to the hypnotic and scuzzy garage pop of Tough Age, who you might recognize from Korean Gut, Witch Baby, No Band, etc. Come out and tell 'em folks how much we appreciate them playing our party, won't you? It's sure to be a highlight among a festival filled with highlights. Some of those include...

A Collaborative Performance Featuring Dirty Beaches & Moon (Everywhere & Halifax, NS)
Alex Zhang Hungtai from Dirty Beaches is the type of vagabond drifter that can adapt to any place, sound or movement. For this special Halifax performance he will be joined by members of Moon, laying their spaced-out krautrock grooves to the irresistible guitar and vocal delivery of Dirty Beaches.

BA Johnston (Halifax, NS)
All of the Johnston concerts I've been to have been my favourite. His banter, wardrobe, facial hair and classic songs such as "As I am in Tim Hortons I realize I hate Tim Hortons" are all just fodder for your BA Johnston crush. Missing one of his shows is such a rookie mistake.

Brian Posehn (Los Angeles, CA)
I've been in love with Brian for a long time for his work on Mr. Show and The Sarah Silverman Program. But all you really need to know about Brian is he has an album called Fart and Weiner Jokes. If that doesn't sell you, absolutely nothing I could say about him would. If you can't see him in Halifax, the man is coming to Republik on November 23!

Chad VanGaalen (Calgary, AB)
Bringing together music, animation, jokes and lanky charm, CVG cuts through endless dad rock/dads that rock comparisons. Dude never disappoints.

The Highest Order (Toronto, ON)
Smoky poetic lyricism. Simone (of One Hundred Dollars) pairs with stalwart musicians to deliver a mystical, psych country mix.

Ketamines (Toronto, ON)
They just released a super memorable slab of oh-so-catchy garage pop and essentially have an open invitation to play Sled Island 2013 anytime they want.

Killer Mike (Atlanta, GA, USA)
2012's politically charged R.A.P. Music was probably on a million best of lists. Atlanta's Killer Mike is a force live, would not miss this.

Lunice (Montreal, QC)
B-Boy? Producer? DJ? Montreal's Lunice seems uninterested in the distinction. After meeting Hudson Mohawke during one of Lunice's wild Turbo Crunk parties, the pair coined their subsequent work together TNGHT, a project that would literally shatter glass at 2012's SXSW and result in a much talked about EP, praised by the EDM and hip-hop worlds alike. Though the pair has found fame together (later production credits including L’il Wayne and Kanye West), Lunice still keeps incredibly busy with solo productions and sets around the globe. When I saw him at the Hifi Club last year, his ace track choices and charisma from behind the booth kept a full room dancing till the wee hours.

Metz (Toronto, ON)
They were up for the Polaris Music Prize. They play some of the loudest, noisiest punk rock going today. Mostly, though, we just wish their Sled Island shows hadn't been flooded out. Sigh.

Old and Weird (Halifax, NS)
Old and Weird are one of my favorites from Halifax. I first discovered them on the Khyber compilation, Vol. II (p.s. Halifax you have wonderful bands), and fell in love with their sound right away. Their brand of indie pop never fails to make me happy. I sadly have yet to see them (please come to back to Calgary soon, ladies), but you should go see them when they play HPX for the Weird Canada Good Times Party Jam at the Pavillion, on October 26th, at 2:45pm. Which you should, because the rest of the bill looks great, and Weird Canada is the best!

Pick a Piper (Toronto, ON)
Brad Weber has a distinct feel for rhythm. Starting out playing in Winter Equinox, Weber was soon acquainted with a certain Dan Snaith, the mastermind of Polaris winners Caribou. 2007 saw Weber take on drumming duties for Caribou and if you've been fortunate to catch them since, you're already aware of Weber's prowess behind the kit. The complex rhythms of Caribou gave Weber the idea to start a polyrhythm-centric group all his own. Pick a Piper was born and are now riling up dancefloors at the same time as locking in the head-nodders with their engaging sets. Having watched Pick a Piper play a small living room at one of the unofficial "Flood Island" make up shows back in June, I'm psyched to see how their sound will fill a larger space.

We Are Wolves (Montreal, QC)
Lovable art punks playing the absolute shit out of their synths, bass and drums. They've been doing it forever, but somehow seem to get better each year. If you dug Duchess Says at Sled Island 2012, give these guys a shot too.


Sled Island Presents: Thee Oh Sees w/ The Blind Shake, And So I Watch You From Afar, Har Mar Superstar + more!

While Sled Island might only come around once a year, thanks to our hard working and passionate Calgary friends, promoters and venues, we're able to help throw some parties each month...and this month is a doozy.

On October 11th at Broken City, festival favourites And So I Watch You From Afar return with their jaw-droppingly technical and powerful instrumental math rock show. They're joined by This Town Needs Guns, Mylets and The Fallacy.

On October 12th, the party continues at Broken City with "the Ron Jeremy of indie rock," indie R&B live show killer, Har Mar Superstar, along with local self-contained dance party, Mark Mills.

Finally, on October 18th, John Dwyer, our 2013 festival curator, returns to Calgary with his oh-so-catchy genre-expanding garage pop band, Thee Oh Sees at The Republik. They're joined by one of the single greatest live bands to ever play the festival, The Blind Shake. If you haven't caught their thunderous surf-guitar propelled garage rock, you haven't truly lived.

Join us for some truly outstanding shows, won't you?


Local 510 Monthly Series: Sludge Island w/ Mortals, The Weir, Doberman

There's something to be said for of-the-time jokey meme costumes or sex'd up pizza costumes, but we're not the ones going to be saying it. Instead, why not spend the eve of All Hallow's Eve partying appropriately? Sled, er, Sludge Island presents a night of doomy, black, sludgy, punk'd up metal with Brooklyn-based Mortals alongside local purveyors of the real heavy, The Weir and Doberman. It all goes down at Local 510 on October 30th. We'd wager it'll be a rager.