As you can tell from the title of this post, last weekend's trip to Sled Island in Calgary surpassed all my expectations.
Not only was the weather amazing, but with acts ranging from Broken Social Scene, Drive-By Truckers, The Cops, The Dodos, Carolyn Mark, Wire, Still Flyin', Jose Gonzalez, The Secret Machines, the Gutter Twins, Jonathan Richman, Of Montreal, The Fellas, Mogwai, Heat Ray, The Ostrich, Fucked Up, Enablers, The Absent Sound, Spiral Stairs, Hot Little Rocket, Portastatic, and Katie Stelmans to name a few, Sled Island 2008 is in serious contention for one of the best music festivals I've been to!
Kudos to the organizers, volunteers, bands, artists, and sponsors for putting together this awesome festival. It will definitely be on my list of weeks not to miss in 2009!
And not content with complacency or afraid of controversy, Sled Island Festival Director Zak Pashak wasn't afraid of controversy as he used his message to festival goers to start some debate on the state of Calgary and Alberta's cultural scene (and also raised some interesting questions around the very subtle societal differences between being 'rich' and being 'wealthy'). The following are exerts from Pashak's letter in the festival guide:
Calgarians are searching. The city is gradually learning that pretending to be what you think another city is, is an empty path. Visit one of our various new $10-a-beer-resto-lounges to get a first hand experience of emptiness. I don’t think we really want pathetic interpretations of New York, what we want is that thing that New Yorkers have - we want real pride in where we live.
Calgarians want something vibrant, meaningful, and homegrown that holds up to anything in the world. Celebrating our creativity while hosting the best and most interesting music and visual art adds to civic pride. That is why Sled Island is successful.
Alberta could be so many things. We could be an unrivaled center of education. We could have free, high quality education for every citizen of this province. Money is there by the bucket load - but where is it going? How different would Calgary look if we focused on educating ourselves and attracting bright minds to our city? Would the epicenter of our greatest civic celebration still consist of drunk millionaires renting cocaine dusted barbie dolls at an outhouse smelling parking lot behind a downtown theme-bar? Is that really how we want to represent ourselves to the world? Is that at all real?