Sled Island

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Sled Island
Genre Music, Art, Film
Dates June 18–22, 2014
Location(s) Calgary, Alberta
Attendance 30,000
Sled Island

The Sled Island Music and Arts Festival is an annual independent festival held in over thirty venues in downtown Calgary, Alberta. Sled Island provides festival goers with an opportunity to gather for four days each year to celebrate the wealth of creative talent that exists within Calgary, Western Canada and beyond and experience a diverse array of music, film and visual art. Sled Island's mandate is to celebrate, showcase, and nurture emerging and established local talent alongside national and international music, film, and visual art in an inclusive, engaging setting.

Colin Stetson at Sled Island Music and Arts Festival, Calgary, 2013.



Sled Island's inaugural festival year saw an estimated 6,000+ visitors attend concerts in multiple venues featuring 96 bands over the course of four days from June 27–30, 2007, with guest curator Mark Hamilton of Woodpigeon. Sled Island featured a stylistically diverse range of independent music, placing local musicians (Woodpigeon, Chad VanGaalen, Hot Little Rocket, S.I.D.S., etc.) alongside international musicians (Boredoms, Cat Power, Spoon, The Walkmen etc.). A variety of art shows and a film screenings complimented the music lineup.


The 2008 Sled Island Music and Arts Festival happened from June 25–28, 2008 featuring guest music curator Scott Kannberg of the seminal indie band Pavement. The full festival lineup included: Mogwai, Of Montreal, Wire, RZA, Broken Social Scene, Tegan and Sara, Grizzly Bear, Yo La Tengo, Drive-by Truckers, José González, Extra Golden, Gutter Twins, Beans, Jonathan Richman, Chris Gheran, The Dodos, Deerhunter, Okkervil River, BBQ, Women, No Age, Dan Deacon, Qui, Pride Tiger, Wet Secrets, Carolyn Mark, Elliot Brood, Portastatic, Scott Kannberg, Whitsundays, Woodpigeon, Mother Mother, Broken West, Chad VanGaalen and more.

A major addition to the festival in 2008 was an increased focus on visual art. Wayne Baerwaldt (guest art curator) announced that the arts component would feature 15 exhibitions including works from Peaches, Noam Gonick, Luis Jacob, Paulo Whitaker, Wil Murray, Justin Evans, Miriam Bankey, Chris Millar, Dave & Jenn, Ryan Sluggett, Kyle Beal, Kim Neudorf and Patrick Lundeen. Organizaers held a poster contest aimed at high school students to help get them more involved in the festival.[1]


The 2009 Sled Island Festival took place June 24–27, 2009 at multiple venues in the beltline and downtown core of Calgary, Alberta. Colin Newman of the British post-punk band Wire and Githead acted as the guest music curator for Sled Island 2009 along with his wife and band mate Malka Spiegel. The Sled Island 2009 full festival lineup included over 250 bands/artists, including 90+ local bands. Some of the musicians who performed at Sled Island 2009 were: The Breeders, Liars, Andrew W.K., Health, Chris Gheran, Shearing Pinx, Final Fantasy, Githead, Holy Fuck, Anvil, The Bronx, Monotonix, Women, Slim Twig, The King Khan & BBQ Show, Quintron & Miss Pussycat, Braids, Mount Eerie, Biz Markie, Azeda Booth, Jody Glenham, Puberty, Friendo, Knots, Nü Sensae and many more.[2]


The 2010 Sled Island Music and Arts Festival was from June 30-July 3, 2010[3] with the Sled Island Film[4] component from June 24–29, 2010 in Calgary, Alberta. The 2010 Sled Island festival lineup included the following music acts: Girl Talk, The Melvins, Built to Spill, The Thermals, Les Savy Fav, Hot Water Music, The Pack A.D., WhoMadeWho, The Black Lips, Kobra and the Lotus, Hot Panda, Ted Leo and The Pharmacists, The Posies, The Almighty Defenders, Fucked Up, Quintron and Miss Pussycat, !!!, King Khan & BBQ Show, Deerhoof, The Bronx, Chain & The Gang, Women, Azeda Booth, Aislinn Grant, In Medias Res and many more[5]!


The fifth edition of Sled Island ran from June 22–25th, 2011. Headliners included Sleep, Twin Shadow, Minus The Bear, An Horse, The Sword, Blonde Redhead, Dum Dum Girls, Wild Flag, Of Montreal, Buzzcocks, Zola Jesus, Deer Tick, Dandy Warhols, Crocodiles, Quintron, BJ Snowden, Wild Nothing, Kurt Vile, Chad VanGaalen, Purity Ring, and more!


The sixth edition of Sled Island took place from June 20–23, 2012. Some of the headliners included Feist, The Hold Steady, Archers of Loaf, Andrew W.K., The Sadies, Thurston Moore, Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, The Antlers, Lou Barlow, Hot Snakes and more!


The seventh edition of Sled Island was scheduled to run from 19–22, 2013, though the 2013 was cancelled on the morning of June 21, 2013 due to historic flooding throughout Calgary that resulted in the evacuation of many neighbourhoods and the closure of significant portions of the city. Some of the headliners were to include The Jesus and Mary Chain, Explosions in the Sky, Swans, Divine Fits, Joel Plaskett, Iceage, Superchunk, Torche, The Thermals, Mac DeMarco, Colin Stetson, Metz, Tim Hecker, The Besnard Lakes, Thee Oh Sees.


The eighth edition of Sled Island ran from June 18–22nd, 2014. Headliners included Spiritualized, Rocket From The Crypt, St. Vincent, Bob Mould, Joel Plaskett Emergency, Touche Amore, Killer Mike, Earthless, Rhye, Chelsea Wolfe, Dan Deacon and more!


The ninth edition of Sled Island will run from June 24–28th, 2015. Headliners included Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Television, Drive Like Jehu, Lightning Bolt, Body/Head, Daniel Lanois, King Tuff, Pentagram, Fu Manchu, Viet Cong, Pissed Jeans and more!

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