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Courtesy Marc Rimmer

Sled Island Pre-Party kicks off summer music scene

By Rachel Woodward, June 9 2016 —

Following its creation in 2007, Sled Island has become a local music staple and a way to discover up-and-coming musicians within the community.

Another tradition was formed in 2013, when Sled Island began hosting a free, all-ages pre-festival party at Lukes Drug Mart. This year’s event will take place on June 12 at noon.

Calgary native Chad VanGaalen will headline this year’s party. He will take the stage alongside Toronto’s Hooded Fang, Vancouver’s We Are the City and Calgary newcomers We Knew.

Gareth Lukes, owner of Lukes Drug Mart and organizer of the event, says festivals like Sled Island are Calgary staples because of the musical opportunities associated with them.

“Because of where Calgary is geographically located, we don’t get the frequency of touring acts that Seattle or Vancouver would get,” he says. “Things like Sled Island are really important because it allows us to have bands play that would probably never play in Calgary.”

With Sled Island around the corner, the pre-party will introduce audiences to the type of music they can expect at this year’s festival.

We Are the City formed in Kelowna but are based in Vancouver. They just returned from a European tour. Guitarist David Menzel says the band is excited to return to Calgary for their second performance at Sled Island.

“We are going to play the best show we can,” he says.

Menzel is a firm believer in the positive impact festivals can have on local music.

“It’s a good festival. We are happy to be invited back and get to play in Calgary,” he says. “I think that every community could use some help in the music department, and festivals never hurt. I think they are very
important to the people attending and for the community as well as the bands. It’s great for young bands to be able to play festivals in their hometowns.”

Lukes says Sled Island exemplifies the local music scene.

“We do have progressive people in the city and a very vibrant arts community, even though some other cities might not assume that when they think of Calgary,” he says. “Overall, it’s a representation of what the city can be.”

The Lukes Drug Mart Pre-Party will begin on Sunday, June 12 at noon and will go until 6:00 p.m. The event is all ages and admission is free.

For more information, visit sledisland.com

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