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What to expect from this year’s BIG Winter Classic lineup 

By Ansharah Shakil, January 25 2024— 

Calgary’s annual winter music festival BIG Winter Classic will be held this year from January 24-28. BIG Winter Classic is one of the things music lovers in the city look forward to most, not just for how it encourages Calgarians to celebrate their city even in the dead of winter, but for how it supports the city’s music scene with an exciting and extensive lineup that covers a broad array of genres. 2024’s lineup promises to be just as spectacular as ones from previous years, with over 70 artists performing over the course of the four-day festival. 

Headliners include indie rock Boston band Vundabar and currently touring New York duo Battles, but a standout is Toronto’s Debby Friday. Friday’s debut album Good Luck won the Polaris Music Prize and her confident, addicting sound is something to look forward to. Producer DJ Nu-Mark, Middle Eastern queer DJ Melody Retrograde and French band Muele are intriguing additions to this year’s lineup. Another name to keep in mind is singer-songwriter Sunny Wars, who has beautifully combined folk and punk for years and whose recent album is filled with insightful lyrics and memorable melodies. 

Two other major headliners are genre-defying singer Nyssa, whose poetic lyrics and charismatic presence will bewitch the audience, and winsome Vancouver rock trio The Jins, who are touring for the first time since their breakout song “She Said” first reached the height of its popularity. From Montreal, singer-songwriter Helena Deland and glamorous, groovy musical group Barry Paquin Roberge showcase two different spectrums of what audiences can look forward to this year. Meanwhile Montreal artist Waahli’s innovative hip-hop is influenced by his Haitian culture and full of catchy beats, and is an act not to be missed.

Other exciting additions to the lineup include Toronto-based Hot Garbage, who use their pop-punk sound to their best advantage, Jane Inc., a solo project by Toronto musician Carolyn Bezic and BC sister duo Vox Rea. Vox Rea have been making major strides in the last few years under their previous name The Katherines, featured on numerous playlists and TV and morning shows. Their new name hasn’t changed their compelling, dreamy, indie-pop sound. 

Though there’s a staggering amount of international talent at the scenes of the festival this year, one of the main things BIG Winter Classic seeks to accomplish, of course, is to shine a light on Calgarian musical talent — which is why there’s also a wide array of local acts set to perform. This includes bands like Sea of Lettuce, Lucky Sonne, and Hair Control, alongside local favourites Oranje and The Hi-Tops. This year will be the 15th-anniversary show of local electronic music duo Napoleon Skywalker, while Calgary’s quartet Sunglaciers are at their sonic peak after their sophomore album Subterranea. 

Whether you’re looking for punk or rock bands that will have you forgetting about the cold entirely, or indie singers that are more lo-fi and soothing, BIG Winter Classic has something for everyone, and it’s definitely an essential part of winter in Calgary. View the full lineup and find tickets on the BIG Winter Classic website.

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