Wavves perfroms at Sled Island 2017
Wavves performs at last year’s Sled Island Music & Arts Festival | Photo: Mike Tan

Sled Island

Get your party on with Calgary's eclectic music and arts festival

Amy Jo Espetveidt

  • Price Free - $385
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With more than 250 bands alongside comedy, film, and visual art lineups, Sled Island returns with five-days sure to rock your faces off.

This annual music and arts festival is set to take over venues across the city and features seminal art rock band Deerhoof as guest curator. Other highly anticipated acts include The Flaming Lips, Dirty Projectors, 40 Watt Sun, and Lido Pimienta.

Along with the great music, Sled Island also presents a series of discussions, parties, workshops, and other programming to excite and engage curious minds. Look for classic favourites Punk Rock Bingo and Wrap-Up Karaoke alongside new events like the Music Lover’s Weekend at the Memorial Park Library.

There’s even a new partnership with IRIM, Drum Beat, and Arts Commons for a series of events in celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day. Featuring a Mini Pow Wow, a Rhythm of the People Workshop co-led by Snotty Nose Rez Kids and Mob Bounce, and an imagineNATIVE shorts package, swing by Arts Commons for this free, all-ages event on June 21.

And Sled Island would not be complete without opportunities for musicians that offer a look inside the biz and valuable tools for ensuring a healthy music community.

With tons of greatness squashed into the five days of Sled, there really is something for everyone. So, what are we most looking forward to? Here are our picks for this year’s festival:

Sled Island Poster Show

June 19 – 23, 2018
Pin-Bar (501 17th Ave. SW)

A vital part of Sled Island, this annual show pairs local artists with musicians playing the festival to create limited edition, hand-silkscreened posters by Burnt Toast Studios. Posters will be on display and available for purchase throughout the festival with an opening reception from 6:00 to 10:00pm on June 19.

Queercore: How To Punk A Revolution

June 20, 2018, 9:15pm
Globe Cinema (617 8th Ave. SW)

Presented in association with Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival, Sled Island is once again screening the work of Berlin-based director Yony Leyser. Looking at the birth of the queercore movement in the mid-1980s and its living legacy, the documentary explores the roles of homophobia, gender, feminism, AIDS, assimilation, sex, and art in subverting a culture and creating a new one.

Sled Island Block Party

June 23, 2018, 2:00 – 10:00pm
Inglewood (10th Ave. & 10th St. SE)
Free, all-ages

Get ready for this annual, free, outdoor, all-ages dance party. Featuring Will Clarke, Harrison Brome, josh pan, Carissa Gem, Dillon Nathaniel, Magic & Johnson, Selci, BB Mars, B*les & The Suede, Strangerfamiliar, and SymfanIt, it goes rain or shine so come prepared and get ready to groove.

Owen Pallett with Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra

June 23, 2018
Jack Singer Concert Hall, Arts Commons (205 8th Ave. SE)
$25 – $50

You might have seen Owen Pallett at Sled Island before, but never like this. The Polaris Prize-winning composer, arranger, and performer joins the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra for a night of mesmerizing music you won’t soon forget.

We Are Not An Island Queer Zine Fair

June 23 & 24, 2018, 11:00am – 4:00pm
Royal Canadian Legion Branch #1 (116 7th Ave. SE)

Through the creation and exhibition of zines, comics, books, posters, and other printed matter, this event seeks to provide a safe, accessible, and inclusive space. Returning once again, the fair is organized and curated by Bronson Smillie, a local queer artist aiming to showcase the work of self identified queer-folk and other traditionally marginalized members of the Calgary creative community.

Sled Island runs June 20 to 24, 2018 throughout Calgary and the full schedule can be found at sledisland.com.