Summer Fest Preview Pt. 1

In The House, Music Waste, and Sled Island!

illlustration by Mark Hall-Patch
illlustration by Mark Hall-Patch


June 1st  to 3rd


WHO:  Maria in the Shower, Moka Only, and a whole bunch more.

BRING: A box o’ wine and an open mind.

FUN FACT: The first In The House Festival took place in the Hastings/Sunrise neighbourhood in 2003.

It’s just like a house party except people actually give a damn about the band that’s playing. Also, people are less drunk and there are more children. From June 1st to 3rd, East Van residents open their living rooms and backyards for the In The House Festival. Aside from the obvious voyeuristic appeal of wandering into strangers’ homes for an entire weekend, there will be music, dance and spoken word shows to see. And there’s magic. MAGIC!

The concerts are mainly jazz, world music and classical, but the weekend schedule is pretty varied. The concerts are grouped by genre, so you get a little sampler of music in each house. The best strategy is to pick a few key shows and not wear yourself out, since each show includes several acts. So think hard about whether you want to see violinists, indie acts or Balkan groups and choose wisely.

Non-musical highlights include Travis Lim, a nine-year-old b-boy dance prodigy who will be performing as part of the Fun Times Cabaret, The Encyclopedia Show featuring spoken word acts and the Grand Finale with The Underground Circus.

—Ariel Fournier


June 7th to 10th


WHO: Bad Channels, Evy Jane, Capitol 6, plus dozens more.

BRING: Jean jacket and a bike.

FUN FACT: Every year Music Waste organizers pick a new mascot. For 2012 it’s an apprehensive keytar-playing football.

Charged with the do-it-yourself spirit of Vancouver’s independent arts and music scene, Music Waste brings out the best of young acts in the city. Founded in 1994 as a response to the corporate-sponsored New West Music Festival, it has featured countless notable acts such as Japandroids, White Lung, Nu Sensae and many others throughout its 18 years of existence. Where in its early days it filled venues with showcases of the underground punk and indie scene, the festival has exploded into a variety of genres. This year’s organisers had the arduous task of selecting performers from a list of over 300 submissions, including Gang Signs‘ smart and sparkly electro-pop and Evy Jane‘s washy R&B, along with a strong garage and fuzz rock side represented by acts such as Bad Channels and Crystal Swells.

The festival reaches far beyond music as well, with Art Waste curating exhibitions among galleries around the city, Comedy Waste offering improv and sketch groups a chance to be funnier than usual, and Pop-Up Waste throwing a splattering of matinee shows in record stores and coffee shops, not to mention an entire series of self-promoted Go Your Own Waste shows. Overall, this action-packed antidote for summertime boredom with a price tag of under $20 seems like a steal, just don’t forget to bring a bike for the constant venue-hopping to come.

—Christian Voveris


June 20th to 23rd • Calgary, AB


WHO: Everyone and your grandmother.

BRING: A bike and a flat of energy drinks.

FUN FACT: Past guest curators of Sled Island have included Colin Newman (Wire) and Scott Kannberg (Pavement).

For four days every year in late June, the city of Calgary opens its doors to a wash of music hosted in- and outside venues throughout the city’s downtown core. And for a breath, Calgary-the-overachiever becomes the coolest city in Western Canada. It’s truly a spectacle to behold: the place best known for a competitive cattle wrestling becomes completely overrun with bikes, bands, parties, denim and leather.

This year’s edition of Sled Island will be guest curated by Andrew W.K. and Danny Vachon (the Dudes), and feature a melee of activity from Vancouver bands including Peace, Humans, the Ruffled Feathers, Keep Tidy and Black Wizard, alongside some of Canada’s brightest indie stars and a few major international headliners like Thurston Moore, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks and the Archers of Loaf. Comedy and art events are also abundant, with shows by Gavin McInness and Tim Heidecker, and film and gallery exhibitions organized through a collaboration with the Alberta College of Art + Design.

Grab single show tickets if you like, but for the real immersive experience, the cheesily named Festival Discovery Pass is best (if a bit pricey at $200). But what’s the value on the best time you’ll have all year? Priceless.

—Jordan Ardanaz