Sappy, Shifty & Shed: The Trifecta of Atlantic Summer Festivals
Summer in this end of the east has become excitedly busy in the department of charming independent music and arts festivals. Falling within just a few weeks of each other in 2016, Atlantic Canada bears a potent trifecta of hard decisions when asking yourself “how should I spend my summer vacation?”
Sackville’s SappyFest is throwing their 11th installment starting this Friday, July 29th, while Fredericton’s Shifty Bits Circus turns Va5rants on August 4th, and the youngest of the siblings, St. John’s Shed (Island), goes from teething to toddling for year three on that very same weekend.
The triple threat, the holy trinity, the indie threefold, the trichotomic tripartite. (Call it what you want, but don’t dare call it a trinal failure.)
These three festivals were spawned from ground up, grassroots, D.I.Y endeavors. Unlike most big summer music celebrations, you wont find a Molson, Coors or Bud Light logo eating the names of these festivals, and there certainly wont be a spam-heavy social media vote campaign to get your favourite local rock group to open for a band that had a song on Big Shiny Tunes once upon a time.
These three festivals treat you as friends, not fans. The environments Sappy, Shifty and Shed individually create each share the aim of a community experience– not just a set of grueling and expensive conditions that one would endure solely to cross a number of band names off a bucket list.
So if you’re looking to grab a last minute adventure in your regional backyard, Sappy, Shifty and Shed is probably the best advice we could ever give you.
Let’s start running down the itinerary of the three with the most time sensitive fest first.
It’s not too late to buy a pass, hitch a ride, or board a flight for SappyFest XI: Republic of SappyFest.
Running from July 29th-31st in Sackville, NB, SappyFest has once again rallied an amazing roster this year. The line-up feels strong, familiar, and stretches even more Eastern Canadian ground. With a decade under their belt of being the heavily celebrated, yet somewhat secret vacation destination for Canadian festivals, Sappy has yet to disappoint with each new chapter. Weekend passes are $100 (taxes and fees included) and provide you with full access to an overwhelmingly stocked indie pop smorgasbord. The Sappy class of 2016 includes, but is not limited to:
Adrian Teacher and the Subs, Badminton Racquet, Bart, By Divine Right, Cakes Da Killa, Century Egg, Chocolat, Coco Barracuda, Corey Isenor, Coszmos Quartette, Cupcake Ductape, Dark for Dark, Dilly Dally, Fake Palms, G.L.A.M. Bats, GIRTH, Heat Vision, Hooded Fang, Horses, Jay Arner, Julie Doiron, Les Hôtesses d’Hilaire, Little Scream, LUKA, mauno, Nap Eyes, Nicole Ariana, Ought, Partner, Petra Glynt, Phèdre, She-Devils, Sorrey, The Dirty Nil, The Greville Tapes Music Club (Jon Mckiel, WHOOP-Szo, Nancy Pants, Little You Little Me, Eamon McGrath, Catriona Sturton & Motherhood), Wooden Stars, TUNS, Tyler Messick, Un Blonde, Union Suit, Weird Lines, Zack Bruce + MORE
Along with the endless flood of music that is set to wash over Sackville this weekend, the tented SappyFest mainstage will also light up Bridge Street with a blockade of beer gardens, vendors, and a spacious venue for the Sappy-hearted participants.
While SappyFest totes the overall tone that lands somewhere between indie rock summer camp and a friend n’ family reunion retreat, Fredericton’s Shifty Bits Circus entices attendance with a little more of a mysterious allure of thematic concepts.
Realized from a vision seen by Fredericton’s Shifty Bits Cult art collective, the Shifty Bits Circus has become a yearly gathering to embrace the creative ethos of outsider Atlantic Canadian culture. The Circus is there to invite, share, and extend the Cult’s creative vision as much as is to showcase it.
All mystique considered, don’t think for a second that Shifty Bits Circus is any less outgoing or socially appealing. Much like an actual cult, Shifty are quite eager for you to join them, and are persuasive in their invitation to do so.
Each year Shifty Bits explores a theme, and 2016 might be their biggest and most ambitious yet. Through a partnership with the Oh Hi collective of Montréal, Shifty Bits Circus: Va5rants is a dual city endeavor, as the festival will be taken on the road from Fredericton, NB, to Montréal, QC.
Shifty Bits Circus: Va5rants takes place in Fredericton August 4th-7th, and MTL from August 12th-14th. Passes are $63.00 (tax and fees included) and cover both weekends in both cities. This years circus includes music from:
Cellarghost, Bart, Hooded Fang, LAPS, Jane Blanchard, CNUS, Counting on Downstairs, Walrus, Motherhood, Little You Little Me, Ski Team, Sam Salmon & The Grand Manan Bandits, La Fete, Crosss, Smokes, Picture Jasper (members of Nancy Pants),Young Satan In Love, Dizzy & The Kittens, Tamara Sandor, Ohara, Gianna Lauren, Best Fern, Exit Someone, Loon, PHERN, WHOOP-Szo, Saxsyndrum, Year of Glad, The Waking Night, The Hypochondriacs, Janowski, Ghoul Hand Luke, Pierre Von Biscuit
+ MORE (NOTE: Not all musicians are appearing on both legs of the festival)
Shifty Bits Circus also swings a heavy favour for its visual art element, and this year’s festival features work by:
Last but certainly not least is the infant of the east: St. John’s, NL’s Shed Island.
Stylized simply in its third installment as Shed, the small fest takes its humble beginnings of operating at its lightest, and builds a big weekend that has inevitably become the brightest amongst the St. John’s summer live music schedule.
As the name Shed is a reference to a small backyard venue which housed some great moments in a pivotal stage of the music scene in St. John’s from the latter 00’s to the early 2010’s, the lineup for Shed this year appropriately leans local. Though it is only the third year of the festival, it seems evident that the Shed crew are rapidly realizing their identity as the perfect summer homestead for underground music in St. John’s. Like a larger scale of the original shed structure itself, Shed Island is a stage for the most unique acts in St. John’s to be their weird / loud selves, all while extending a hand to touring acts to come along and be a part of the truly one of a kind experience.
In addition to the hometown faces and returning expats, Shed is also dishing out some heavyhitting visitors with this year’s lineup. Shed Island takes place August 4th-7th, and the $50 passes are available on their webstore. Musical acts for the 2016 lineup include:
La Luna, Towanda , Imposter Grey, Weird Star, Protruders, Future Girls, Blunt Chunks , Syngja, MAANS, Green & Gold, Hard Ticket, India, AE Bridger, Family Video, XBF, Kuronuma, Ritual Frames, Cold Agent, Armahain, GLIB, Different Dude.