During the weekend of Calgary’s Sled Island there was a flood. It was such a flood that 100,000 people were displaced in Calgary and the surrounding area. The displaced people included musicians that were scheduled to play at the festival.
Musicians had journeyed from as far as Minneapolis to play to fans of independent rock. In the wake of such a catastrophic flood, it is understandable that the folks at Sled Island were unable to compensate all of the musicians. I mean, there were houses floating in the streets.
So, where were small bands supposed to go? The bands that most people haven’t heard of, the bands that can’t afford to make it home?
This is where the people at Barber Ha, and The Wunderbar tumble in.
Linda Ha, the owner of Barber Ha (a barber shop, where people really like to party) had taken her staff to Sled Island as a retreat. Because of the flooding they had to return to Edmonton. With a barber shop closed for the weekend, what were they to do?
Linda thought to herself, “why not have a party where some Sled Island bands can play?”
After many texts, Facebook messages, and Tweets with musicians and the guys at Wunderbar, Shred Island was on its way.
The result: three days, five venues, and thirty bands. THIRTY BANDS.
Mack Lamoureux decided to document it all. The first night at Barber Ha we watched as bands sang to a nodding crowd. Eight bands played that night. The room’s atmosphere was reminiscent of a strange sort of family reunion. Everyone seemed to know each other, and there were smiling faces all around. As documentarians, Mack and I blended into the background. Unlike the others, we didn’t really know anyone.
The last night of Shred Island had a different tune. First of all, I knew some of the people. That is not to say that they knew who I was. Its kind of a sad thing to admit. Anyways, that night we did more watching than filming. The scene was more relaxed, not so frenzied. There were also far less people than on the first night. Some friends of ours came out as well. We did some very silly dancing.
In a post interview Linda Ha stated that what sparked Shred Island was the need to party. If that’s what is needed to support small bands, and to salvage a music festival, then so be it.
For those of you who would like to experience Shred Island, Mack Lamoureux and Dylan Thompson (the fellows at River Road Productions) are working on a documentary that will hopefully reveal what the festival was like.
Below is a teaser trailer. There will be more to come.