Wordplay and Imagery by Brendan Flaherty (CFCR Production Manager & host of The Buzz, Fridays 5-6pm)

This year’s Sled Island festival in Calgary felt like a transitional event. A change in the configuration of venues from years past, with no big outdoor shows at Olympic Plaza and a lot fewer acts playing multiple times (seemingly a staple of bygone editions), it became more necessary than ever to plot out a reliable schedule and stick to it. Of course, I didn’t quite do that.

But, outside of perhaps one event with a massive line snaking down the block, I found it relatively easy to slip in and out of venues at will in order to absorb as much of the multi-faceted spectacle as I could. (And I also found time to drink in a nicely paved alley or two, but that seems like more of an Ominocity thing.) Flying Lotus was this year’s curator, and his picks (including Dedekind Cut and Yves Tumor – pictured here) provided for a vibrant, experimental, and refreshingly un-guitar-centred instalment of this Cowtown throw-down.  What follows is a selection of sounds I was able to capture as still frames in my digital device. And if it, indeed, was a transitional year for this festival, I very much look forward to witnessing the next stage. 

Weyes Blood & Low @ Central United Church

Silver Apples @ Dicken's Pub

Simply Saucer @ The Palomino (Downstairs)

Pre-Nup @ The Palomino (Upstairs)

Dedekind Cut & Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith @ Studio Bell (Drop-In Zone)

Yves Tumor @ Commonwealth


(Clockwise from Top Left) Ponteix, The Garrys, Shooting Guns

(Editor's note: Here are Brendan's Facebook Live videos from Showcase!)

Peeling @ Local 510 (Parking Lot)


Brent Weinbach @ Studio Bell (Performance Hall)

The Avulsions @ Broken City (Main Floor)

Tough Age @ #1 Royal Canadian Legion (Upstairs)

Shonen Knife @ #1 Royal Canadian Legion (Main Floor)

Shhh @ Local 510

Supermoon @ Central Memorial Park

Once And Future Band @ Broken City (Main Floor)

PONY @ The Palomino (Upstairs)

Meatbodies @ Local 510 (Parking Lot)

Power Buddies @ Ship & Anchor

Mike Watt & The Missingmen @ #1 Royal Canadian Legion (Main Floor)

All words & photos (c) 2017 Brendan Flaherty