For its third official year, one of Edmonton’s newest music festivals- Up + Downtown- is pulling out all of the stops. Co-created in 2012 by Executive Director Jason Flammia, the festival’s main objective is to offer a fun musical adventure outside of the summer months. Always a three day celebration during the Thanksgiving long weekend, expect solid performances from Basia Bulat, The Sadies, Expire, Meisha and the Spanks, L.A. Foster, Mercy Funk, Big Wild and so much more! Each year the diverse line up attracts a crowd of the same uniqueness while showcasing some of our city’s best music venues and even creates pop up venues in unexpected spaces.
The Needle Vinyl Tavern is so excited to be taking part in this festival for our first time this Thanksgiving weekend with four truly amazing shows.
Each day of the festival is equally eclectic, beginning with an Indie music lover’s dream on Friday night. Local favourites Faith Healer and Mitchmatic will open up the night with ethereal soundscapes and funky hip hop. Moving across the prairies, Winnipeg’s Royal Canoe hit the stage next with an exceptional live show and quirky indie pop. Close Talker are a talented bunch: romantic, tight knit instrumentals straight outta the Paris of the prairies, Saskatoon. Finally, from the booming metropolis of Akron, Ohio, If These Trees Could Talk. Expect lush instrumentals fit for even the most skeptical of musical perfectionists.
Saturday is going to be nuts in here! We’ve been working hard to cater to music lovers of all ages and it just so happens our afternoon show will do just that! Local heroes, The Den, along with Born Ruffians and (holy cow!) Tokyo Police Club will be open to all ages to enjoy. With the help of our friends at Sonic 102.9, we’ll be hosting what will be one of the funnest indie sing alongs, probably ever.
Saturday evening we’re going full on girl power with a line up Not Enough Fest would be proud of! Well, hopefully. They are helping us put on this fire show! Without a doubt some of the most badass people are playing this show including the obviously amazing Wares. Cassia Hardy had a 7” release in March at the Needle and blew us all away with her raw, engaging talent. If you haven’t seen her shred, the time is definitely now. Labour are radical, funny people who only continue to blow us away with their performance. Every. Time. Banshee are a deliciously gritty, powerful trio. Hold on to your hats when you hear Jackie’s vocals! She rips! Long time sweethearts of the Edmonton music circuit, Switches, have perfected the saucy, bratty sound punk is known for. Past performances may have included shotgunning contests, so come prepared. Rounding out the night, White Lung are ready to rip your earholes a new one! About a decade old, Vancouver’s punk/noise darlings recently released a new record, Paradise, which a wild, 10 song sonic exploration. Mish Way-Barber’s vocals are something to behold; think Heart meets Sonic Youth!
The final night of the fest will go out with a folk-rock bang! If you haven’t heard of Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, you may have been living under a rock? Fitzgerald has been breaking hearts with his soulful sound for years. Most recently, he donated his unused wedding bands to a lucky couple after sifting through hundreds of love stories and finally choosing the ultimate winner. He has a huge heart with a stage presence to match. Opening the show are local heart breakers and movers and shakers: Altameda (bluesy country music with a rock edge), The McGowan Family Band (easy, sweet folk music), Jody Shenkarek (easily one of the biggest sweethearts in the city with a kickass voice) and regular heartthrob at the Needle Vinyl Tavern, Mohsin Zaman (soulful, romantic music that usually makes us cry).
To attend these shows and more, please consider picking up a wristband to Up + Dt festival at Blackbyrd Myoozik or online at updt.ca. Single ticket shows are up for grabs as well with more info on the same website.
The festival is also accepting volunteers! If you want to be part of this fun event, please check out the website and chat with the Volunteer Director, Diana Bier!
See you this weekend, friends!