Putting together a music festival is no easy feat but for organizers Glen May and Derek Ashley, but the end product – a four-day multi-venue festival featuring both come-from-away and local bands – is well worth the effort.
The city of St. John’s is already home to a number of festivals – Lawyna Vawyna, George Street Festival, the NL Folk Festival, The Gathering, Writers at Woody Point, TriXXXie Fest, and more – but as May says, there is definitely a place in the music scene for a festival like Shed Island.
“It’s a music focused festival,” May says. “It’s all music – generally music with a harder edge, but not always. I think we were kind of pegged as a punk or alternative festival, but I don’t think that really describes a lot of the bands we’ve brought in the past, or the bands we’re bringing this year,” he said with a laugh.
In short, the festival is open-invite to anyone with ears who wants to hear something new in an old favourite location. May has been on board with Shed Island since year one in 2014, with Ashley joining in on the organizational efforts the this year.
With help from now-relocated organizer pals Chris Scott and Micah Brown, Shed Island has enticed acts like The Mouthbreathers (New Brunswick indie rock), Crosss (Toronto psychedelic grunge), and Country (Montreal thrash pop) to make the trip to St. John’s. A plethora of Halifax based bands like Old and Weird (post punk), Surveillance (pop-punk), Kestrels (fuzz pop), Best Fiends (rock), Crossed Wires (power punk pop) and more, have all hopped across the water to rock out to Newfoundland audiences.
“We bring people here and we give them the best possible experience we can, so when they go home, they feel like they made a great connection to this place, that they have this [connection] with Newfoundland that maybe other people don’t have,” May said, “and they want to share that with other people.”
Providing that experience has paid off – this year’s line up was selected through an online application process that was filled out by nearly 100 interested performers – as well as texts, emails, and Facebook messages from local bands and friends wanting to get on the bill.
Shed Island 2016 is stacked with big names from the Canadian indie music world, such as La Luna (angular punk), Esther Grey as Imposter Grey (groovy garage rock), Protruders (garage punk) and Blunt Chunks (dark, dreamy folk), all from Ontario, as well as Towanda (fuzz punk) and Weird Star (party punk), both from Montreal, plus Halifax’s Future Girls (pop punk).
The numerous shows – at bars, houses and other surprise places – are rounded out with local bands like Hard Ticket and XBF, a Maans reunion show, and more TBA. Shed Island also supports local by teaming up with local sponsors, such as Fixed Coffee and Baking, Fogtown Barber and Shop, Pink Eye Print Company, and more.
“It’s not about making money – it’s about making friends,” May said of Shed Island as a whole – exactly what you would expect as an outcome in any kind of shed, anywhere on this island.
From August 4-7 this year, take a page from May and Ashley and support local by heading out to the many Shed Island events. For upcoming fundraising events, the upcoming event schedule, and the lowdown on the local and touring acts, visit www.facebook.com/shedislandfest
Presale tickets are on until Monday — $40 instead of $50.