Lawnya Vawnya 2015

Article by Chad Pelley

Lawnya Vawnya was voted “Best Local Music Festival” in our Best of St. John’s Issue this August, and this month they’re celebrating their fifth birthday in a big way with 5 days of intimate acoustic shows, loud latenight shows, outdoor music crawls, panel chats, readings, record fairs, pop-up shows, and bar shows headlined by acclaimed North American musicians. Wrapping an LV wristband around your wrist this April is a statement: Yes, this city needs a festival like this, because what better way to ring in our soggy St. John’s springs?


Headliner Lowell is described by the festival as “a fierce pop wolf who crafts catchy, confronting anthems.” By embracing new technology to bend and break how we’re used to thinking about pop music she has imbued modern electro-pop with a rare spunk and depth. And the fact that she’s showcased at leading Canadian festivals, and toured much of Europe, means she’s coming here with her must-see live performance roadtested and ready for you. She’s playing with the local band we gave our “Overnight Sensation” trophy to this year: Boathaus, as well as another local band with many similarities to Lowell, Gem.

“I Love You Money” by Lowell

Another headliner, Strumbellas, embody what’s happening right now in their own genre as well. Their genre being gang-singing, foot-stomping, wildly folk rocking greatness. These are singalong rock songs with more hooks than a bayman’s tacklebox. They’re playing with local alt-country rocker couple, The Domestics, and a band consisting of 4 saxophonists, Ouroboros.

“Did I Die?” by Strumbellas


Switching genres/hats to cowboy country, Doug Paisley will be playing at the Rocket Room on Saturday the 25th. Doug Paisley is AM Country gold. His music is a strong offering of the telecaster twang and singalong songs the genre is known for. Every year, there’s one intimate, sitdown Rocket Room performance at Lawnya Vawnya that people talk about for days, and this is going to be the one, because he’s also playing with Halifax’s Dark for Dark (three women whose haunting harmonies are backed only barely by acoustic guitar and aching electric guitar work), and a very innovative German-based musician Susie Asado.

“Song My Love can Sing” by Doug Paisley


That leaves Suuns. Thursday night’s headliner at The Ship. There’s no describing their sound, nor a similar act to compare them to, and what more can a band strive for? Go YouTube “20/20,” it’s definitely something you’ve never seen at The Ship before. There is a hypnotic intensity to the lull the sound leaves you in, making each song’s upswings crash like waves against you. They’re playing with Nova Scotia psycho-pop sensation, Walrus, and a great local 90s-conjuring alt-rock band, Mooch, will warm the stage.

“20/20” by Suuns



A good music festival does more than put you in front of a good band; while it’s great to catch some of your favourite songs live, a proper festival is just as much about discovery as it is seeing what you already know you love. Lawnya Vawnya is known for embracing this with a calculated lineup across many genres, that balances big draws and undersung sensations. If there’s a majority genre on display in this year’s lineup, it’s pyscho-pop, which is fitting given this has been the year of the genre. Be sure to catch Walrus and Mauno for a good Atlantic Canadian reflection of that genre. If you’re into what could be called “Post Gang of Four punkish rock” don’t miss Teenager or The Lonely Parade. If boys and girls being dreamy with their acoustic guitars is your thing, Donovan Woods, Gianna Lauren, Owen Steel, and Dark for Dark are the shows for you. If you like your singer-songwriters more electric and lively, Jon McKiel, Suds, and Spitula Clark are not to be missed, and if you’re a fan of a musical performance and purveyors of original, striking music – be there for Weaves and Susie Asado.