It’s here! Sled Island launched last night to feed our musical and creative appetites; this week and weekend the annual arts and music festival will host over 250 bands at 30 venues across the city. (You can see the whole lineup here.) Sled has rocked Calgary since 2007, turning a pre-summer weekend into a literal music marathon with hundreds of bands to see along with well as art, film and comedy elements and special events – in previous years extras have included panel discussions, workshops lead by Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth and a DIY bring-your-own-Gameboy chiptune instrument building workshop, and a noise maker tour of the National Music Centre. So much stuff going on means not only a lot of listening, but a lot of eating. (And yes, drinking.) This year, there’s even a Sled Island edition of the Hillhurst Sunnyside Farmer’s Market, so you can go and stock up on fresh produce to fuel you through the weekend.
With so many creative juices flowing, it’s easy to work up an appetite. So where are the best eats to be found at Sled Island?
The Palamino is as well known for its authentic barbecue; an order of Mac & Cheese made with three cheeses – white cheddar, smoked cheddar and blue – and the option to add pulled pork, brisket, chicken or double smoked bacon, will set you up to party all night. (Check out
Colleen Rennison of No Sinner.) Tubby Dog is the place to go for late-night eats, and all their shows are free and all-ages. And if you haven’t tried their tacos and tostadas, pop by on a Tuesday evening at 8ish – it transforms into the Tubby Taqueria, serving up some of the best Mexican food in town.
Try Local 510 for a plate of summery fish & chips, or hearty chicken pot pie with a cheddar biscuit or slow roasted beef short rib chili. And if it’s a burger you have a craving for, you’ll find some of the best ones (for the best price) at the Ship. (Burgers are best eaten on patios, anyway – check out Toronto’s Burning Love.) The Ironwood Stage and Grill in Inglewood serves up a fab bison burger and a mean jambalaya (check out the Washboard Union), and the Commonwealth has some totally original, totally nibbleable bar snacks – try the beer nuts (roasted peanuts with sesame, sea salt, cumin and brown sugar, marinated Turkish olives with orange and chili or house made potato chips with lime, chili and sea salt while watching/listening to Edmonton-based Calvin Love.
Watch for food trucks like the Blues Mobile, Peroghy Boys and Fiasco Gelato downtown at Olympic Plaza, and good eats will be had at the Golden Age Club, served by the Farm Girls, who just launched their own (awesome pink-gingham painted) food truck of the same name.
Sled Island has once again partnered with the East Village to host the second annual East Village Block Party. Curated by the HiFi Club, it’s a free outdoor event happening on Thursday, June 20th at RiverWalk Plaza on 5th Street & Confluence Way SE.
This year, live performances include (check out these awesome descriptors from the Sled website): remix party band Keys N Krates, New York electronic producer and Trouble & Bass founder Drop The Lime, downbeat future R&B collab act Kingdom & Kelela, local electro veterans Smalltown DJ, the polyrhythmic grooves of Sabota, live dark dancepop artist Mark Mills, not to be missed Crimson and the cross genres breaks of Ivan Rankic.
Market Collective is setting up a sidewalk market, and there will be plenty of local food trucks on site doling out their tasty treats from 4 – 10pm. And yes, although it’s a family-friendly event, there will be an outdoor beer garden for the grown-ups.
Every year Sled holds wrap party complete with pig roast at the Republik – if you can’t be there, the Libertine Public House will roast a whole pig for you – with all the trimmings, it feeds about 20 for $400 – they’ll need about 5 days’ advance notice, though.
With proper nourishment, it’s possible to rock & roll all night and party every day of Sled Island.
(Top photo courtesy of Sled Island)