I first went to Vivefest last year to see Saskatoon’s We Were Lovers (pre-duo) and Calgary’s Women in a wicked show that, if I remember correctly, was promptly followed by an interesting flute and drum number that was like hypnosis.
Vive is a local show promotion company that was conceived by Rich Taylor and Phil Greer a few years ago. In conjunction with local musicians, artists and film makers they have helped bring to light and cultivate the incredible artistic undercurrents of this city.
“Phil and myself were both avid show-goers,” said Taylor in regards to the origin of the company. “We met chatting at the back of venues in town and discussing how great the Saskatoon music scene was and, like most people, we thought we could be a part of it and thought we could do something. So we met over pitas one night and laid out a five year plan.”
They are now in year five of that plan. With Vivefest3 being, obviously, the third installment of the festival. This year, Vivefest3 has diversified their content even more.
“Neither of us are musicians,” said Taylor. “The first festival was more of a big party but we wanted to call it a festival because that is what we were working toward. Everything we have done has been for the intention of something else. This year we have incorporated things that are going to be small with the hope that next year they will be bigger like a film festival, art show and so on.”
The list of artists at this year’s festival is staggering: Braids, Chad VanGaalen, Rah Rah, We Were Lovers, Woodpigeon, The City Streets, Tim Hecker, Foonyap and the Roar, Zachary Lucky and the list literally goes on and on.
It’s a great showcase of distant and local Canadian talent. Talent that, Taylor says, may not have had a previous opportunity to grow to its full potential.
“The nice thing about the community in Saskatoon is that there are a lot of things going on,” said Taylor. “There are a lot of really talented, really great people. All that seems to be lacking is a forum or a stage.”
Now with a stage, Vive can focus on achieving their goal of furthering the Saskatoon scene. Part of that goal involves fostering an all-ages platform for musicians and concert-goers. It was noted in the interview that many music scenes across the country have been hurt by the eradication of regular all-ages shows. Since it moved to Caffe Sola in July, Vive has responded to the need for an all-ages venue.
The festival has a pass that gets one into all of the shows. Every single show is all ages save for one (Rah-Rah with We Were Lovers and guests at 302) and every show is fully licensed save for one. The festival has piqued the interest of people in Calgary and Regina, with the majority of the festival passes being sold in Regina.
“We’ve sold more passes to people from Regina than anywhere else. It may have something to do with Tim Hecker. He’s never played west of Winnipeg, I think. There’s this Saskatoon-Regina divide, especially in music. We’re only two hours apart. If we try to grow this to the size of Sled Island, we’re going to need Regina.”
The passes are subject to the pending capacity of each venue. Which basically means just because you have a pass doesn’t mean that you’re going to get into the show.
“Braids is going to be a clusterfuck of 100 angry people outside,” said Taylor.
This potential clusterfuck is likely a consequence of the 70-person capacity at the festival’s primary venue, Caffe Sola. The possibility that Vive is getting too big for the cafe is not a preposterous notion.
“Finding artists has never been an issue,” said Taylor. “The difficulty is always the logistics. We’re just facilitating it at this point, trying to keep up with the project.”
BRAIDS at Caffe Sola
I’ve never been terribly good at describing music to people, I don’t really have a vocabulary for it. But I once described these kids as — if I may quote myself — “If you were falling through the air, totally calm, this is what you would want to listen to.” Beautiful and angelic on the outside with darker subject matter on the inside. The band has gained incredible renown from all over the world with their brilliant full-length debut Native Speaker.
I have missed Rah-Rah on close to 10 occasions. For some reason, something always goes wrong and I miss them. The Regina band is — from what I’ve heard — super fun live. The seven-piece group all share a common goal and often take turns taking the lead. They’re playing 302 with Saskatoon friends We Were Lovers and other dance-worthy groups.
Out of Calgary, Woodpigeon is the beautifully imagined project of Mark Hamilton. It is like a nature ramble infused with pastels and the imagination you don’t exercise anymore. Lovely. They’ll be playing Christ Church Anglican to kick off the festival.
After being on tour for the past two months or so, the Saskatoon-based folk singer is playing for Vivefest. His music is wonderful and makes me homesick for reasons I can’t describe. He will be playing alongside Woodpigeon as well as some other festival acts like the Phonemes and The Mountains and the Trees. All in all it should be a beautiful show.
The Sunday Hair of the Dog Afternoon Breakfast
This just sounds like the perfect Sunday. Local heroes like Shuyler Jansen, Shakey Wilson and Foam Lake will all be participating, as well as hardcore dance infusion Foonyap and the Roar (awesome) and the Sea Hags. And there’s breakfast! Sounds like the best fucking breakfast ever. Unreal.