Yes, Breakout West is taking place at the same time as Rifflandia. A pass to the Riff gets you into the BOW 15 events too, so its two festivals in one! And there are a lot of good acts to catch. Here’s a sampling…..

SC MIRA (Winnipeg)

sc mira

Sc Mira are like an indie folk band on steroids, with everything pumped up with drama and the occasional heaviness. At the centre of it all is Sadye Cage, with her inventive lyrics and unique vocal delivery, which has been described as “…quivering, delicate, simultaneously sweet and sinister.” Furthermore, the band promises that they pump more energy and electricity into the live renditions of their material, so check it out.

Sunset Room, Thursday, Sep 17, 10:30 PM
Studio CMCT, Friday, Sep 18, 9:30 PM

FISH & BIRD (Victoria)

fish and bird

They are alt folk/indie, yes, but they have an experimental streak that lends freshness and innovation to their sound. Undeniably West Coast, but with a universal appeal. Arguably the quintessential Victoria band.

Northern Quarter, Friday, Sep 18, 8:30 PM
Wood Hall, Thursday, Sep 17, 11:30 PM

YES WE MYSTIC (Winnipeg)

yes we mystic

This year’s EP ‘Vestige’ demonstrated a growing complexity in the band’s songwriting and arrangements. “The Contest of Strength” is, in fact, one of our favourite songs this year. Their full-length debut is still a year away, but expect them to play tracks off it for you this weekend.

The Mint, Thursday, Sep 17, 8:30 PM
Copper Owl, Friday, Sep 18, 9:30 PM


samantha ss

Smith has always been appealing with her heartfelt songs and engaging voice. However, her writing and musical composition took a leap forward on this year’s ‘Fine Lines’, an album on which she was joined by fellow Calgarians from Viet Cong, Lab Coast and Chad Vangaalen’s band. Not one to sit still, Smith has also collaborated on other projects, such as the terrific ‘EMBASSYLIGHTS’ with a handful of Canadian and Icelandic musicians.

Metro Theater, Friday, Sep 18, 8:30 PM

GAY NINETIES (Vancouver)


Speaking of the nineties, the band has been know to evoke the 1990s (not the 1890s) on songs such as “Letterman”. However, more than anything their latest album ‘Liberal Guilt’ harks back to the 1970s. It’s Midwestern Rock, and it’s well-suited to arena venues so be prepared for some fist-pumpin’.

Victoria Event Centre, Thursday, Sep 17, 10:30 PM
Copper Owl, Saturday, Sep 19, 10:30 PM


The wet secrets

With their marching band outfits and the girls’ mile-high platform heeled go-go boots, the Wet Secrets certainly have a unique look. Their sound is unique too, given that it’s “the kind of music you could expect to hear if The Stranglers piggybacked Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass through the Rose Parade.” Be prepared to be entertained.

Anian, Saturday, Sep 19, 10:30 PM
Wood Hall, Friday, Sep 18, 11:30 PM

SARAH MacDOUGALL (Whitehorse)

sarah macd

Being well-travelled (Sweden to Vancouver to the Yukon) MacDougall has a wealth of experiences to draw upon in creating her music, and so it is that she can craft such compelling songs about identity, love, fear, hope, growing up, rootlessness, and forgiveness. Her music is also richly textured, incorporating heavy drums, strings and synths into the singer-songwriter fabric.

Northern Quarter, Saturday, Sep 19, 10:30 PM
Wood Hall, Thursday, Sep 17, 12:30 AM