Weaves, Lido Pimienta, Jon McKiel, Bernice, Zones, Sweet Dave & The Shallow Graves and Richard Laviolette @ SappyFest 8/5/2017

My Saturday at SappyFest started with a friendly game of softball on Chester Cole Memorial Ball Field, where early-rising Sappy attendees and organizers each got a shot at batting (until they hit) and playing the field. Saturday also had a lot of other activities like a Zine & Craft Fair, book readings with Eamon McGrath and an artist talk with Lido Pimienta.

The first musical act I caught on the main stage was singer-songwriter Richard Laviolette, who told us stories and jokes and sang us inspiring folk tunes. The volume turned up a notch for Sweet Dave & The Shallow Graves. The band was decked out in full suits (in 25 degree weather) as they gave us an energy-filled set of garage and punk rock. They were one of the cool discoveries of the week. Afterward, Zones’ chillwave cooled the audience down before a short break on the stage.

I made it back to the mainstage for dreamy sounds from Bernice before east-coast favourite Jon Mckiel got us grooving to his rock tunes. The night’s highlight was the (first not French or English) Polaris short-listed Lido Pimienta. Before she began her set she did a “girls to the front” call which asked that females, LGBTQ, kids, people of colour be allowed on the front of stage. Even though most of the audience didn’t know what she sang about, they felt the emotion and power in Pimienta’s voice. The set ended with people of colour dancing with her on stage. Headlining the mainstage was Weaves. Jasmyn Burke commanded the audience with her voice and presence, at one point getting the entire audience to crouch down before erupting back into more dancing to finish the night.

My night ended with midnight karaoke, where attendee  showed off their chops performing Canadian classics and pop hits.