Sorry, that headline is sooo clickbaity, but it kind of goes to the point I’m about to make. For the last few years, Earbender has been attending both Sled Island and the Calgary Folk Music Festival as official media peeps. But not this year. There are a number of reasons for this:
We just want to have fun this summer. Part of what makes summertime great in Calgary are these awesome festivals, at least from our point of view. Feel free to disagree, even thought you’d be wrong! We love hanging out at Folk Fest; we love a Legion Night during Sled. Personally, I love sneaking out to MetalFest. We love taking pictures and telling other people about the awesome local stuff we’ve seen. But you know what we don’t always love? Staying up until two in the morning, writing copy and reviewing photos. Checking Twitter every five minutes, even when there’s an awesome act on stage that deserves our full attention. Missing on something amazing because they’re not from Calgary. All of our writers work full-time jobs, and this is our hobby, and part of our summer vacations.
We can’t cover everything, and then we feel guilty. On top of Sled and the Folk Fest, there’s the aforementioned MetalFest, X-Fest, ReggaeFest, and so much more! Now granted, some of these genres don’t fall within our natural listening areas, so we don’t give them as much coverage. We simply don’t love them enough to do them justice, and thankfully, there are loads of other reviewers out there who can. But even with Sled and Folk, there is too much to see. We go through severe bouts of FOMO – do we go see the new punk group playing their first show, or the Calgary-famous pop group that’s been around forever and has an established fan base? Do we go to a venue with one local group that we love, or a place with four Calgary bands that we haven’t seen before? If we had more writers, sure, we could try to cover it all. But we’re small, and we don’t pay our writers. And we worry that, while we’re providing some good coverage, we’re not doing enough to earn our keep.
We want to support the festivals we love. We seriously love going to see live music. But someone has to pay for it. Sure, as media, we can encourage others to buy their tickets, but you know what has a more direct and measurable impact? If we buy our own tickets! We are now directly supporting the festivals that we enjoy, and that feels good. Of course, we also feel that this freedom gives us the ability to be a little more free with our coverage. Not to say we would slag a show – that’s not our style; but if we don’t love it, we’re free to talk about something else instead.
So, TL;DR? We’ll be at Folk Fest all four days, and some of the Sled shows, but not as official media. We’ll be there as ticket-buying music fans. And if we see something awesome, we’ll tell you about it.
But seriously, go buy your passes! Folk Fest Early Bird pricing ends on the 31st, and you’ll save a few bucks at Sled if you don’t wait until you’re at the doors.