Friday, August 14, 2015

The Emergency Festival Preview, Plus The Downtown Association's Fate!!

Let's get our extended preview of a major returning local concert festival up on the site today, but we'll cap things off with news on the resolution in a long debate that forced said festival's move for this year, so here's what you should know on this Friday morning!

The second annual Emergency Festival goes down TOMORROW! As you may remember, this sophomore music & arts festival is brought to you by LopLops Lounge, effectively replacing their version of the Rotaryfest Second Stage before it's hiatus last year, but due to the Downtown Association's fight for survival (more on that in a bit), the festival has been relocated from Queen Street East to Rocky DiPietro Field near The John Rhodes Centre at 260 Elizabeth Street for at least this year. With the new locale, the event has been somewhat downsized, with the multiple stage format (including bands on the main stage, in LopLops, and at two outdoor sidewalk "clinic" stages) shaved down to one 8 act-stage combining local & out of town talent, but there will still be an Art In The Park installation, refreshments, on-site games, and more for all ages! Bandwise, you might be interested to know that all but two bands are new to The Emergency Festival, while still featuring many familiar faces, but who all's playing, and when?

The set times for the festival were finally announced last week, and it will see Calgary indie rock quintet The Fast Romantics headlining at 9:00 PM, with Toronto alt-country band The Sunparlour Players (who headlined Rotaryfest's Second Stage in 2009) back for The Emergency at 8:00 PM. A couple more recent notables from LopLops events will take the stage in the evening, including Alberta reggae band Tasman Jude at 7:00 PM and Thunder Bay rock quintet The Poor Young Things playing at 6:00 PM. A trio of local punk/alternative bands precede them, including local alt-grunge trio The Pixo Control, who will debut their mystery new drummer in the 5:00 PM slot, will have this very poster available for sale, and have also teased a "special announcement" of some kind. Be there to get all of the news first! Local indie/punk quintet Northwest will play live for the first time this summer at 4:00 PM, while rising post-punk quartet Gnaeus (who played with The Pixo Control at last year's "Shock Stage" of the festival) will themselves hit the stage at 3:00 PM.

The Emergency Festival's music lineup will be opened by Saskatoon country artist Zachary Lucky, and while no other acts are listed, note that early festival advertising did imply there'd be more artists to be announced. With the changes this year, the festival is sadly not universally free like last year, so admission will be $35 for adults (there were discount rates in earlier months) or $20 for students with valid student ID cards, though kids under 14 years old do get in free. Tickets can also be bought at LopLops and through their website, at Case's Music, or at DISH Espresso Bar & Cafe, all conveniently located on Queen Street. For complete Emergency Festival details, visit the official Facebook event page and the above links! Despite all of the debating about the Downtown Association and so forth (coming in one second), it's great to see Stephen and everyone at LopLops keeping things going for year 2! I've heard a lot of good optimism and buzz, so if you're a fan of indie rock and local punk & alternative bands, be at Rocky DiPietro Field TOMORROW, gates open at 12:00 PM! For a preview, here's The Pixo Control live at Rotaryfest last month!

Lastly, we finally have a resolution in the ongoing fight to save and/or abolish the Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Association, so what's the verdict? .....It has been saved! Yes, the business improvement area that was instrumental in numerous outdoor events, concerts, and parties on Queen Street East will live on, as only 67 of 153 eligible downtown businesses voted to abolish the S.D.A., 10 short of the necessary majority, but you can read more details on the specifics about the vote and fallout on local news sites (including these three SooToday articles, here, here, and here.) In a message to association members from new president Duane Moleni, he said that "the numbers are not lost on us", and they know that there are "concerns and displeasure" concerning their work, but they know that business owners have seen that they are working to change and restructure how they do things, and look forward to working towards proving the S.D.A.'s worth and benefits to the downtown sector.

It's way too early to know what this means for concert events that did or might take place on Queen Street, and if ones that were cancelled or relocated will return in 2016, but hopefully this debate will give the Downtown Association a chance to answer critics and make changes while still helping the arts sector and provide special events again! Visit local news media for full coverage of today's decision, and hopefully Queen Street's hopping again next year!

That's all for now, but stay tuned for more news and notes soon! Thanks everyone!

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