“We’ve raised $600 so far everyone, thank you and keep donating,” booms a deep voice from massive speakers set up on the green, manicured lawns of 11 St. NW, Calgary.
Tonight, the usually quiet residential street is home to an impromptu, pay-what-you-can, all-proceeds-go-to-flood-relief Sled Island show. The speakers are quiet for a moment, and Calgary’s own, three-piece instrumental Surf Kitties take the stage. The crowd immediately falls into a dreamy sway as the band’s breezy surf rock tows them under and away from reality.
With most of the power in downtown Calgary shut-off, and many displaced (more than 25 neighborhoods have been evacuated) and disappointed music fans (Sled Island was cancelled Friday, just two days after it began) this laid-back block party is proving a welcome reprieve from the flooding Alberta has experienced over the past few days.
“It’s a real drag (the festival was cancelled),” says Wayne Garrett, lead singer of Surf Kitties, “ … but we’re happy to be a part of this. (Impromptu shows) are popping up all over the city.” Tubby Dog on 17th Ave SW played host to a bunch of bands earlier in the day (Cousins, The Ketamines, Tough Age, Un Blonde, Jay Arner, Tough Age) and Hillhurst farmers market welcomed bands and music thirsty Calgarians throughout Saturday afternoon.
Alongside Surf Kitties, the block party also features the creepily mesmerizing Lowell, with their echo-ey chants. Chicago-based garage punk band, Running also made an appearance. These acts were followed by Montreal’s UN, an electro-pop duo whose music most probably sent show goers drifting home on a fluffy pink cloud.
“I think everyone is still behind the festival 100%.” Kitties Garrett says. “You can’t blame anyone for what happened. It’s really nice to see that despite what the city is going through, people are still into checking out music.”