Summer Festival Guide: XXX CLVR aims to bring people together at SappyFest

Every summer, the town of Sackville, N.B. acts as a music magnet with SappyFest drawing in musicians and music lovers for the first weekend of August. The festival’s lineup tends to predominantly feature bands that fall somewhere in the indie-rock, folk and pop categories.It may look a little strange to see rapper XXX CLVR (Kid Clever) on this year’s bill, but he’s no stranger to small curated music festivals.

“I think ‘what the fuck are people thinking’ when they say yes. Y’all fucking wild. Y’all just like to take risks or some shit. I don’t know man, I hope people are happy if I do a whole Constantines cover set because that’s what I’d love to do,” says Alex “Bueller” William who performs under the name XXX CLVR and is part of the Weirdo Click hip hop collective.

While the schedule says XXX CLVR, Weirdo Click’s Aux Jennings and their own DJ, Woadie, will also be in tow. In the past, Weirdo Click shows have seen a lot of back and forth rapping between Jennings and William, but this year’s SappyFest show will feature core sets from both two rappers instead of the usual one-two punch.

William is a mysterious character. I never know exactly what to call him. XXX CLVR stands for Kid Clever. On the phone he goes by Alex. On Facebook he has a name that’s not actually a name. His email address features a name completely different from any other given names. He’ll show up with a new mixtape every once in a while, including a mix he put together for Pigeon Row in March.

William is from Florida, grew up in Halifax and has been living and hanging out in Toronto for the past six months. Meanwhile, Aux Jennings is working on his production, mixing and engineering skills in Halifax. The two musicians check in on Skype once a month to see what’s up, but haven’t been working together while in different cities.

“For us, it’s about being in person. We know that even if we’re together for two weeks, like the two weeks I’m coming up for Sappy, we’re just going to get hella work done,” says Alex.

XXX CLVR likes playing low key events such as SappyFest. He played the festival last year with Weirdo Click and played at OBEY Convention in Halifax this past June, opening for New York rapper and producer Le1f. The biggest draw for him is the community and the way it brings different people together. He uses the term container as an analogy for communities.

“All these festivals have really distinct containers with different kinds of people who are into different sort of things. People who are into rap and are rolling up joints are sitting at tables next to people who are puppy enthusiasts,” says William. “I’m all about cultivating the kind of experience where people who wouldn’t be together are together. I think that tight.”

SappyFest is special in the way performers are around the audience members. There’s no fancy backstage area where musicians can hide. Everybody is experiencing the festival together.

“When I’m not playing, it’s really less about going to do something and more of a bunch of people collectively being in the moment at the same time. And not so, so, so many phones out. Just a lot of people really enjoying the fact they’re at SappyFest at that given moment.”

XXX CLVR plays the Royal Canadian Legion on Sunday just after midnight along with Young Hearts. 

Photo of Weirdo Click: Supplied

Edit: We originally said the festival takes place on the Labour Day Weekend. We meant to say Natal Day weekend, but that’s a Nova Scotia thing, and Sappy takes place in New Brunswick. Mixtape regrets the error.

About Jonathan Briggins 71 Articles
Editor-in-chief of Mixtape magazine.

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