Your Guide to Attending Sled Island

Sled Island Block Party in Calgary
Sled Island Block Party in Calgary
Everything you need to know

Your Guide to Attending Sled Island

Tips to make the most of your experience at this unique music festival in Calgary.
By
Jeff Hessel
Jeff is a passionate music fan who has enjoyed Sled Island since the festival began in 2007. He’s also the VP of Marketing at Tourism Calgary.

I’ve been to Sled Island since the start and it has always been an experience unlike any other music festival. As a music fan I never get tired of all the unique venues, the variety of artists from different genres, or talking music. If you’re a passionate music fan like me, here’s some of my personal tips to make the most of your time at Sled Island in Calgary.

Taking in Sled Island in downtown Calgary

Taking in Sled Island in downtown Calgary

Sled Island is a One-of-a-Kind Music Festival

Sled Island is a really unique music and arts festival in Calgary. It brings together over 250 artists from around the world, in awesome venues, for some truly special music festival experiences.

What makes Sled Island interesting is that it’s an opportunity to see a huge lineup of bands that don’t usually make a tour stop in Calgary. If you’re interested in the indie rock and experimental bands that come to Sled Island, this might be your only chance to see them.

You can get up close and personal with the artists at Sled Island

You can get up close and personal with the artists at Sled Island

A Music Festival for Music Fans

Music explorers and indie rock fans love Sled Island. If you enjoy live music like I do, this is a festival you don’t want to miss. The venues at Sled Island are unique because many are quite small and create an intimate concert atmosphere. You can be very close to the artists performing, which is something you don’t get at other large festivals. What’s truly special is that you may see a band on stage one night and be sitting next to them at a concert at the next venue. The artists love Sled Island as much as the fans and often enjoy the other days of the festival.

This is a festival to discover new music

This is a festival to discover new music

Need to Know for First Time Sled Islanders

If you really want to get the most out of Sled Island, first time attendees should definitely plan their festival strategy before going. Planning where you want to go and what artists you want to see is a great idea. There are lots of distinct Sled Island venues, so try and see as many artists at as many different venues as you can. A show at Tubby Dog is much different than a show at The Palomino.

Sled Island’s website has the full concert schedule so you can pick and choose which performances you want to see first. Check out which bands are playing and which venues are close to each other so you won’t miss a song.

Visit Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre, before Sled Island starts up for the day

Visit Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre, before Sled Island starts up for the day

Explore the City Before the Concert

Most Sled Island concerts don’t start until the afternoon so why not explore the city before the show? Check out Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre, Glenbow, or the Calgary Tower in the morning before the festival starts for the day.

Exploring neighbourhoods like Inglewood, Kensington, and the Beltline, is a great way to fill your time before the show. The thing about Sled Island is if you have the wristbands, you get discounts from over 60 restaurants in Calgary, which is a great chance to check out some local businesses during the festival.

Many of the venues also serve food, so you don’t have to search for a restaurant before or after the concert. Get a signature hot dog at Tubby Dog or try some delicious barbecue at The Palomino between sets. Most venues are close together, within 10 to 12 blocks in the downtown core, so you can walk or bike from venue to venue really easily.

It’s a great idea to get a hotel downtown so you only have a short walk home after the last show of the night. Hotels on the Calgary Transit C-Train line work great too so you have a quick way to get back to your room at the end of the night.

Get around Sled Island with the Discovery Pass Wristband

Get around Sled Island with the Discovery Pass Wristband

Get the Wristband

You can buy tickets online to individual Sled Island shows but I think the only way to go is the Discovery Pass wristband. The wristband gets you access to all the venues and events for all five days so you won’t miss a show.

Dance to the music and meet some new friends at Sled Island

Dance to the music and meet some new friends at Sled Island

Meet the Locals

Calgarians are friendly people who are always willing to share a local tip, who their favourite bands are, and what their next festival stop is. Nothing is going to stop Sled Island fans from seeing all the bands they want to see, so you could find concert goers attending the show alone. This is a great chance to meet new friends and get some local recommendations. Music fans at Sled Island are friendly and welcoming and are just looking to have a good time and enjoy the music.

Sled Island Music and Arts Festival is a five-day event that takes place in June 20-24, 2018. To purchase tickets, please check out the Sled Island website for more information.