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.
Your Guide to Attending Sled Island
Your Guide to Attending Sled Island
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 200 artists from around the world, in 30 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.
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.
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.
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 80 restaurants and shops 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.
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.