Sappyfest Turns 9

Basia Bulat performs at Sappyfest this weekend. Photo by Saty+Pratha
Basia Bulat performs at Sappyfest this weekend. Photo by Saty+Pratha

The ninth edition of Sappyfest, a festival celebrating music, film, art and culture from all corners of the world, is set to take over Sackville this coming holiday weekend, much like it has done in the eight years prior.

Throughout the course of its history, Sappyfest has never been about booking the biggest names in music. Organizers have instead built their reputation on booking some of the most acclaimed acts across a multitude of genres including indie rock, R&B and more.

Artists including Sloan, Charles Bradley, Arcade Fire and The Sadies are just a sample of the acts that can call themselves Sappyfest alumni.

For all of its prior success, Sappyfest 9 marks a changing of the guard of sorts. After successfully navigating occasionally choppy music festival waters for eight years, Sappyfest has a new creative director to usher in its ninth year, Lucas Hicks.

A native of Sackville, Hicks may be new to the front lines of Sappyfest but has been actively involved in various capacities with the festival from the time he was 14 years old.

“I remember that as a part of a cultural day event at my school when I was in Grade 8, Shotgun Jimmie showed up and played a few songs,” Hicks says. “I was just completely taken back by it, realizing there were people in my community that were making music. It really felt as though this is where I fit in so I approached the former directors of the festival, Paul Henderson and Jon Claytor, about getting involved. They created a youth volunteer position so that I could be a part of the festival.”

Hicks says that although he is new to the role of creative director, his predecessors anticipated vacating their roles and thus began grooming him for the position and responsibilities a couple of years ago. He credits the close work with Henderson and Claytor as helping him hit the ground running.

“Sappyfest definitely has a certain look and a certain feel to it. What people love about Sappyfest are the same things I love about the festival. The last thing I would have wanted to do was to come in and change a lot about the festival and the way it is run and what people can expect from the festival.”

In fact, one of the only differences that festival attendees may notice at this year’s Sappyfest is a streamlined roster of acts. In previous editions Sappyfest sometimes hosted upwards of 50 to 60 artists. That number has been scaled back for 2014 to something that

Hicks as well as the board of directors felt comfortable taking on.

“Sappyfest has loved playing host to all of the acts that we have featured in the past. With this year’s festival, we wanted to concentrate on featuring 35 acts that we truly care about and help them as well as our audience have the best time possible.”

The roster may be smaller but it doesn’t mean that it lacks punch: Among the headliners are reunited indie-rock band the Constantines, Kingston, Ontario’s PS I Love You and two-time Polaris Music Prize nominee Basia Bulat.

Also performing this year is Moncton native Julie Doiron who recently had her song “Life of Dreams” used in a television ad campaign for Apple.

Landing a band like the Constantines is an especially proud accomplishment for Hicks and Sappyfest. Their performance is the only Atlantic Canadian date currently scheduled for the band and is one of only nine shows that the group will perform across Canada before the end of the year.

And while the festival attendees play an immeasurable role in the ongoing success of Sappyfest, so does the Town of Sackville. Hicks has nothing but the highest of praise both for the town’s council as well as local businesses, many of whom make donations to help show their appreciation for the influx of people who attend the festival.

“I love other Maritime cities but frankly, I can’t imagine having this festival anywhere but Sackville,” Hicks says. “What other community is so ready and willing to shut down their Main Street on a long weekend to accommodate a music festival? The town plays a major role in the festival’s charm.”

What: Sappyfest 9
When: Friday, Aug. 1 through Sunday, Aug. 3
Where: Venues throughout Sackville
Tickets: 3-day festival pass $89.25; Friday pass – $40; Saturday pass – $50; Sunday pass – $50. Available online at ticketpro.ca

SAPPYFEST SCHEDULE

FRIDAY AUG. 1

Mainstage Tent 
(Main St., Sackville), 7 p.m., Ages 19+

PS I Love You
Dusted
Freelove Fenner
The Grubbies
Kids Corner Power Jam

Royal Canadian Legion 
(15 Lorne St., Sackville), Midnight, 19+

Moon
Motherhood

SATURDAY AUG. 2

Thunder & Lightning Ltd. 
(23 Bridge St., Sackville), 12:30 p.m., 19+

Shotgun Jimmie
Eons

Mainstage Tent 
(Main St., Sackville), 2:30 p.m. , 19+

Duzheknew
Joyfultalk
El Ron Maltan

Vogue Theatre 
(9 Bridge St., Sackville), 4 p.m., All ages

Bry Webb
The Weather Station
Nick Ferrio

Mainstage Tent 
(Main St., Sackville), 8 p.m., 19+

Cousins
Julie Doiron
Ought
Cool

Struts Gallery 
7 Lorne St., Sackville, Midnight , All ages

Karaoke / Dance Party

Royal Canadian Legion 
15 Lorne St., Sackville, 12:15 a.m., 19+

Greasebeast
Weird Lines

SUNDAY AUG. 3

Community Garden
Charles St., Sackville, Noon, All ages

Universal Dawn featuring Rose Melberg

Mainstage Tent 
Main St., Sackville, 1:30 p.m., 19+

The Olympic Symphonium
Rae Spoon
Banded Stilts

Vogue Theatre
9 Bridge St., Sackville, 4 p.m., All ages

Basia Bulat
Baby Eagle
Spencer Burton

Mainstage Tent 
Main Street, Sackville, 8 p.m., 19+

The Constantines
Shotgun & Jaybird
Michael Feuerstack
Wet Denim

Royal Canadian Legion
15 Lorne St., Sackville, 12:15 a.m., 19+

Young Hearts
XXX CLVR