If you’ve been paying attention to Regina’s alternative music scene over the past few years, there’s a good chance you might have heard rumblings about a mysterious new festival called Swamp Fest. Taking place in various venues across Regina, this unique event is one of those trademark obscure/weird/amazing “Only In Regina” events.
While I personally have never been to Swamp Fest, I’m looking forward to FINALLY taking in all of the sights and sounds that this slough-based festival has to offer. Let’s check it out:
BANDS AS UNIQUE AND ECLECTIC AS THE VENUES THEY ARE PERFORMING IN
One of the coolest things about Swamp Fest is the collection of alternative venues that the performances are taking place in.
The festival kicks off on Friday at The German Club (1727 St John St), which is one of my favourite venues in the world. It’s also a GREAT watering hole to grab a proper German beer. Local favourites like Herb and The Humans, Ygretz, and Pop Pop Vernac (can’t get enough of their rad song “Plans”) will all be performing, in addition to a very buzzed about WHOOP-Szo, who I’ve heard are not to be missed.
The Saskatchewan Sound Stage (1831 College Avenue) has hosted interesting events such as Saskatchewan Fashion Week in the past, and it will host the Saturday evening after-party. Local buzz band Black Thunder will be shredding festival-goers’ faces into oblivion, and there will be a DJ set by DJ Tight Flos + SSRB to keep the sound stage BUMPIN’ until late at night.
The remainder of the festivities is slated to take place on Willow Island (see the festival map on swampfest.ca) in beautiful Wascana Lake. What other festival do you get to take a ferry ride to get to a mysterious island filled with many secrets? Following a rousing 45-second boat ride over to Willow Island, attendees will be treated to SO MANY GOOD BANDS/ARTISTS on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, you can catch some of my personal local favourites like Snake River and Marissa Burwell alongside Saskatoon’s Shirley & The Pyramids. On Sunday, The Megan Nash Band, fresh off their Canadian tour with Germany’s Scotch and Water (also playing!) will be headlining, and you won’t want to miss Dialtone, a new Regina buzz band featuring members of Natural Sympathies and The Steves.
If you have no idea who these bands or what these venues are, no worries. That’s the beauty of Swamp Fest – these bands are your critters to discover, and these venues are your own personal swamp to wade around in.
IMMERSIVE MULTIDISCIPLINARY ARTS EXPERIENCES
One of the most exciting art galleries in Regina, Neutral Ground Artist Run Centre, will be presenting multidisciplinary arts programming across Swamp Fest!
Have fun exploring the “Ghost House” studio at The German Club, catch a comedic performance from Mooky, one of the co-creators of Cirque Du Soleil’s slapstick show “Varekai”, or plug some coins into a vintage vending machine and buy unique stickers created by Saskatoon’s Scummy Magic! There are SO MANY MORE installations and experiences, so you’ll want to make sure to go exploring and experience them all.
Also, just a hot tip, you won’t want to miss “The Swamp Swarm”, a special swamp themed FadaDance performance that will be back for another year. I saw amazing video footage from their interactive performance at last year’s festival, and it looked AMAZING!
TASTY FOOD, VENDORS, AND “POTIONS”
Swamp Fest will have an eclectic collection of vendors on Willow Island! There will be tasty food served up from Recharge Cafe (vegan) and Swamp Dawg, and there will be art and other curiosities for sale by The Junction.
Also, there will be a beer garden, and anytime a festival refers to their cocktail bar as a “Potion Store”, you know it’s gonna be worth checking out.
Bring cash, eat well, enjoy a “potion”, and love life!
T.A.B – TOXIC ALGAE BLOB SIGHTINGS
The last thing that readers should note would be to keep an eye open for Swamp Fest’s beloved mascot, T.A.B, (AKA TOXIC ALGAE BLOB). How many festivals do you know that have their own mascot? Not many, right? How many mascots do you know that are literally just a blob of algae? Probably zero, which is what makes T.A.B AMAZING. Kids and adults of all ages seem to all love T.A.B, so make sure to use the hashtag #TABSighting if you have an encounter.
Weekend passes for Swamp Fest will run you $65 (available until September 5) over on swampfest.ca, or you can purchase single show passes for individual shows.
Grab your tickets, embrace the obscurity, and we’ll see you all at Swamp Fest. I hope you all have a great time, and we’ll see you back in Regina for next year’s festival!