By Paula E. Kirman
Edmonton's Interstellar Rodeo music festival will feature an abundance of Indigenous talent at its 2018 event. Held July 20 to July 22 in Hawrelak Park, one-third of this year's line-up is Indigenous.
Headliners include A Tribe Called Red, who mix traditional powwow sounds with electronic music.
Interlude performers Celeigh Cardinal and Jay Gilday are emerging artists who will do short sets while the main acts get set up.
Known for its eclectic line-up and wine pairings with performers, Interstellar Rodeo is organized by Six Shooter Records, an independent label based in Toronto.
“Championing of Indigenous artists is something we do on a daily basis, observed in our work with Inuk artist Tanya Tagaq, and more recently, with Aakuluk Music founders The Jerry Cans, and a new artist, Riit,” said Shauna De Cartier, Six Shooter's founder and president.
Jay Gilday has been part of Edmonton's music scene for years, playing at a variety of clubs and small venues. For him, Interstellar Rodeo marks the next step in his career.
“I've known people involved with Interstellar Rodeo who have seen me play around for years and this is acknowledging I can take the next step to get on a bigger stage,” he said
Gilday will be performing a mix of songs from his recordings, as well as some new material from a forthcoming release, copies of which may be available at the festival.
“I hope to give people an idea of where I'm going with my music.”
New this year is a pre-event called Northern Rodeo, taking place Thursday, July 19 at the Starlite Room. The Jerry Cans and Riit, recent additions to festival producer Six Shooter Records’ artist management roster, will be performing.
The Jerry Cans, recent two-time JUNO nominees, also celebrate the release of a new song called “Ilinnut” (“For You”). It was available worldwide on Friday, June 22. Riit is a throat singer from Pangnirtung, and will also be performing at the main festival.
Also new is a community partnership with iHuman, an inner city community organization that reaches at-risk youth through arts programming. Two of the interlude artists are iHuman performers, and the festival site will include the iHuman Studio, where the non-profit will showcase graffiti and beading workshops, breakdancing demos, and more.
“iHuman is an organization whose work we admire because it employs a arts-based approach to serve and support marginalized youth in our community,” said De Cartier. “It speaks directly to our own organization’s core value of the importance of art to humanity…its ability to help us interpret the world, our lives, and our hearts.”
In addition, Interstellar Rodeo has a special design collaboration this year with local artist Jason Carter, a member of the Little Red River Cree Nation. He is a celebrated sculptor, painter and illustrator whose work has been shown at the Royal Alberta Museum, Art Gallery of Alberta, and elsewhere. Carter is working on an exclusive, limited edition 2018 Interstellar Rodeo t-shirt.
“One of the great things about running a record label and a festival is the opportunity to express our core values in everything we do. Building community is at the heart of what we’re about at Six Shooter and Interstellar Rodeo,” said De Cartier.
“It’s possible to be inclusive, and at the same time, strive for artistic excellence. We believe that working towards and achieving cultural and gender parity is not just a matter of taking chances, it is simply good programming.”
For more information and tickets to the festival go to interstellarrodeo.com. Tickets for the Northern Rodeo event on July 19 will be available through Ticketfly.