One of Calgary’s most welcome and wonderful newish musical festivals, Wide Cut Weekend, just got wider.
Or shall we just say that it has expanded its borders — on a couple of fronts.
The Calgary music festival announced Wednesday night at the Blues Can the lineup for their fourth event, which this year runs Oct. 12 and 13 at five local venues, and it’s another impressive collection of artists who fall under an even bigger umbrella of roots music and from even farther afield.
“I’m pretty happy with it, I’ve gotta say,” says broadcaster, artistic director and one of the fest’s founders Allison Brock about the lineup. “It’s interesting because you start with a list of potentially 100 artists every time and you just start whittling away, whittling away, whittling away as to what’s going to fit, what’s not going to fit and one impacts the other. It’s tough. And then you finally have to say, ‘That’s it, we’re out of money!’ ”
As always, it’s a budget well spent.
Some of the acts and artists include: veteran Canadian producer, songwriter and member of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Colin Linden; Austin lyrical craftsman Sam Baker; New York-born multi-instrumentalist Fats Kaplin, who has worked with everyone from John Prine to Jack White and will be teamed with his wife Kristi Rose; Juno-nominated folk and bluegrass mainstay Maria Dunn; rising T.O. musician Abigail Lapell; East Coast-born, alt-country star Ridley Bent; a new project called Primary Colours featuring Kim Richey, Linda McRae and Doug Cox; ’Toba tunesmith Romi Mayes; and, as always, a ridiculously talented stable of locals, such as Tom Phillips and the DTs, Emily Triggs and Bryson Waind & The Citizens’ Band.
Brock says the lineup of 25 acts represents the “broadest” spectrum of artists that the festival has hosted in the musical manner — country, blues, folk, bluegrass, world, folk-rock, etc. — but thinks it’s also part of the obvious evolution of Wide Cut.
“I think that’s a natural kind of growth, right?” she says. “As you do it, you become a little braver to stretch it out and you want to provide a slightly wider palette.”
And as for reaching out to area codes outside of Alberta, that, too is something that was an inevitability, also reflecting the growth of the fest, which last year, despite the ongoing downturn continued to attract more music lovers.
“We still landed at, I think it was 90 per cent Canadian, 70 per cent western Canadian and 50 per cent Albertan,” she says of the roster, noting that latter element, supporting local, is still one of Wide Cut’s main focusses and even why the borders have been expanded.
“What’s important for the development of the scene is that we do bring other people in that can potentially raise the bar.”
Perhaps the only way in which Wide Cut Weekend has shrunk is in its actual geographical spread around the city. The five venues hosting the event are Music Mile locations the Ironwood, the Blues Can and the King Eddy, along with the Royal Canadian Legion #1 (upstairs and downstairs) and the Nite Owl, making it a fairly compact and foot- or bike-friendly fest — weather dependent.
“What we wanted to do was create two pockets that are walkable,” Brock says. “So you can get to the one pocket and walk around, and then, if you want, you can jump a cab to the other pocket and walk around.”
Tickets for Wide Cut Weekend will be on sale beginning Thursday, May 3 from the festival’s website here or from Heritage Posters and Music at the following prices: early bird weekend passes (Friday and Saturday) for $69, and regular price weekend passes for $79; early bird Thursday, Oct. 11 kickoff party for $20 and $25 for regular; $40 single-day ticket for Friday; $50 single-day ticket for Saturday, which includes afternoon workshops; and late-night tickets (for after 10 p.m.) for $20.
Here is the complete list of acts who will perform at this year’s Wide Cut Weekend:
The Georgia Fats
Fats Kaplin & Kristi Rose
Primary Colours (Kim Richey, Linda McRae & Doug Cox)
Tom Phillips & the D.T.s
Skinny Dyck & The Chicken Catchers
Sean Burns Band
Bryson Waind & The Citizens’ Band