Outdoor festivals are hands down my favourite way to experience music. It doesn’t matter the genre, when you have the right crowd at a well organized event magic happens. And that magic happened in spades at the Max Bell Centre in Calgary Friday night. Beautiful weather all day made a stellar line-up of artists that much more enjoyable.
I unfortunately missed local opener of the day, Chedda Cheese (although he sounded great from the other side of the fence), so my first act of the day was Seven.
Following Seven was one of my favourites of the day, Blackbear. Highly energetic, and showing the crowd lots of love, this is an artist that knows how to work the audience. Highly recommend if you ever get the chance.
LeCrae followed up, his size not stopping him from running back and forth on the stage for him whole set. The work ethic on a hot day did not go unnoticed.
Wale’s DJ started their set by getting the crowd worked up, and the man himself kept the hype up throughout their half hour.
Breakdancers did their thing on the side stage throughout the day. I cannot say enough about the mood that this festival brought to the Max Bell Centre’s outdoor grounds.
RZA brought a full band to the stage. The guitar was a nice break for me. The swagger from the performance was excellent.
As the sun began to set, the crowd had filled out, and love was in the air. The well behaved audience tossed beach balls and anything else that floated and the golden rays shown across the pit.
Andersoon .Paak, unfortunately performing minus the delayed at the border Free Nationals made up for the lack of full band by showing the crowd that he knew how to put on a performance. Energy, confidence, and stamina were showcased through the entirety of his set.
The in house DJ/MC team kept the crowd alive between acts, and did such a great job that it was barely noticed that performer Migos did not make his scheduled set time.
As the light left, the crowd patiently waited for their headliner during an extended break where Migos should have been (although allowed the festival to play catch up on their schedule which had been running 40 minutes back, in true artistic fashion).
Finally Ms. Lauryn Hill’s band took the stage. Laying down a five minute funk jam before her set started, the musicianship was at a truly professional level. Ms. Hill walked on stage oozing confidence and launched right into her set amidst the roar of the crowd.
All in all this festival was a resounding success, and I can’t wait to see who they bring out next year.