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Three days of peace, love, campfires and shoegazing at FrogFest

Monday 15th, June 2015 / 03:01
By B. Simm

FrogFest-webCALGARY — Celebrating the first days of summer, FrogFest takes place on the Solstice weekend in the rolling foothills of Alberta near Rocky Mountain House. This is year six at the hideaway location in the hills that organizer Jamey Lougheed refers to as the “random situation of the stage in the woods coming to me.”

More precisely, Lougheed explains that he and some friends know a landowner who allowed them to camp and stay over in cabins on his property. “It’s really peaceful and wonderful and we’d just work on some music, write songs, do some recording. One night this guy [the landowner] said, ‘Hey, if I build a stage, will you throw a party?’ So I thought I’d move the affair out to the woods.”

Prior to its home in the hills, FrogFest was held at various spots including community halls in town for one night whoop-ups. The camping festival took on much bigger proportions with the allure of the stage.

The stage: It sits on a 12-foot platform and extends 30 feet across in width and is 30 feet deep. Underneath is the “cook shack” which has a gas stove and showers — essentially a cabin to cook, hang out and clean up in. In previous years tarps hung overtop of the stage, but now there’s a solid, permanent structure for the roof and a 10×10 ft. greenroom attached to the back. Lougheed says the is roof “is very cool and awesome, it kind of looks like the back of space ship. Last year we added wings to the side of the stage.”

There’s also a smaller stage connected to the main stage which Lougheed says, “Some bands are better up there with the big sound system, and some bands want a more intimate feel and be a lot closer to the people, so the side stage works for them.”

Lougheed claims the amount of talent interested in playing the fest has been growing tremendously, with more and more applications coming in each year “just to play on that stage” making the fest more “epic and magical.” The genre of artists performing ranges from psychedelic to roots, no electronic music. Lougheed lists off the particulars: “We’ll have country rock, stoner rock, drony noise, intense psychedelic punk rock, it’s all over the map.”

This year headliners include the highly acclaimed Birdstriking, a shoe-gazing, noise punk band from Beijing; the trippy, soul-funk of Magik Spells from Vancouver, the deep country of Saskatoon’s Gunner and Smith and a cast of local exotics totaling more than 25 acts over three days. The first Friday is a camping night but once the PA is set up, it’s show time! Lougheed breaks it down:

“Saturday is the super psychedelic day, and keeps your energy levels amped. At night we shut the stage down; there’s campfires and jams because so many musicians are there. The next day, Sunday, is a more rootsy day so the energy comes down to your heart level. You’ll get bluegrass to folk to country rock. Although this year, Birdstriking is ending things off. So take that beautiful roots feeling and shoegaze the shit out of it ‘til the end of the night.”

FrogFest takes place June 19-22. For more information on bands, camping and directions go to frogfest.ca.

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Alberta

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