By Matty Hume
CALGARY – For the fourth year in a row, some of the very best in Treaty 7 Territory talent gather in Siksika for an all-ages festival to rule them all. MomentsFest, now a two-stage, 29-band bash at the Siksika Pow Wow Arbor, is the passion project of the excellent lads from the legendary Alberta punk band No More Moments. In true DIY punk fashion, Carlin Black Rabbit, Cory White, Quarthon Bear Chief, Buddy Wolfleg and Emmit Maguire created a festival from scratch that continues to grow from its own momentum.
“The first year we ran four bands on two stages. It was just a super DIY thing, we wanted to keep it simple,” Black Rabbit says.
“The second year we tried 16 bands. Last year we went extravagant, booked 28 bands, started earlier in the daytime and we had a great day.”
This year’s festival is locked in at 29 bands on two stages. Talent ranges from the ravenous deathcore of Plaguebringer to the acoustic stylings of Spencer Jo. White says MomentsFest takes a multi-genre approach to combine the various scenes that make up Alberta’s music community.
“MomentsFest is about creating a good time with friends and it’s about building friendships,” White says. “Having a good assortment of genres is a great thing for getting people together as well.”
For the organizers, a massive aspect of bringing people together is including the youth. MomentsFest is not only all-ages, but also has a zero tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol. For White, MomentsFest is a great way to showcase music as an alternative activity for Siksika youth.
“That’s why we have it out on the reserve, to get some of the kids down there because there’s really nothing to do on the reserve. As a cause of there being nothing to do, people go down [negative] paths,” White says.
“It’s important to get the youth to experience music — to maybe encourage them to pick up an instrument and spend a lot of their time playing music rather than drinking or doing drugs and going into those paths.”
“I want to break that stereotype of the reserve,” Black Rabbit adds. “Everything you see on the news is always bad, so with MomentsFest, we just want to showcase the good. This is community based; we started from nothing for this.”
The ultimate power of punk rock’s positive influence comes from Black Rabbit’s personal experience with the music he loves.
“For me, punk rock and metal — heavy music — kept me out of trouble as a teenager, right? So I wanted to use it as my filter and give back to these kids,” Black Rabbit says.
“And hopefully when I’m older, I can rely on someone to put on a show while I’m being old and doing other things.”
Tied closely to the hope of a positive impact on the community’s youth, MomentsFest also champions Indigenous representation in music. One-third of the bands playing at MomentsFest are Indigenous and are not limited to Siksika, with bands coming from as far as Regina, Saskatchewan. MomentsFest appears to be just the beginning, as its effects are rumbling far and wide.
“I had people reaching out to me from smaller communities, smaller reservations, wanting us to come play,” Black Rabbit says.
“It was just the start of something. And that’s the plan in the future, to try and get to these small reservations, do a showcase and do workshops for these kids.”
“We just want people to come out and have a great time and that’s all we can ask for,” White says.
With a line-up that includes both of Black Rabbit’s bands (Iron Tusk and No More Moments), Chief N’ Council, Sharkweak and The Detractions, a headbanging good time is guaranteed.
Catch No More Moments, Black Mastiff, Plaguebringer and many more on May 12 at MomentsFest (Siksika – Calgary).Black Mastiff, Friends, LOVE., MomentsFest, No More Moments, Plaguebringer, Rock 'n' roll, Siksika