By Sarah Mac
July 14, 2018
CALGARY – It was a scorching Saturday that marked the arrival of the second annual, Big Slam Festival. In contrast to the event that offers a hint of everything new under the sun, this year’s venue was the historic Brewery Flats. Established in 1892, the nostalgic urban space is located across from the Cold Garden Brewery in the neighbourhood of Inglewood. Presented by Alberta River Surfing Association and Big Winter Classic, this Big Slam the event granted free admission to all ages during the morning and afternoon hours, much to the delight of skateboarders eager to hit the mini-skatepark. Providing a feast for the ears, Rockin’ for Dollars’ bands kept the crowds entertained on stage while a convoy of food trucks circled around the venue satisfied with a selection of noshables.
It was hard to beat the afternoon heat, but as the sun started its descent, the number of attendees flowing through the festival gates began to grow. Introducing the main card of festivities, Bearings from Ottawa took to the stage, followed by Calgary locals Sellout and Bad Animal, who set the rocksteady pace for a performance by Vancouver’s own Living with Lions. Sliding into the cooler evening hours, the always-refreshing Whitey Houston graced the stage with their powerful cowpunk flare. Soon the concert-going masses closed in, captivated by Whitey’s unique style and raucous sounds. It was chum in the water for Seaway. Speed-dealers specializing in upbeat and poppy numbers, the Oakville, Ontario outfit hyped-up the audience and scored some new fans thanks to their spirited pop-punk set. They were also the perfect way to lead up to the night’s headliners, Lagwagon. Backed by a glowing Stampede City sunset, Californian punk rockers Lagwagon hit the stage rolling. After exchanging pleasantries, the guys from Goleta blasted out a batch of tried-and-true fan favourites. Then, they dropped a surprise by announcing they were about to play their 1998 Fat Wreck Chord’s album Let’s Talk About Feelings in its entirety. The audience erupted in excitement at the prospect — proceeding to form a multi-song circle pit that engulfed the festival grounds in a cloud of the devil’s dust. For those loyal followers who hopped on the band’s (ahem!) trashed wagon back in the ‘90s, this was an evening to remember. After absolutely killing it on every single track, Lagwagon polished off their final song with a perfect dismount, just as the nightly Stampede grandstand fireworks display exploded in the background.