By: Shayla Lee
My festival obsession first began when I went to Sonic Boom in 2014. Although the festival was canceled a couple years ago, some of my fondest festival memories took place at Sonic Boom. Crowd surfing during Foster the People, seeing Jack White absolutely kill it, and hearing Death Cab for Cutie perform “Transatlanticism” live are just a few at the top of my list.
I was so excited to hear Sonic 102.9 was putting on a different event this year called Sonic Field Day. The one-day event was held in Edmonton’s Victoria Park and boasted a curated lineup of great musicians including Arkells, Jimmy Eat World, and Dear Rouge. Although all the acts were contained on one stage, normal aspects of a multi-stage festival like a merch tent, plenty of food trucks, and beer gardens were also present.
I had the chance to cover Sonic Field Day and had an amazing time meeting other photographers, seeing incredible musicians, and falling in love again with Sonic’s events four years later. I’ve included some photos and thoughts from the day below!
Black Pistol Fire
I entered the grounds right as Black Pistol Fire was starting and I made a beeline for the stage as soon as I got through security. I only managed to get a few photos but they definitely set the mood for how the rest of my day at Sonic Field Day would pan out. The duo, which is made up of Eric Owen and Kevin McKeown, are most well-known for their song “Suffocation Blues” but all of their songs are killer. Blending rock and blues elements, the high energy band was a great way to kick off my day.
The Glorious Sons
I went into The Glorious Sons with little expectations because I was not familiar with their discography but they made me a fan with their live performance. If you perform without wearing shoes like lead vocalist Brett Emmons did, you immediately win points for being cool in my books. The joy the band members had when performing with each other was infectious and the crowd returned high energy back to the band throughout their set.
I was looking forward to seeing Dear Rouge’s performance because I am a huge fan of their album “PHASES” and I’m pleased to say they exceeded my expectations. I couldn’t take my eyes off of Danielle’s glittery shawl and just like the previous performers, Danielle and Drew’s passion for music and performing was so infectious. I found myself smiling their entire set because I could see how happy they were performing.
Cold War Kids
Touring non-stop this year and hitting most major festivals across North America, Cold War Kids are a popular indie-rock band that was a highly anticipated act for many at Sonic Field Day. For me, the band’s performance fell flat compared to the previous acts of the day. Following three high energy sets, Cold War Kids’ lack of energy definitely stood out. This can likely be blamed on their extensive touring schedule, so I know I can’t be too hard on them. Although I was left feeling like I wanted a bit more from their performance, I can’t deny that “First” was a blast to hear live.
Jimmy Eat World
Ahh… Jimmy Eat World. Hearing “The Middle” live has always been on my music bucket list and I’m filled with gratitude that I got to cross it off. The let me relive all of my angsty teen feelings and you can tell they truly love what they do. They saved “The Middle” as their last song and I was reminded that even if it takes some time, everything will be alright.
I was lucky enough to see Arkells perform at Bumbershoot in Seattle the week before but seeing them in Edmonton was a completely different experience. The crowd was huge, passionate, and sang every word along with the band. Arkells brought high energy and a welcoming atmosphere, going as far as inviting an audience member up on stage to play the guitar with them. The band brought out Jimmy Eat World at the end of their performance and they covered Whitney Houston’s classic “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me” which was an epic way to end the amazing day.
Sonic 102.9 proved again that they put on killer events and I’m crossing my fingers that we will see a similar event next year. Thank you to everyone who brought happiness and love into Victoria Park, Sonic 102.9 for putting on a fantastic event, and all of the incredibly talented musicians for giving it their all!