More than 60 artists, 45 musicians and eight muralists will transform downtown Sudbury during Up Here, an urban art and music festival running Aug. 11-13 in Downtown Sudbury.
The festival released its lineup on social media May 17.
Eight muralists will paint seven new murals that will go up around Sudbury’s downtown core. Local artists and muralists from around the world will have the opportunity to collaborate in transforming blank walls into stunning public art pieces.
Muralists from Europe include Guinness World Record holding duo Ella & Pitr (France) who will be creating a large scale rooftop mural visible from space, and the colourful character-driven Hobz (France and Belgium), who’s heavily influenced by ‘90s pop culture.
Muralists from across Canada include the intricate Kazakh-Canadian Ola Volo (Vancouver), the eclectic James Kirkpatrick (Toronto), and the multidisciplinary Kirsten McCrea (Toronto). These muralists will be joined by local talent including the character driven Tracy Baker, the fine-arts driven Neli Nenkova (Sudbury and Bulgaria).
After a week of mural painting, we throw musicians into the mix for a three-day emerging music festival where up-and-coming artists will be presented in 12 venues around the downtown core. Up Here is all about cultivating a sense of curiosity and discovery.
The festival will be kicking things nice and loud on Thursday with an all-ages punk shows at Zigs with locals Bean Head & Donutboy, Yacht Patrol, Sik Rik and the fast-paced punk of Toronto’s Soupcans. Grab some earplugs.
Then make your way to the Grand Theatre for the goosebump-inducing haunting hymns of the cello-voice duo The Visit, followed by the upbeat melodies and processed french horns of Foxtrott. Polaris prize nominated Young Galaxy takes the stage next with their sleek and sophisticated synth pop. Expect a breathtaking spectacle combining dreamy danceable soundscapes, an electrifying light show and remarkable choreographies.
To cap off the Thursday night, festival goers will make their way to the Townehouse Tavern for the genre-bending, playful, shout-sung vocals of New Fries followed by the tripped-out stylings of Victoria’s Freak Heat Waves. Finally, Fresh Snow takes the stage as one of the newest inductees into the pantheon of Canadian post-rock pioneers, incorporating dancey disco-synths and heartrending string lines to guide you ever-so-slowly towards nirvana.
The programming of Friday, Aug. 12 will begin with the first free Discovery Series concerts by up-and-coming musicians from Northern Canada in small downtown venues between 5 and 7 p.m. Discover the danceable synth pop of Ocean City Defender from Thunder Bay, the reverberating garage-psych of Marie-Claire, the genre-hopping indie-folk of David Dino White, the soulful and sincere story-telling of Old Cabin from Yellowknife, the nomadic folk of Benjamin Hermann originally from North Bay and the supernatural rock of Night Terrors.
Then make your way back to the Grand Theatre for an evening of mind-melting musings. Reigniting their fires for one night only, Rob Seaton and the Houle brothers take the stage as Statues with their signature power punk. Duchess Says is next with their spellbinding moog rock spectacle. Finally, armed with an array of analog keyboards and circuit-bent kids toys, Canadian legends Holy F*** will electrify the century-old theatre with their relentless commitment to rhythm, and an ambiance better matched to a close encounter of the third kind than a simple rock concert. Simply put, they make modern electronic music without the modern reliances of looping, programming and laptops.
Surprise concerts were a big part of Up Here’s first edition and there will be many more this year. Festival goers will want to download the official Up Here app to make sure not to miss out on spontaneous shows in back alleys, tunnels and parking lots. Available in June in the App Store and Google Play.
Sudbury’s zonked-out jizz-jazzers Magic Pelvis will kick the Friday late night-off at Little Montreal followed by Sunny Duval, the staple of the Montreal underground scene who recently reinvented himself with a new kitsch-pop inspired new-wave surf project. Finally, Phèdre will build a sonic temple made with bricks of drone, synthpop, goth, electronic and post-punk, broadcasting music from somewhere slightly outside of time and space.
You can also make your way to the Townehouse Tavern for the French synth-psych of Marie-Claire followed by the glam space-rock of Blonde Elvis, fronted by Sudbury native Jesse James Laderoute. Finally, Up Here will host a homecoming show 40 years in the making. Miriam Linna from Miriam and Nobody’s Babies began her music career as the first drummer for the Cramps in New York in 1976. The Sudbury native spent her formative years as part of the Ohio punk rock scene and then co-founded the legendary Norton Records and Kicks magazine in New York. Miriam is bringing her 60’s wall-of-sound era rock’n’roll back to the Nickel City for the very first time with her backing band, Nobody’s Babies.
The festival will once again transform Durham Street in front of the YMCA into the Downtown Sudbury Playground with temporary street scaping and interactive art installations. On the afternoon of Saturday, Aug. 13, free family activities and live music will liven up the city’s core. Soak in the sun while grooving to Hello Holiday’s indie-rock, Tessa’s powerful R&B and Sunny Duval’s sweet mojito melodies.
As night time comes rolling in, emerging songstress Iskwé will take the mainstage to weave together her Irish and Cree/Dene roots with hip hop breakbeats, left-field R&B, and anthemic trip hop. Next up, lose yourself in the uncompromising wonders of Montreal’s stylish Paupière with their sparkling Francophone synthwave. Finally, one of Canada’s most passionate and galvanized pop bands takes the main stage. Like their celestial namesake, Stars only come out at night. For over 16 years, Stars have toured the planet, releasing seven critical indie affairs since 2001. Now, they have spawned “No One is Lost”, their most upbeat and electronic album yet. Expect a bass-heavy disco dance party to test the very foundation of Durham Street.
The night is still young and Casper Skulls, a couple of Sudbury ex-pats and some Toronto friends, are about to take the Townehouse by storm with their focused brand of post-punk. Partner from Nova Scotia is up next, marrying feminism and stadium rock riffage to produce a sound as queer as they are. Their action-packed live set has led to them being named the “best new band in Canada” by the Globe and Mail. Finally, drawing inspiration from ‘90s staples such as the Pixies and Hole, Dilly Dallyexecute a hybrid of fuzzed out guitar play, dissonant melodies and mid-tempo rhythms, fronted by the unmistakable and relentless vocal snarl of Katie Monks.
Just a few blocks away at Durham Social, half-Cree cellist Cris Derksen will blend classical instrumentation with bright synths, ancestral drum beats and deep electronic elements into a fully immersive experience. Montreal’s Automélodi is up next with their unique brand of ‘80s-influenced minimalist French pop. To top it all off, fresh off a European tour with Iggy Pop and armed with a diverse set of archaic instruments and equipment, U.S. Girls brings her unique musical experimentations to Sudbury, and it’s sure to be one of Up Here’s most memorable performances.
To go out with a bang, two last series of concerts will be presented under the cloak of the night in two secret locations. In one location, you’ll find the hip-hop, techno, downtempo and international sounds of Toronto’s LAL, followed by the psych pool of Derek McKeon’s ambient project Zones. In the other location, it’s an all-out dance party with the raveable jams of Saxsyndrum, who fuse their acute formal percussion and sax training with modern dance music. Finally, to close off Up Here 2016, Thunder Bay’s Ocean City Defender will make us dance til the wee hours with his highly emotive and danceable synth pop.
A limited amount of passports will be available at UpHere.com at noon on May 18, 2016. Passports get festival goers full access to over 45 concerts over three days. Individual tickets for concerts will go on sale Tuesday, May 24 at noon.