Vancouver hasn’t had its own music multi-venue, multi-genre music festival since the late lamented Music West went under shortly around the turn of the century. (Music Waste has tried to fill the gap, but the event is focussed on local punk and underground acts.)
This year’s Westward Music Festival will attempt to fill that void. From Sept 14-17, the four-day event populates various venues with 15 live music events, including acts from all over North America. The shows all take place within a 2.5 km radius of one another at locations such as the Vogue Theatre (open to all ages), the Biltmore Cabaret, The Imperial Theatre and Fox Cabaret. (Note: sets originally scheduled for a two-day outdoor event at Red Truck Brewery have been moved to the Vogue and Venue.)
Bishop Briggs—She only has one EP out but Bishop Briggs (Sarah Grace McLaughlin) has already opened for Coldplay. The Los Angeles singer’s zooming popularity is based on tracks like “River” (#1 on Hype Machine’s Popular charts and #2 on Spotify’s Global Viral 50 shortly following its release), “Be Your Love” and “The Way I Do.”
Charlotte Day Wilson–The Canadian music industry is all a-buzz over this Toronto-based singer. She’s been playing sold-out gigs in her hometown to a mix of industry insiders and music fans, while ever-vigilant taste-makers like Fader, Pitchfork and Nylon (which called her the “next best thing out of Toronto”) have gotten on board. Check out her lounge-y, feel-okay electro-pop song “Work“.
Clairmont the Second—CBC calls this 19-year-old Toronto rapper “the next big hip-hop hope” for his release Quest for Milk and Honey. “The 13-track affair finds the young MC rhyming with a wisdom beyond his years discussing spirituality and exploring vulnerabilities, while impressively presiding over the jazzy, soulful production entirely handled by himself,” writes Del Cowie.
Hannah Georgas—Originally from Newmarket, the former Vancouver resident recently moved back to Ontario. But long-time local fans will cheer her on when the now-Toronto-based singer/songwriter returns to play tracks from her third, and possibly best, album, last year’s For Evelyn.
Dear Rouge—The winner of the 2012 edition of the Western Canada music showcase the Peak Performance Project, the Vancouver synth-rock band finally released their debut Black to Gold in 2015. They were rewarded with the Breakthrough Group of the Year title at the 2016 Juno Awards. They’re currently working on their second album.
Other acts at Westward include PUP, Busty and the Bass, Touche Amore, Watsky, TOO MANY ZOOZ, Youngblood, Little Destroyer, Gang Signs, Peregrine Falls, Art d’Ecco Music and more.