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Local Collective Brings Safe, Inclusive Environment with DIY Festival

IMG_3860With Calgary’s first ever S.L.O.B. Island, its curators hope to make the festival as accessible as possible.

Short for Super Loved Organized Best, the event, held on August 22-23 at the National Music Centre, is run by Tiny Beast Collective, a local arts and music collective that seeks to emphasize their ethos of all-inclusivity. Andrew Lehman, spokesperson for Tiny Beast, says they tried to book without discrimination.

“We’re trying to be as accessible as possible,” he says.

It is no secret that their name bears a striking resemblance to Calgary’s more prominent Sled Island festival. Lehman says it isn’t meant to be a sort of “counter-sled”, but more of an alternative option for those who’ve missed out, are underage, or interested in more local acts.

“[The bands] are mostly punk—though we do have some rock and electronic artists as well.

“I Look Strong; You Look Strong is part of the line-up. Consensual Acts and Recently Deceased, too,” he says. “They’re all very DIY sort of bands.”

While these acts may be local or not as prominent as the bands featured on Sled Island, Lehman says that it shouldn’t deter people from attending.

“It’s not just a bunch of kids [playing music]. There are some really good local and other Canada-based, indie bands.”

In regards to the similarity to Sled Island, he says they’re “less official, more DIY.

“[Also], Sled had a lot of shows that you had to be over 18 for; we’re trying to make our festival for the all-ages crowd.”

The collective also hopes to enforce their “Safer Space” policy, providing attendees an environment where they can feel safe. He says they’re making sure everyone feels welcome as well as protected from discrimination and victimization, especially for those who identify as a minority—be it cultural, sexual, or based on gender identity.

“I think this’ll be great,” says Curtis Lefthand, a Calgary-based musician. He will be joining the collective after the two-day festival.

“[The policy] will spread awareness of how people sometimes don’t feel safe in other local arts environments … especially within certain subcultures where these people sometimes don’t feel welcome,”says Lefthand in regards to those who are identified as minorities due to race, gender, sexual identity, and etc.

“There should be a sort of an acceptance and I think what Tiny Beast is doing is helping with that.”

Though the collective has hosted events in the past, Lehman says S.L.O.B. Island, is their first event of such a scale. And, if things go well, they’re keen to host more events in the future—though that doesn’t mean it’ll solely be music: their plans also extend to that of film screenings, which they have done in the past, as well as art showings.

“We’ve only been around for under a year,” he says. “[In the future] we’re looking to do more events that involve [the arts] and not just music, which was easy for us because a lot of us are musicians.

“Some of us are artists, too, so visual arts is the next step, I think.”


Tickets for the festival, located at the National Music Centre, are $10 for the day and $15 for the 2-day pass. Doors open from 1:00-11:00 p.m.





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