Sappyfest 2016: Day 3

Story & Photos by Jennifer Hyc

Sunday at Sappyfest started slowly, and for very good reason—most of the staff and attendees had gotten less than five hours of sleep the night before, and for others, the entire weekend. Before gaining my coveted media pass, I had signed up to volunteer at the Sappyfest merch tables, a job I couldn’t exactly evade with two days to go until the festival. I showed up just before noon, and although it was hardly morning at that point, it might as well have been 6 am. My fellow staff and journalists were worse off, making for a lazy Sunday morning start.

While Jay Arner kicked off the main stage, the annual Sappyfest poetry reading, Universal Dawn, was underway. Festival attendees were welcome to sink into a comfy chair at the Vogue Cinema and allow Erinn Beth Langille, Laura Legge, Tim Darcy (Ought), and Patrick Kyle to read selections of their original poetry. Dangerously soothing as it may sound, hosts Andrew Patterson and Geordie Miller kept everyone on their toes with light comedy and banter. Back again at the main stage, Dark For Dark followed up on the soothing Sunday vibes with a haunting folk-pop meant to heal any stray or damaged souls from the night before. Next up were Phèdre, Hooded Fang’s electronic spinoff, which consists of Daniel Lee and April Aliermo. The jolt they provided, which brought me back into life from a lingering daze was much needed. Similar to the night before, April Aliermo made sure to mention the importance of educating oneself about indigenous issues in Canada and to support the Black Lives Matter movement, amidst the ongoing controversy.

In the Vogue Cinema, the afternoon played out relaxedly, with a series of folky performances from the likes of Corey Isenor, Heat Vision, and Tyler Messick, adding to Sunday’s generally laid back atmosphere. In a dimly lit and comfortable space, Corey Isenor’s voice and guitar weaved romantic stories about youth and the east coast, providing time for reflection upon and appreciation of little Maritime towns like Sackville.

By seven o’clock, the time for relaxation and general laziness had long gone, because New Brunswick’s Les Hotesses D’Hilaire had arrived with a decked-out tour bus and all. In roughly forty-five minutes, eccentric frontman Serge Brideau managed to encourage bankruptcy, make fun of Instagram and selfie culture, improvise a song about making sweet sweet love, and attempt to amend Canada’s language barriers by urging everyone to learn the Acadian French-English language hybrid. Les Hotesses D’Hilaire were the kind of band you either loved to watch or felt moderately uncomfortable witnessing.

Then, Sappyfest went back in time to 1999, when Julie Doiron and The Wooden Stars released their Juno Award-winning self-titled joint album. The results made for a family affair and were a celebration of Canadian indie rock culture. Onstage banter amongst the band members and audience was hilarious and endearing, making the reunion all the more sweet. Festival favourites Nap Eyes took the stage soon afterwards, following up on fellow Sappy performers (from the previous night), Ought, with themes of disillusionment and the mundane. The slacker-rock group would become a surprise gem of a performance, after frontman Nigel Chapman timidly introduced themselves with “Hello Sappy, we are Nappy.” Not one for grand gestures, Chapman’s eyes often hid behind his hair, head tilted low. Nap Eyes guitarist Brad Loughead dove headfirst into his guitar solos, adding more of a visual, physical show.

Going into Sunday night’s performances, I didn’t know what to expect from Cakes Da Killa, as I legitimately knew nothing about him. The only thing I seemed to know was that people were very excited for his show. The set times ran behind schedule, and rumours about the performer not having arrived yet were swirling. Thankfully, those rumours were put to rest, and Cakes hopped onto the stage with two dancers and a DJ, ready to serve major wreckage. With little time to waste, Cakes whipped through the midnight time-slot and even parted the crowd down the middle to make room for his own runway to perform along. I lucked out and ended up with the perfect spot for taking photos along the makeshift runway, and perhaps it was my camera that made me a target, but I ended up witnessing Cakes’ playfulness firsthand when he proceeded to back it right up on me, if you know what I mean. After asking (scratch that, ordering) a bottle of water from the audience, a brave soul had handed him a bottle of whiskey instead, to which Cakes very vocally and hilariously refused, not really planning on getting roofied that night. The set was a favourite for many, including myself.

One thing I could not leave Sackville without was a copy of SappyForever, the coffee table book of photographs documenting the first eight years of Sappyfest. It features concert photography, obviously, but it also captures the spirit of independent, small town music festivals in all of its charming and candid glory. While I clearly wasn’t in any of the photos, I could still feel as if my presence had been imprinted into the festival’s history. Maybe if I just look a little harder, I’ll be able.

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Dark For Dark

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Dark For Dark

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Phedre

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Corey Isenor

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Les Hotesses D’Hilaire

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Les Hotesse D’Hilaire

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Les Hotesse D’Hilaire

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Les Hotesses D’Hilaire

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Julie Doiron & The Wooden Stars

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Julie Doiron & The Wooden Stars

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Nap Eyes

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Nap Eyes

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Cakes Da Killa

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Cakes Da Killa

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Girth

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Weird Lines

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Weird Lines

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