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culture

Wavelength Turns 13

All-ages record store shows and an artist Incubator series are amongst the new additions at this year's edition of Wavelength.

Wavelength Festival
Featuring Do May Say Think, Cadence Weapon, Doldrums and more
Various venues
February 13–17
Festival Passes $39

This year’s Wavelength Festival: bigger, weirder, and more inclusive.

Founded in early 2000, Wavelength Music Arts Projects was created to provide a venue for independent musicians. From 2000–2010, the promotion group and arts organization put on a series of weekly, pay-what-you-can Sunday night concerts, featuring bands like Fucked Up, Crystal Castles, and Broken Social Scene. After that, they wrapped up the weekly shows to focus on a series of bigger, less frequent events throughout the year, including the August ALL CAPS! festival, an annual collaboration with the Images film festival, and the mid-winter Wavelength Festival. This year, that festival will feature a mixture of well known names and new ideas.

“We have a few bigger names like, Do May Say Think and Doldrums and Cadence Weapon,” founding director Jonny Dovercourt says. “Cookie Duster [an electro-pop band featuring BSS’ Brendan Canning] are doing their live debut. We’re doing a reunion show for Henri Faberge and the Adorables.”

Most notable amongst this year’s new features is a series of all-ages in-store shows that will be taking place at Soundscapes and Sonic Boom. Dovercourt says the in-stores, which will combine live performances with talks by music journalists, are meant to be an access point for a new generation of music fans.

“We were disappointed that, due to cost reasons, we couldn’t make our evening shows all-ages, so we wanted to do something for the kids,” he says. “The record store community has always been part of Wavelength—Soundscapes was our first sponsor. It was sort of a natural fit. We always wanted to do something with them, but we weren’t sure what it would be.”

Another new feature is the debut of Wavelength’s Artist Incubator series. Wavelength is mentoring three young bands— Del Bel, Most People, and Fresh Snow—teaching them the business end of indie music, while also working to create bigger, music-centred art projects. Fresh Snow will be playing their first show as an Incubator band.

“It started with Fresh Snow,” he says. “They did a show with us last spring and played inside this little projection cube with four white sheets that they played inside of and shot projections out of. It got me thinking, this is how I want to work with bands, not just booking them to play, but collaborating with them to make something new and awesome.”

Violinist Sarah Neufeld, best known for her work with Arcade Fire and Bell Orchestre, will play some of her new solo material on Saturday.

“Wavelength Jonny was at my show at the Drake, which was actually the first show I did as a solo artist where I wasn’t opening for someone,” she says. “He liked it, so he asked me to do Wavelength.”

Neufeld says, more than anything, she’s excited to share the stage with some of her favourite bands. “I’ve never actually seen Do May Say Think, and they’re a band I’ve loved for years,” she says. “It’s really exciting to both get to see them and then play on the same bill.”

For Dovercourt, Wavelength at 13 can be summed up in one sentence.

“We’re one year older, so we’re one louder,” he says.

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