Words & Video by Dan Nightingale
Photos by Tiffany Naugler
Sappyfest once again shows every other musical festival how it's done.
Much of their success comes down to two factors – being a currated music experience, and the unique setting in the heart of small town Sackville, New Brunswick. The massively underrated perk of readily available collage dorms is only a small part of the picture. The town and the fest are intertwined in so many subtle ways – what other place would shutdown it's main street for an entire long weekend just to host a music festival? - and strolling through downtown Sackville, you can visit second hand shops, book stores, cafes, pubs, and diners, all while still in earshot of main stage.
As you duck and weave through the park or browse the merch tables inside the main tent, your ear is inevitably caught by the next band which you, admittedly, haven't actually heard of, but fortunately the Sappyfest organizers will never leave you disappointed. Whether it's the slow jams of Fish Food, or the lurching punk rock dynamics of Dilly Dally, Sappyfest is a musical education that presents the best of old favourites like By Divine Right and the Wooden Stars; up and coming genre busters like Cakes Da Killa and Nicole Ariana; and brings old friends like Horses back together, like no time at all had passed.
Some festivals try to jam in as many bands as possible, and cram overpriced, ad sponsored diversions down your throat while you wade from stage to stage in a sea of strangers. At Sappyfest, you make your own fun – camping in the park, finding secret shows in a shed, or hanging in the quad like you're 21 again. Where else but Sappyfest can you play a game of chess while Shotgun Jimmie plays a show in the bowling alley at the back of the bar?
Chances are, your best friends band didn't get in, and maybe the vendors aren't laid three deep to offer you every choice of street meat you could imagine, and maybe there's only kind of beer – but there's a lot to be gained with a catered experience like this. The bands are unique, and they're special, and they're diverse – I lost track of how many bands were fronted by women, which can only be a good thing; the beer is locally brewed and even the cup is compostable. The little details only come out in a small town like this, and even after three whole days it feels like it's only getting started.
But when the end does come, it's accompanied by the inevitable post Sappy glow; somehow, unlike the giant corporate mega festival, you leave Sackville with more energy than you started with – you didn't see Radiohead or The Weekend, but what you got was something better, something smaller and simpler that only tiny Sappy can deliver.
Keep scrolling for more of our photos or CLICK HERE to see the full album on Flickr!
Click HERE to check out our Sappy YouTube playlist of live videos we shot on site.
For more on Sappyfest:http://www.sappyfest.com/