Over the past 15 years, an underground musical and social uprising has occurred in Atlantic Canada. A modest but wonderfully loyal improvisational community and a thriving, politically-charged hip-hop and electronic music scene have arrived in Halifax, the region's largest city; Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland have coalesced to become the most interesting and unified musical melting pot in Canada. As the scene grows out of Halifax from a small, regional phenomenon to a nationally recognized flourishing movement, one event has burgeoned alongside by throwing one hell of a party each year. That event is the Evolve Music, Arts, and Awareness Festival and since 2000, the entertaining and intriguing fest has struck a niche within the Canadian music market from coast to coast. By inviting acts from all over the spectrum, combining them with socially conscious and politically charged events, and staging them in one of the most picturesque spots in the country (the coastal oceanic plains just outside the cozy port town of Antigonish, Nova Scotia), Evolve has truly become Canada's Bonnaroo.
Now in its fifth year, Evolve is just starting to receive the attention it deserves. With bands and DJs from as far as San Francisco and the UK joining a stellar lineup of Canadian talent, Evolve will run from August 27 - 29, and is truly a world class event. "Evolve has definitely helped the community become close knit," says nero drummer Jay McConnery. Having played Evolve previously, the increasingly popular Ottawa, ON trio has experienced the positive implications of Evolve first hand. "The festival started when the scene was taking its first steps towards recognition in the late '90s and has grown along with the bands over the last five years. We always look forward to being out there, to not only see all the great music and great people, but to be a part of a world class musical event."
nero by Studog
"It is the largest festival of its kind in Canada," confirms Jimmy Swift Band bassist Mike MacDougall. "It is that one unique annual summer weekend that consistently attracts the most daring and progressive of Canadian musicians, so you never know what type of collaborations might happen."
Along with nero, San Francisco's politicized revolutionary Michael Franti & Spearhead, Boston's neo-jazz trio The Slip; Burlington, VT jamsters The Vorcza Trio; Halifax's own Jimmy Swift Band and hometown chart-toppers The Trews will headline the live music portion of the event. The Rheostatics, Grand Theft Bus, Luther Wrings & the Wrongs, Chris Brown & Kate Fenner, Burt Neilson Band, and Hot Toddy will also be among dozens of bands rounding out the bill. On the electronic side of things, San Francisco's Lorin Bassnectar, Britian's Doc Martin and Rennie Pilgrim, Orange County's Simply Jeff and San Diego's Intergalactic Ferie Funk will spin throughout the weekend, leading the pack of over 50 DJs that will ensure around the clock music throughout the weekend.
On top of the unique and eclectic talent lined up to play, the festival producers have tried something new for their fifth installment of Evolve. Evolve is now the greenest, most environmentally friendly and socially conscious gathering in Canada. The festival's stages will be powered by bio-diesel generators throughout the weekend. The alternative energy source is completely non-toxic and free of almost all sulfur dioxides and ozone harming agents. In addition, the festival is also spearheading an organic waste composting initiative, in an effort to try to curb the amount of waste that heads off to the landfill. By keeping waste to a minimum, the land will be easier to sustain throughout the off months, keeping the festival site pristine and ecologically intact, despite the heavy burden a festival places on mother nature.
Along with the environmental initiative, dozens of political and social awareness organizations have been invited to set up displays at Evolve, and rotating art shows will be staged throughout the festival. Oxfam, Adbusters and Pure Hemp will be there to raise their voices throughout the weekend to encourage media literacy and ecological sustainability.
Jimmy Swift Band
"Anytime I play a festival, I am just glad to be there," quotes headliner and influential social activist Michael Franti. "Also, combining social justice with music is important, because when people come together through music, there is an authority that presents itself from the crowd dancing and the band's subsequent energy," he continues. "There is a real and true power that is given. When you add positive intention to that power, it can really go a long way. I am glad to see that this socially conscious work is happening and I hope that the seeds planted at this event will become part of an ethos that will spread to all the festivals."
"I agree," adds international recognized DJ, Sound Tribe Sector 9 and String Cheese Incident corroborator and Evolve headliner Lorin Bassnectar. "Any social gathering of open-minded people is a hotbed for revolution and activism. When you combine music with consciousness, it gets even crazier."
As Evolve continues to expand into Canada's premier event, the scene it supports will continue to grow alongside it. A recipe of world-class music and global social awareness is too difficult to ignore. Get on board, ready your senses, open your mind, and prepare to Evolve.
For tickets, directions or more information, visit www.evolvefestival.com
JamBase | Canada
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