Hey there, time traveller! This article was published 9/5/2017 (1880 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
When Interstellar Rodeo was forced to announce Father John Misty as a headliner earlier than they expected, organizers were already buzzing with excitement about another big-name act who had been confirmed for the Aug. 18-20 event at The Forks.
It was a lofty claim to make, what with Misty being one of the most sought-after performers in the world prior to the release of his third album, Pure Comedy, last month. But on Tuesday, Interstellar followed through with their promise: Beck will make his Winnipeg debut at the third edition of the music and wine festival.
"I've been trying to book Beck for, jeeze, five years?," says Shauna de Cartier, president of Six Shooter Records, the label that hosts the Winnipeg and Edmonton festivals. "When I started the Edmonton festival in 2012 the artists I was trying to get to headline were Bjork and Beck — still haven’t made Bjork happen, but maybe one day! — but we’re so thrilled, just can’t even believe it that we got him to say yes.
"It’s just so incredible to have an artist of that stature, being able to bring him to our stage at Interstellar Rodeo. He's an artist that really embodies what we love about music and artists at Six Shooter and at Interstellar Rodeo — the perfect mix of originality, critical acclaim, popular acclaim... a groundbreaking artist of our time," she says.
Not only has the Grammy Award-winning alt-rock/alternative artist never played Manitoba, he's never stopped in the Prairies during his 20-plus year career.
Beck (born Bek Campbell) first grabbed international attention with his single Loser, off 1994's Mellow Gold, and followed that up with the critically acclaimed album Odelay in 1996. In total, he's released 12 studio albums, with his most recent, Morning Phase, earning him three Grammys including Album of the Year (Beck has won a total of five Grammys and been nominated an additional 11 times).
Beck will take the Saturday night headlining slot. Misty will play Friday night and Sunday will be handled by Interstellar's third headliner, also announced Tuesday, Broken Social Scene.
The Canadian indie-rock "music collective" — which featured members such as Leslie Feist and Emily Haines of Metric — will be doing double duty this year, closing out both the Edmonton and Winnipeg festivals. The band released its first new music in more than five years, the single Halfway Home, in March, and, in an interview with SiriusXMU, frontman Kevin Drew revealed a new album will be released this fall.
"They have been on hiatus for a while now and I'm such a big fan, they were such an important band," says de Cartier. "I feel they really broke things wide open for Canadian independent music and as somebody who is steeped in that, Broken Social Scene is at the top of the heap... and I was so thrilled they said yes to headline both festivals.
"What I appreciate about them more than anything is how open they are, their musicality and how inclusive they are, how they structure themselves and their outlook about music is warm and welcoming and it’s really, really good," she says.
Beck and Father John Misty aren't the only Manitoba debuts this year. Five out of the 15 artists on the bill will be performing in the province for the first time, which is something de Cartier takes into consideration when booking international acts.
"For Canadian artists, it’s not important to me that they haven’t played the market in a long time or whatever, because I work with Canadian artists and I know they need to travel back and forth across the country many times but they’ve also built the fan base and everything else. But for international artists, I really do try to get artists that have never played the city before," she says.
Rounding out the first-timers are American artists Aloe Blacc and Adia Victoria and British country singer Yola Carter, all of whom de Cartier predicts will be big discoveries for attendees who may not be as familiar with their music.
"Aloe Blacc... he’s not necessarily the kind of household name that maybe he should be. In Canada he’s less known than he is in America, but I think people are going to be blown away," she says. "And Adia Victoria, she played our Edmonton festival last year and completely blew my mind, she’s really special. People are in for a treat. It’s beautiful and haunting and like nothing I’ve ever seen before."
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That said, there is still a ton of Canadian content on the bill, which includes singer-songwriter Sarah Slean, country songstress Whitney Rose, local Anishinaabe musician Leonard Sumner and an indie-rock band de Cartier is especially thrilled about bringing to the festival — the Rheostatics.
"The Rheostatics are my favourite band of life, they’re one of the reasons and inspirations as to why I wanted to work in the music business in the first place. I got their album Melville whatever year that came out, and listened to nothing but that record for six months," she says, laughing.
"I absolutely love this band, and then I moved to Toronto and started managing and putting out records by Martin Tielli, and then I eventually started managing the Rheostatics and then they broke up, which was a really, really sad day for me in 2007. So now, 10 years later, they’re back together and doing some shows and I’m so proud to be presenting them on the Interstellar Rodeo stage."
Tickets go on sale Wednesday; specific prices for weekend and day passes were not made available. For more information, visit interstellarrodeo.com/winnipeg.
Erin Lebar Manager of audience engagement for news
Erin Lebar is a multimedia producer who spends most of her time writing music- and culture-related stories for the Arts & Life section. She also co-hosts the Winnipeg Free Press's weekly pop-culture podcast, Bury the Lede.