By Mariah Wilson, June 29 2017 —
Sled Island is known for its showcase of unconventional music that spans genres from indie rock to death metal, but it also offers a wide array of other events, such as community markets and art gallery exhibitions. Wanting to try a little bit of everything, I set out to experience the Hillhurst Sunnyside Market and the evening performances at the Palomino.
The Hillhurst Sunnyside Market is free to the public and provides an aesthetically pleasing prelude to concerts. I loved seeing a community come together through the vibrancy of this event. Once there, visitors were greeted with fresh produce, the sounds of kids laughing and the smell of a food truck firing up its oven to make fresh pizza.
I was drawn in by a musician whose voice was reminiscent of older country and western singers but with a folksy element. He often played the harmonica during songs, adding a soulful touch to his music.
What I love most about Sled Island is the ease of getting to venues without the use of a vehicle. The weather was nice enough during the festival that many attendees took their bikes out for a spin, which Sled Island accommodated by setting up extra bicycle racks outside of each venue.
Stepping into The Palomino is like visiting the set of an old saloon from a classic spaghetti western. The venue offers a museum of eclectic relics from the past, ranging from black and white photos of famous country and western stars to newspaper clippings from bygone eras to a wall mural on exposed brick that features a classic pin-up model. It’s also interesting that the LRT is almost on the front step of the Palomino. Its rumble creates a clashing atmosphere to the lively conversation inside of the bar.
Island Eyes, the first group to perform, gave everyone summer feels with their easy beach-style beats. Originally from Victoria, it’s easy to tell that their hometown influences their music. The band fit right in with the exposed brick walls, intimate stage and chill atmosphere.