As the Sled Island Music & Arts Festival heads into its second day, event operations manager Anil Patel (pictured) is moving into what he likes to call “zombie mode.”
“It means you sleep wherever and whenever you can squeeze in a nap,” explains Patel, who is in charge of the festival’s main site at Olympic Plaza.
“So, if you find me motionless in the shower, don’t worry, I’m just napping.”
Patel — who has also worked with such well-known music festivals as Bonnaroo and several large-scale events in his native Australia — first volunteered for Sled Island last year, and says he found the experience so rewarding he flew back from Oz to do it again.
“Sled Island has really become my Calgarian family,” says Patel, adding that local music fans should be proud of the four-day festival.
“It’s run purely to benefit the people of Calgary, the local economy, independent arts and music and the cultural milieu of the city. I don’t think you need a better reason to buy a pass than that. Unless you wish to propose to Feist, in which case I would kindly ask you to form an orderly line behind myself.”
Show days can see Patel working up to 16 hours, but he gets a hand from his 200 volunteers who help him with the complicated logistics of staging an open-air concert in the heart of downtown.
“It’s a real team effort,” he says.
“And the adrenaline gets you through … Volunteering has become an integral part of Sled Island. Some volunteers have been involved with the festival from day one.”
The independent music, film, comedy and arts festival — which runs through Saturday at various venues around central Calgary — is now in its sixth year and has become one of the more notable music events in Canada.
More than 250 bands are playing the festival, including Juno Award-winning chanteuse Feist and Brooklyn rockers The Hold Steady, who are headlining the Olympic Plaza stage on Friday and Saturday nights respectively.
Sled island deets
• Sled Island passes can be purchased at the festival’s office, 2206a 4 St. S.W. or online through sledisland.com.
• A complete list of artists and show schedule is also available on the website.
• Tickets for the Olympic Plaza shows can also be bought online, in person at Heritage Posters & Music Shop or at the gate.
• Get over your Sled Island hangover with a wrap-up party and BBQ on Sunday at The Republik, featuring sets by The Ketamines, The Blind Shake, Duchess Says and more.