The Up and Downtown Music Festival is on the move again, bringing you the best of Edmonton’s independent music scene live from the Heritage Amphitheatre in Hawrelak Park on August 7 from noon to 9 p.m.
Traditionally the Up+Dt festival transforms concert halls and outdoor venues across the downtown core into a multi-day music extravaganza held over the Thanksgiving long weekend, but this year Executive Director Ryan Rathjen wanted a venue that could accommodate all ages and all pandemic protocols.
“This year is all about celebrating local music and doing something that we knew we could pull off, regardless of the COVID situation,” Rathjen says. “Next year, we’ll be coming back way bigger and better utilizing venues citywide.” This year’s festival will only operate at 10 per cent capacity, and organizers have introduced a mask-only section for those who want to take extra precautions and still enjoy the concerts.
Reflecting on his time as a youth in the city, Rathjen wants to offer an experience that encourages more young Edmontonians to immerse themselves in the local music scene.
“I think it’s important because when I grew up, there were a lot of all-ages shows and lots of stuff when you’re in your teens to check out that heavily influenced the direction of my life.”
Rathjen feels there’s a gap in what the city has to offer young music fans, and many venues don’t allow teens to attend concerts at all due to liquor-licence policies.
“We really want to be more youth focused in general and create spaces that people can bring their kids or younger teens to experience their first music festival and be inspired by the artists in Edmonton.”
The all-Edmonton lineup features Cayley Thomas, Calvin Love, Wares and more. DJ Creeasian will be on the decks between the artists’ sets, while Blindman Brewing and Strathcona Spirits offer libations for the night. Lawless Vintage will also host a community market with locally thrifted wares.
To purchase tickets and to view the lineup for the festival, visit updt.ca.