This fall’s Wake the Giant Music Festival will feature a variety of musicians, including Metric, July Talk, Crown Lands and Thunder Bay local Coleman Hell, on Sept. 14 at Prince Arthur’s Landing in Thunder Bay. The music festival will also feature Nick Ferrio, Wolf Saga, Ansley Simpson, Battle Nation Drum Group and local band Luke Warm and the Cold Ones, as well as some Dennis Franklin Cromarty First Nations High School (DFC) student performances.
“Our goal is to bring different communities, cultures, age groups, music lovers and festival fans all together at one big event that bonds the community closer together,” says Sean Spenrath, First Nations student success program coordinator at DFC and a Wake the Giant organizer. “Wake the Giant Music Festival has a goal to promote Indigenous artists, and bring attention to exciting new young artists who are pushing the boundaries yet honouring tradition.
It’s all about celebrating Wake the Giant and creating a welcoming community.”
The music festival will also include a live art installation, cultural performances on a second stage and many local food vendors on site.
“We hope the Wake the Giant Music Festival challenges audiences to expand their understanding and appreciation of culture and music,” says Greg Chomut, a teacher at DFC and a Wake the Giant organizer.
Spenrath says the idea for the music festival came about after DFC students recorded a song with July Talk about two years ago.
“It was such a unique experience for not only the students but the staff as well,” Spenrath says. “The students finished recording the song in April of last year, and the song actually came out in December called Mourning Keeps Coming Back. It is available on iTunes and Spotify, and if you download it, the kids actually receive royalties.”
Spenrath says a couple of other events will also be held before the music festival during Orientation Week, with The Amazing Race scheduled on Sept. 12 and The DFC Experience on Sept. 13.
“We are going to be flying in 150 kids from the remote communities that we serve, for a total of 300 kids participating in Orientation Week,” Spenrath says. “So (with) The Amazing Race … the kids are going to be running around town learning how to use the transit system.”
Spenrath says The DFC Experience will involve students from Lakehead Public Schools, Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board, Conseil scolaire de district catholique des Aurores boreals, the northern communities and DFC participating in workshops.
“It’s kind of like school taken to a rock star level,” Spenrath says. “Bands that are performing at the festival the next day will actually be leading the workshops for these kids. How often do you get to work with rock stars in a workshop — it’s like the best thing ever. It’s one of the greatest welcomes to Thunder Bay that I think we could give these kids that are coming from up north.”
Spenrath says the Wake the Giant storefront sticker program has been a success with more than 250 businesses and organizations signed up. The original goal was to sign up 150 businesses and organizations.
“And that number is rising every day,” Spenrath says. “So now we have a new goal, and that goal is 4,000. We want to sell 4,000 tickets by this September for the music festival.”
Tickets for the music festival went on sale on June 22 at wakethegiant.ca, with general admission tickets going for $60 and VIP tickets going for $100.
Spenrath says people who attend the music festival will have the opportunity to welcome the 300 students who are participating in Orientation Week to the city as they will also be attending the music festival.
“One of the cool things we are doing with Ungalli Clothing is (the 300 students) are going to be wearing a special limited edition red t-shirt,” Spenrath says. ”So what we are doing with the music festival and all of the kids dressed up in red t-shirts, (people) are going to be able to attend the music festival and welcome these kids while they are there at the music festival.”