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Crowdsurfing at the Quad

Rich Aucoin performing at DalFest 2013 (Photo by Bryn Karcha)
Rich Aucoin performing at Dal Fest 2013 (Photo by Bryn Karcha)


Imagine a weekend where the Dalhousie campus quad is transformed from bare grass and weathered architecture into a festival romping grounds. A beer tent is set up near the Chemistry Building. A large main stage swaths the Killam with halos of light. Students of all disciplines sway to a common rhythm. From September 12 to 13, this dreamscape takes shape as Dal Fest.

A staple of the O-Week experience, Dal Fest has all the fixings of a real music festival. Over two nights, local and internationally renowned artists will perform on the Dalhousie quad, free of charge.

Friday night’s soundtrack will feature Shad’s innovative take on hip-hop. The Canadian rapper is a Dal Fest veteran and has been shortlisted for the 2014 Polaris Prize for his latest record, *Flying Colours*.

A change of pace occurs Saturday night, from rap to indie-pop. First to the stage are up-and-comers Alvvays (pronounced *always*), who’s debut, self-titled album glitters like an indie emerald. The band’s vocalist Molly Rankin has some pretty deep roots here, as she’s the daughter of the acclaimed East Coast family troupe *The Rankin Family* and is a Dalhousie alumni.

Following Alvvays will be East Coast favourite, Hey Rosetta. The Fredericton, NB-based seven-piece are set to release their latest record in early September, so expect a sampling of fresh tracks alongside old favourites.

Friday afternoon, swing by the SUB to wander the Society Carnival, where Dalhousie’s many, many societies will be set up with information and carnival games. The Society Carnival, which was a big hit last year, is a great means to get involved with the Dalhousie community and explore interests new and old. Stop by *The Gazette*’s table and say hello!

After Shad’s performance on Friday night, there will be a small after-party at the Grawood (also located in the SUB) for all students 19 and over.

A football game is set to run alongside Alvvays and Hey Rosetta on Saturday night, so wander down to Wickwire field to see the Tigers bash skulls against UNB Fredericton.

While at the time of this writing, only Shad, Alvvays and Hey Rosetta have been confirmed as festival headliners, Dal Fest organizer and DSU student life representative Danny Shanahan is aiming to add another three local acts to the bill.

“You see all sorts of folk come together and celebrate being back at school,” says Shanahan, “that’s what we want this to be about. This is for the Dalhousie community.”

*You Better Know the Singles*

1)    Shad: “Rose Garden”

2)    Alvvays: “Archie, Marry Me”

3)    Hey Rosetta: “Red Heart”


Mat Wilush
Mat Wilush
Mat Wilush once went to see Agent Orange on the outskirts of Toronto, where the beer was salty and drunken teenagers took turns sitting in a prop electric chair. The music had aged poorly. A mohawk’d middle-ager danced through the first couple songs, but quickly tired out. There just isn’t much room for surf rock in the world anymore. What next? Mat Wilush wants to know. Mat is the Gazette's Arts Editor. Follow him on Twitter at @wilushwho and email him at arts@dalgazette.com.

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