Know your festivals — Insterstellar Rodeo
Five years after launch, we catch up with the organizers to talk music, wine pairings and the future.
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As part of our continuing summer series about Edmonton’s festivals we examine Interstellar Rodeo.
For its fifth year at the Heritage Amphitheatre, Interstellar features Sam Roberts Band, White Horse and The Strumbellas.
Producer Shauna de Cartier explains how the festival came to be and where it’s going.
Metro: What would you want people to know about Interstellar Rodeo?
One of the cool things about Interstellar Rodeo is that we pair wines with artists. We have asked Gurvinder Bhatia (a wine expert in Edmonton) and so he does that with the spirit of the artists in mind. The entire site is licensed, so you can kick back on the lawns or in your seat and have someone bring you a glass of wine to enjoy with every artist that plays. I think that is a fairly distinctive feature.
Metro: What is the history of the festival?
Interstellar Rodeo is produced by Six Shooter Records, which is my indie record label. So we are really coming at it with the spirit of independent music and music lovers.
We see shows all over the world all the time to bring what we feel is the very best of upcoming artists in the roots, Americana genres and beyond.
Metro: Is the festival about exposing people to music they haven’t heard before?
That is one of the most gratifying things about the festival in fact. When the audience experiences a band they have never heard of before and it becomes their new favourite band. We have been able to bring those types of artists to the festival every year. I am always looking for the ones that are going to blow people’s minds.
Metro: Are there challenges the festival faces going forward?
We don’t really. It’s our fifth year so we have a saying, ‘This ain’t our first rodeo.” We have a really great core group of volunteers who help us operate the festival
It’s a small festival. We have learned that even though the capacity of that venue is 4,000 people, we cap it at 3,000 people so that the experience of the people inside is very chill, very relaxed.
Metro: What do you see as the future of the festival?
We can’t really grow it beyond the size we are now. There aren’t a lot of other places in Edmonton necessarily, so we have figured out how to make it work at this size.
I can’t say down the road if we will move it or not. I know Northlands is interested in building some infrastructure and maybe that would work out for us, but it’s all just in the ideas stage right now. So for now, we don’t have any plans to grow. We just have plans to make it better and better every year.