Written By: Jeremy House
SlabFest is a one-day, all-ages outdoor festival on June 25th, 2016 located on the original site of the town of Gander. This year's lineup features Kat McLevey, Brianna Gosse, London Above, Everglow, Cabbages & Kings, and Hear/Say.
Rock Island: Can you give a general overview of Slabfest? How long has it been going on, what brought this festival into being?
Melissa Tobin: This is the first year for SlabFest. Myself, Dean and Stevie Stairs, of The Citadel House in Lewisporte, were talking about the lack of all-ages events anywhere on the island. And it was an issue we had heard many bands talk about at the MusicNL conference in 2015. We're all based in Central, and I heard about The Slab Shows set up by the Gander Band, Union, back in the late 90s/early 2000s, where the b’ys would just get a generator and set up a pop-up show. We LOVED the idea, but we thought we'd make this a more formal event. We wanted to focus on youth because I grew up going to all-ages shows. It was such an influence on my life and we wanted to pass that on to another generation. There are such great bands in this province and we wanted to create a venue to share that music with an audience who wouldn't normally get a chance to see most of these bands.
RI: I see the acts are all up and coming Newfoundland artists. How excited were the bands to do this show?
MT: All the bands seemed pretty pumped to be a part of this. It's a new venue for them, all-ages AND in Central Newfoundland. We all just want to grow the music scene here.
RI: Was it challenging to get the idea of an all-ages show off the ground?
MT: Things for SlabFest moved pretty quickly since January and everyone we mentioned it to LOVED the idea, especially the bands. There's always the fear, especially the first time you do something, 'will it work?' but I think there's a huge need for something like this in Gander, it was an easy sell.
RI: What are the biggest takeaways you want the audience to have when they leave SlabFest?
MT: We want the audience to experience some of the up and coming musical acts in the province, and to learn about the many genres the province has to offer. We hope to create new music fans who will support local shows. Who knows, maybe they'll start a band one day too.
Tickets for SlabFest are available through TicketPro: https://secure.ticketpro.ca/?lang=en&server=ww3#def_1129615457