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Sled Island 2023: Bartees Strange, Osees, DEHD, Sun Ra Arkestra, Helado Negro & More

The Calgary music festival returns for its 16th edition with music, art, and plenty of room for discovery.


The 16th edition of Calgary’s Sled Island Music & Arts Festival kicks off on June 21. The festival continues its streak of bringing an eclectic range of talent together for five days, and this year is another showcase of eye-popping talent. The festivities are taking place across multiple venues throughout the city with more than 200 acts.


Sled Island presents a thoughtfully-chosen lineup of music, comedy, film, art and more in multiple venues across Calgary, and the names of over 200 artists have now been revealed – including two more selections from 2023 guest curator Bartees Strange.

Newly announced additions to this year’s lineup include indie pop musician, visual artist and trans activist Vivek Shraya, experimental metal duo The Body, Portland-based heavy psych five-piece Blackwater Holylight, Montreal post-punk trio Cola (featuring past members of Ought), Mexican grunge-meets-shoegaze outfit Margaritas Podridas, Brooklyn-based art punks Gustaf, acclaimed electro-pop star and SOPHIE collaborator Cecile Believe (formerly known as Mozart’s Sister), Philadelphia-based electronic beatmaker and Bartees Strange selection JWords, poppy alt-rock group Weird Nightmare (the new side project from Metz frontman Alex Edkins), and Maneka, the genre-agnostic alternative act featuring former Speedy Ortiz guitarist Devin McKnight (also selected by Bartees Strange). These acts join already announced artists such as Osees, DEHD, Sun Ra Arkestra, Helado Negro, Akintoye, Emma Ruth Rundle, Mannequin Pussy, Amindi, Haviah Mighty, SPELLLING, and many more!

New this year, Sled Island has established a partnership with Iranian artist-run festival SET Experimental Art Events, who has curated a selection of some of the most exciting electronic and experimental musicians from Iran and its diaspora, to perform at this year’s festival. ⁠The project, titled SLED X SET, is the beginning of what is hoped to be an ongoing collaboration meant to build relationships between the Iranian and Canadian artistic scenes, and to bring more cutting-edge and boundary-pushing music and multimedia art to Calgary and beyond. The exciting experimental artists joining Sled Island this year include Sepehr, Temp-Illusion X Amir B. Ash, Roya, HERR SPECTRE, Maryam Sirvan, SarrSew, mHz and Hailstones.

On top of that, there’s plenty of exciting emerging acts in the 2023 lineup, with over 200 artists that were hand-picked through Sled Island’s submission process. Highlights include indie rock singer-songwriter Marlaena Moore, 90s-inspired hip-hop big band Super Duty Tough Work, Toronto-based noise rock four-piece Gloin, Montreal alternative R&B/hip-hop artist Maky Lavender, dusty garage rock duo Ghost Woman, Winnipeg bedroom pop artist JayWood, Indigenous hardcore group Indian Giver, psychedelic art rock six-piece Mother Tongues, soul-bearing singer-songwriter Sister Ray and First Nations electronic producer Young Dene.

Along with guest curator duties, Bartees Strange will perform at the #1 Royal Canadian Legion (116 7th Ave. SE) on Wednesday, June 21, 2023. Sled Island passes grant access to this show (subject to capacity).

Passes are now on sale at SledIsland.com and Lukes Drug Mart (112 4th St. NE).