Calgary’s Sled Island festival will take place later this month in its original, live show format. PHOTO: MIKE TAN

After a cancellation in 2020 and pivoting to primarily video programming last year, Sled Island is back to in-person arts and comedy for this year’s festival — with some safety precautions. 

The five-day event, which features a large contingent of local artists, brings together music, comedy, film and art across multiple venues and attracts over 40,000 attendees every year. 

Maud Salvi, executive director of Sled Island, says after a two-year hiatus, it’s good to be back.

“Ultimately, we are a live music festival and so for us to be able to go back to that and to go back to our venues, some of which we hadn’t stepped foot in for three years, is really exciting.” 

Salvi believes this is amongst the first large-scale events to happen since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“There’s obviously much more risk than pre-pandemic,” Salvi says. 

That led to unique challenges this year, from booking musical artists whose previously cancelled tour dates are now being rescheduled to logistical challenges like difficulty finding rental vehicles, Salvi says. However, Salvi and her team felt determined to have the show in its original format. 

In order to keep the festival as safe as possible, people buying tickets have to check a box agreeing the festival reserves the right to take any public health measures, whether required by provincial regulations or not. 

For many Calgarians, it is the first big event they are attending since the pandemic began in 2020. 

“The response has been extremely positive, people seem to be very excited to come back and so are we,” Salvi says.

Sled Island will be taking place from June 22 to June 26, and Silva looks forward to the return of the long-awaited festival. 

“I think this is the event that sort of signifies the beginning of summer for many people.” 

Learn more about the festival or purchase tickets on the Sled Island website. 

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