Off The Press: Interview with the Community Coordinator of Sled Island, Queenie Li / by Shelby Stewart

Can you tell us a little bit about how you got involved with Sled Island and what your role is?
When I moved to back Calgary seven years ago I was looking to reconnect with the city, so I volunteered with Sled Island. It felt like it was this secret thing that was happening in the city and since then my role has grown from volunteer, to intern, to my current position— connecting the Calgary community to the festival.

What do you think Sled Island brings to the community?
The set up of Sled Island is a little different from the other festivals we see because it’s spread out throughout the [Calgary] core. We have 250 artists of all types—musicians, comedians, visual artists and filmmakers that present in 35 venues over the course of the five days. Since Sled Island first started 10 years ago we have had over 30,000 attendees participate in the festival in one way or another.

 Sled Island brings more to the community than a music festival. It’s an arts festival that ties in so many different aspects of how people express themselves and connect with one another.

What is your favourite part of Sled Island?
It might sound cliché but for me it’s really about the experience as a whole. There is so much to choose from; at peak times there are at least 10 venues that have something going on. The festival requires you to bounce around the city to really get the most out of it. You end up rediscovering downtown Calgary, seeing bands play in a small place like Tubby Dog or the United Church downtown. Have you ever been to the legion? Sled brings you to places you would normally never experience.

Do you have any tips for those experiencing Sled Island for the first time?
Bikes definitely help when you are trying to get around to all the different shows. This year we have also car2go to get people from place to place. If you don’t have access to those, there are a lot of venues that are clustered together so when you are planning out your schedule just make sure to be strategic. If you are on 10th Ave or 17th you can just go up and down the street and you will find something going on.

Honestly, the biggest piece of advice I can give is to just show up. The festival is really inclusive, all of the bands in just want you to show up. Don’t be intimidated by the line-up or how much is going on. There is something at Sled Island for everyone.

 If you get your hands on one of our programs you can find descriptions of each of the artists so it’s easy to find something that you like. In addition, our website is really interactive. Once you create an account you can favourite different things which can help you plan out your Sled Island schedule with ease.   

Get your ticket for Sled Island RIGHT HERE.