Various venues in Edmonton, Alberta May 6-8, 2016
Photos courtesy of Jeff Batrelli
Covering a Metal fest is hard work and until we have significant advances in technology that allows us to be in two places at once, there will always have to be compromise and choices at the reporters discretion as to what get covered and what doesn’t. Fortunately at the first annual Shredmonton Metal Fest two of the three venues were situated in the same building so jumping back and forth was not too arduous. I did my best to cover as much as I could and this will be a quick overview of a most triumphant weekend!
The weather in Edmonton could not have been nicer in Edmonton, a city of about 1 million people, located in the center of the prosperous province of Alberta. The main hotel, where discounts for attendees were in place, was a mere three block walk, stumbling distance to and from the main venue.
I arrived Friday night after my 300km drive, quickly checked in, did some CD shopping at one of the largest HMV stores in Canada and then it was off to the venue. Situated in an old building in the heart of downtown, The Starlite Room was the larger upstairs room and the Brixx was the smaller room downstairs. There was a small merchandise area in each venue and there was a decent vendor area with local and regional favourites like Ragnar The Trader, selling cool Norse themed stuff, Absolute Underground (comics, papers and shirts) and a few CD sellers as well. I found a few gems there as well.
Overall the sound and layout of the venues were both excellent, even if the main room had a quirky feature of a sloped floor facing the high stage. A few little bars were scattered about ensuring you never had to wait to get a drink.
One of the highlights for me was the Metal Conference. There were five topics and five panels. The Shaw Convention Center is a gorgeous building and was only five blocks away from the concert hall. The break-out room was large enough to easily accommodate the few dozen attendees. The Conference ran from 10:00am until 3:00pm and was well moderated and the PA made it easy fro everyone to hear. There could have been a bit of time scheduled to move people in and out of the room between panels and have bathroom breaks. My full bias must be disclosed, I was asked to speak at the panel and I enjoyed all the panels thoroughly making new contacts and getting great ideas from various industry experts.
Following more drinks, meals, record shopping and chit-chat with industry people it was time to get back to the venue for Night Two.
Things wrapped up at about 2:00am and everyone was in good spirits, and the parties ran deep into the night, some of the hardy souls getting to be on the dawn patrol.
Sunday was more recording shopping in Edmonton’s decent independent record stores with more gens to be found. The last night was situated solely in the Starlite Room, which was a nice change from having to run up and down the stairs. I was worried that having bands on a Sunday might see a diminished crowd but fortunately, that was not the case, in fact there might have been even more people on the Sunday. The start time was a bit earlier which made sense for those who had to travel and work on Monday.
Overall, I’d say Shredmonton was a complete success! It was well organized, everything ran smoothly, it had a good wide selection of bands, the conference was informative and it seemed like everyone had a good time. If and when there is Shredmonton 2, I’d recommend that you consider attending this cool new Western Canadian Metal festival.