Words and photos by Zoe Lebrun
Yes Fest is all about bringing obscure, up-and-coming bands of various genres into the spotlight. This was accomplished in spades this year at the first official festival put on by Yes Wave Promotions. The festival took place over three days at various venues in Winnipeg and featured fourteen bands from all across Canada. While it was not without its hiccups, the festival was still a smashing success, and Yes Wave promoters have big dreams for the festival in the coming years.
On June 14th, music lovers braved the oncoming storm to see Whoop-szo, Mahogany Frog, and Casual Friday play at the Handsome Daughter for night one of Yes Fest. Luckily for show-goers, the power remained on despite the wind and rain and an awesome show was able to proceed as planned.
Night two of Yes Fest consisted of GHOST TWIN, p o u t, and Randy Jupiter, who brought an enigmatic energy to the stage at Forth. The minimalist and deconstructed atmosphere of Forth was brought to life as each band came on stage, and the crowd’s excitement grew as the night went on. Randy Jupiter started off the show with a laid back yet playful set; their light dance jams warmed people up as they made their way to the floor.
Next up was p o u t, who brought us back down to earth through their jazzy and low-key sad vibes. Accompanied by beautiful harmonies and saxophone, the band serenaded audience members and created a relaxed energy throughout the whole venue.
GHOST TWIN finished the night off with a thrilling electronic set that had everyone on their feet and dancing as soaring vocals and unique electronica sound filled the space around them.
June 16th, the final day of Yes Fest, was special in the sense that they had one group of bands play outside during the day and another group indoors in the evening, with both lineups taking place at X-Cues Café and Lounge. X-Cues brought a fun and lively energy to the night’s performances; in between bands you could watch the football game, grab a drink with friends, or play one of the many varieties of game tables there, such as pool or ping-pong.
The outdoor performance lineup consisted of mostly acoustic sets from Uncle Sinner, Ora Cogan, Ciel, and Eldur. As for the evening show, A Topiary took the stage first, and with it, the attention of the whole venue. Dressed in large, flowery gowns and masks, the band played with a theatrical energy that conveyed a wide range of emotional expression, even with their faces covered. They also rocked a totally unique take on the song ‘Heart of Glass’.
Next up was Toronto band Deliluh, who brought a strange and compelling intensity to the stage. Their dark, post-rock sound and stripped-down vocals were completely captivating, and as their set faded out with a haunting saxophone solo, you were left wanting more.
Sightlines took the stage afterwards with their classic rock vibes and had the whole crowd up on their feet and jamming out in no time. Their stage presence was incredibly energetic, and this transferred to the crowd with ease, which grew throughout their set.
Last but not least, Mulligrub took the stage and closed the festival for us with their fun and summery set. The band’s cool and laid back vibes were the perfect end to an evening full of great music, dancing, and laughter, as well as a successful first Yes Fest.