Live Nation and Wideglide Entertainment presented Laketown Shakedown 2019 live at Laketown Ranch Friday June 28 to Sunday June 30, 2019.
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The festival began with a day of local talent. Metchosin’s Jesse Roper headlined with a near two-hour set in front of an adoring crowd at The Flats stage just outside the main venue of Laketown Ranch. Vancouver’s The Boom Booms performed what is likely their final show on Vancouver Island. The band is packing it in soon, but they looked like they were having the time of their lives. Keyboardist Sean Ross brought his toddler on stage at one point to “speak” on the mic.
Beginning the day was Lost Octave who clearly had a following of fans and friends up front rocking out to their music. The crowd for Diamond Cafe started off a little slow, but the audience built up soon after they heard Tristan Thompson’s voice during his R&B jams.
The Lake Night stage located at the top of the hill inside the main venue featured DJs each night until the wee hours of the morning. Friday began with Victoria locals SIDEWAY and Mt. Doyle and closed out with Kelowna’s Stickybuds.
Attendance for the early bands Saturday started off slow. We always feel awkard for the artists that have to open the main stage at festivals at Laketown Ranch. The main stage is massive with a large field that’s partitioned because of a tiered ticketing system. So instead of having a few hundred gathered at the front of the stage, there’s a few dozen up front and then everyone else is scattered further back while the rest of the festival attendees are recovering from hangovers at their campsites.
With that said, Vancouver’s Louise Burns (Saturday) and The Faceplants (Sunday) performed impressive sets on their respective days opening the main stage.
Toronto’s The Sorority added a little hip hop flavour to Saturday that probably would have been a better fit genre-wise on Sunday considering that’s when Snoop Dogg headlined. Having seen The Sorority a couple times now, these ladies are fun to watch.
Five Alarm Funk brought their usual high energy and zany show that had the crowds dancing. Their keyboardist had multiple costume changes and props including a rubber severed arm.
Black Pistol Fire set the main stage ablaze with pure rock with guitarist/lead singer Kevin McKeown running around the stage and jumping off the drum kit. The only disappointment for our photographer was that the duo was subdued during the first three songs (relatively speaking) and saved most of what would be considered photo gold (going in to the crowd, playing guitar lying on the stage, etc.) for near the end of their set.
Incubus headlined Saturday night with a “stellar” (see what we did there?) set in front of approximately 5000 fans. At one point they even sneaked in a bit of Snoop Dogg’s ‘Gin and Juice’ into the show.
Over on the second stage, youth showcase band Tuesday’s Roadkill opened the day followed by Victoria’s Steve Wise and The Big Feelings and Vancouver duo Phono Pony. All three sets suffered a little in the crowd department due to either people not leaving their campsites until later or others going to the main stage and parking themselves there.
Vancouver’s Bend Sinister has been around for nearly two decades, but their music is as fresh as ever. They performed one of our favourite sets from The Flats stage.
Closing out thee state was the Lance Lapointe band performing a set of covers to let the late night partiers end the night.
Up on at the DJ stage, Victoria’s DJ Murge headlined with Goldfish, BOUSADA and Jennay Badger opening.
The Sunday of Laketown Shakedown can be kind of summed up by one sentence… They ran out of beer. At least that was the case in general admission where by the time Sublime with Rome were on stage there was just a few cans of Lucky lager left. The craft brewery beers were gone first from what we heard. Attendance was close to the levels seen at country music festival SunFest, which is a first for the Laketown Shakedown/Laketown Rock fests.
The day once again started of slow attendance wise with youth band The Porter Brothers opening the Flats stage followed by Victoria duo LIINKS. LIINKS singer Georgia Murray even called out the campers yelling in their direction to get out of their tents.
Mob Bounce brought some indigenous hip hop and were followed by Victoria hip hop Illvis Freshly. At the end of their set Illvis Freshly DJ Mt. Doyle crowd surfed on a pizza shaped floatie.
Over at the main stage Grandson stole the show with Jordan Edward Benjamin bounding all over the stage with his bandmates to growing raucous festival crowd.
One of the most talked about names on the Laketown Shakedown lineup was Smash Mouth. Whether it was excitement, surprise or pure disdain, there was a lot of buzz about their inclusion in the festival. Whatever your expectations were, you got what you thought you were going to get. There were Shreks in the audience and people belted out the lyrics to ‘All-Star’ with joy. One boy that Smash Mouth brought on stage from side stage to sing the start of a song mistakenly started singing ‘All-Star’ when the actual song was ‘Walkin’ on the Sun’. The band looked like they were having a good time, though at times lead singer Steve Harwell seemed pre-occupied with chatting with audience members and trying to influence them to come up on stage. At one point he even had stagehands get a woman in the VIP balcony a rye and coke.
Sublime with Rome performed a set full of recognizable hits which was unfortunately marred by sound issues, but fans didn’t mind much. One thing we felt was missing was with their upbeat ska punk sound, there was a lack of band interaction and movement.
Finally, Snoop Dogg took the stage right on time and performed about a 53 minute set. His show featured pole dancers and Snoop shooting a “money gun” that had $100 bills with his face on it flying into the crowd. He performed his own hits and verses from other artists songs he was featured in and also tribute to other rappers. The set was shorter than some people expected, but most left happy that someone of Snoop’s caliber was even performing on the island to begin with.
After two years geared towards a more classic rock style, Lakedown Shakedown seems to have landed on a potentially winning mixed genre formula. Here’s hoping the festival grows and brings an equally entertaining lineup in 2020.