Laketown Shakedown 2022 launched with a Canadian heavy lineup for day 1. It’s been three years since the festival has taken place and it was great to finally be back at Laketown Ranch.
Weather for the first day was basically perfect with warm temperatures, but not overly hot with some cloud cover for most of the afternoon.
I arrived just after 3pm when gates opened. There were some hiccups at the box office’s will call with some passes. I was delayed entering the festival helping a friend get her pass. Another small issue was and the ability to upgrade hillside passes to pit passes did not become available for those who wanted to until around 7pm due to wifi issues.
Vernon’s Daysormay opened the day on the main stage. I don’t know what it is about audiences at festivals at Laketown Ranch, but at every single one I’ve covered whether it be Laketown Shakedown, Laketown Rock or SunFest, the audiences never seem to show up until later in the day. Maybe it was because the first day was a Thursday or that a lot of people were still settling into their campsites.
Vancouver-based Mauvey was next on the main stage wearing a fittingly mauve coloured robe. He performed without a band or DJ, but was very engaging on his own.
While Mauvey’s set continued on the main stage, Nokturnal Funk kicked off the Lakenight stage at the top of the hill. The DJ was joined by a hoop dancer. Another DJ, GI Blunt followed at around the dinner hour.
Victoria’s Vince Vaccaro was next on the main stage. He performed a set of new songs, purposely not performing anything from his back catalog of singles.
2019 Polaris Prize winner and recent Juno Award recipient, Haviah Mighty performed to a finally growing festival audience, though she deserved a bigger crowd for a rising star in Canadian hip-hop. Haviah Mighty is probably going to be headlining festivals like this some day.
Things finally got rolling at the venue with Lights bringing some pep to the main stage. People were dancing, women were on people’s shoulders, a guy was dancing with a water cooler jug of water, and there was even a red whacky inflatable tube man. One personal highlight was finally being able to see Lights perform one of her first singles ‘February Air’ live.
Hamilton, Ontario’s Arkells headlined Thursday. Before the set a graphic was shown on the video screen stating to all festival attendees, “It’s been 1243 days since Arkells played the island. One night only, all ticket holders are welcome to the pit. Now let’s dance.”
The band was joined by a horn section for their 17 song set and 3 song encore kicking it off with ‘Years in The Making’. Haviah Mighty made a guest appearance part way through the set. Lights also had a guest spot during the encore helping with a cover of ABBA’s ‘Gimme Gimme Gimme’. After the show I overheard one person in the pit tell their partner, “That was worth the price of admission!”
The first night of the festival would continue late into the night as Felix Cartal continued the dance party on the main stage while Victoria hip-hop artist BRAINiac rapped on the Lakenight stage featuring his crew from Ruze Records.
Longwalkshortdock and Def3 would both perform after midnight, but due to having to commute back and forth to the festival from Victoria, I had to miss both their sets.
Day 2 of Laketown Shakedown features Wu Tang Clan, Sugar Ray, Dear Rouge, and more Friday. Saturday’s lineup includes The Glorious Sons, JJ Wilde and Five Alarm Funk. Tickets are available at laketownshakedown.com and at the venue box office.