Gabrielle Giroux and LJ Kimbley wanted to play a different kind of music festival.
So, the Prince Albert-based musicians Giroux of The Wolfe and Kimbley, who performs his solo project as LJ Tyson, decided to make their own.
The inaugural Pretty in Punk festival will rock the Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club* on Saturday, Sept. 1, featuring some top talent and local up-and-comers.
“It’s me and Gabrielle’s way of giving back to the music community that gave so much to us,” Kimbley said.
“We want to give new musicians a chance to hit a stage that is brand new and accepting and inclusive.”
The first batch of artists was announced this week and includes Bombargo, the Wolfe and Too Soon Monsoon, all area bands who can draw a crowd on their own.
Other groups making the trip include Alien to the Ignorant and Killjoy out of Saskatoon, Friends, a new band in Prince Albert, National Hotel, which is named after the P.A. landmark but based out of Edmonton and Kimbley’s latest musical project, Hyv.
“We always feel like there’s not enough going on in P.A. for music, so we wanted to add something with our own spin on it,” Kimbley said.
“This is for everyone. There’s no specific group. It’s called Pretty in Punk, and we feel like the whole lifestyle of being punk is going against the grain and doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing. That was our motivation.”
Kimbley said he and Giroux, both of whom have played their fair share of music festivals, wanted the challenge the music festival system by doing it their own way.
They took their experiences and tried to do the type of thing they would want to see and they would want to be done.
“We took what we liked, the best of all of those experiences, and brought them to our music festival,” Kimbley said.
“It’s a musician’s festival put on for musicians and just creative people in general.”
The timing was important. As the festival grows in future years, they hope to add things to it, such as a skateboarding demonstration. The temperature has to be right for something like that. The pair also wanted to ensure people could go, including high school and college-aged kids coming back from summer vacation.
And though the festival has the word ‘punk’ in its name, the varieties of styles of music being performed include more than just punk and rock. Hyv is a perfect example.
“I went into the studio to record a country album initially, and I wanted (bandmate Zachary Kerr) to help me out with that. I wanted him to come and record drums for my new country project, but we started working with (music producer) Jesse Weiman in Saskatoon, and suddenly we were making dance music, so we decided to brand it as something else.”
The two-piece band augments its performance with electronic music sequencing and had shifted to a more, top-40 EDM-inspired sound. It’s not quite punk music, but for Pretty in Punk, that’s ok.
“It doesn’t matter what genre it is, as long as you can grove to it, it’s very much welcome at our festival.”
Kimbley said he’s honoured bigger acts like Bombargo have agreed to play at the fledgling festival, especially because many are donating their time to perform. He and Giroux are funding the festival out of their own pocket. The aim is to make the festival a safe space, where people can feel comfortable singing, dancing or just enjoying the show.
“I feel like you can go to a music venue and you never really know what to expect, or who’s going to be there,” Kimbley said.
“For a lot of self-conscious people or people struggling with anxiety they have to worry about where they’re going, what’ going to be there, who they’re going to see, and we want this to be the safest space. We want everyone to feel completely welcome. We want people to feel like they can dance and not be judged, or sing and not be judged. We want this to be that festival in P.A.”
Tickets for the festival are on sale. It will be held in the Golf and Curling Club’s basement, a wide-open space Kimbley said is sadly underused.
And while the festival already has a respectable line-up of talent, more announcements are expected.
“We do have a personal mandate to add some Aboriginal acts in there as well,” Kimbley said, “so we’re going to be announcing a few more headliners.”
Tickets can be purchased online through Eventbrite. Details are available on the festival’s Facebook page
*This is a corrected story. The original story said the event was being held at the golf course, not the Golf and Curling Club. The Herald regrets the error.