Music festival something to be built upon

Marty Ballentyne performs during the 2018 Pretty in Punk Music Fest at the Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club on September 1, 2018 (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

Organizers of Pretty in Punk have big plans for the future

LJ Kimbley and Gabrielle Giroux weren’t sure how many people were going to show up to the inaugural Pretty in Punk music festival Saturday.

The local musicians put a lot on the line to organize the event, using funds out of their own pockets. While they weren’t sure how exactly many people came over the course of the 12-hour day, they were happy with the atmosphere and pleased with how many did journey to the newly-refurbished basement space of the Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club.

“I’m completely blown away,” said Kimbley, who performs under the stage name LJ Tyson.

“This was just something we dreamed up. We really expected no one to show up. The music scene for P.A., for live music like this, people just coming together for pure enjoyment of music, it’s lacking right now. So to have so many people come out and support the music scene, I think me and Gabby are at a loss for words right now.”

Part of the apprehension was the price tag — $30 in advance for the day, or $40 at the door. While some people came and went during Saturday’s festivities, close to Close to 100 people were around for the final act, Bombargo, and most were on their feet throughout the performance.

“All the bands were a highlight, I can’t pick one favourite,” Kimbley said.

“But Bombargo was a great way to end the night. It wasn’t a cheap ticket, and people showed up. That’s dope.”

Both Kimbley and Giroux also took to the stage themselves. Kimbley, who has been performing more country and pop-inspired music as of late, returned to his rock roots with a hodgepodge band made up of members of other acts. He had Travis Beatty of Between Bridges on guitar, Black Rain’s Kevin Joseph on bass and special guest Marty Ballentyne of Breach of Trust fame on vocals and guitar.

That collection of musicians was emblematic of the festival itself.

“It was an example of the eclectic groups of musicians in the room,” Kimbley said.

“We ran into some trouble calling our festival Pretty in Punk, because it’s not all punk bands, but it’s the punk attitude.”

“I think Pretty in Punk is all about uniqueness and the punk attitude of being yourself,” Giroux added. “All the bands we chose were based on that, doing it their own way, going down their own path. We want to stick with that, not just make it into a punk festival.”

Most of the bands at the festival come from Prince Albert, while others hail from Saskatoon, and at least one from Alberta. Area staples Black Rain played a short set, as did up-and-comers Friends Band and Between Bridges. Too Soon Monsoon and Bombargo were two acts who made the trip up from Saskatoon.

Giroux also took a turn on stage, as her band, Prince Albert’s The Wolfe, was billed as the headliner, along with Bombargo.

“The crowd was so interactive, so into it,” she said.

“It was probably one of the best crowds we’ve played to. It just shows that there’ a need for more live music, a need for more festivals. People love it, they just have to come out and experience it once and they’ll be hooked.”

To that end, Giroux and Kimbley hinted at plans to attempt to grow the festival into something bigger.

“It’s definitely going to be happening again,” Giroux said.”

“We have big plans,” Kimbley added.

“We have something great for next year, but along the way, our goal is to get the music scene to a point where we get hundreds of people coming out to enjoy something like this. We have major plans, and we’re going to be announcing them sooner than people might think.”

For now, though, the musicians are grateful to everyone who helped them put on their first big daylong show.

“A lot of bands showed up early and stayed the whole day,” Giroux said.

“A lot of these bands were our close friends who wanted to come and help us out for our first year,” said Kimbley.

“They didn’t get paid what they should, they did it out of the goodness of their hears, and that’s what the music scene is about. Today was all love.

“We’re so behind our computer screens all the time, and behind our phones that we forget what it’s like to let loose and dance around. It’s nice to be able to feel that vibe. I feel like there’s something to be grown here.”

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