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“As Far As First Impressions, I’m Blown Away” Moosefest 2021 Arrives With Authority

Updated: May 16, 2023

By Will Yannacoulias

photos by Deanna Roos of Contingent Colours Photography

*Seven Mile Sun opened the night with their brand of high energy garage rock

By all accounts, MooseFest 2021 was a roaring success. The nascent festival, organized by Mark Poppen and Joel Gaudet, featured Saskatchewan indie rockers Seven Mile Sun, League Of Wolves and The Steadies, as well as a pair of acoustic performances from Kitchener Langfield. The hamlet of Bellevue, where Gaudet and Poppen of Funky Moose Records and producers of the Sit Down Podcast reside, was the unlikely scene of Saturday’s soiree. NSMZ was on the scene, speaking to organizers and performers about the fun filled night and the events leading up to it.

Organizer Mark Poppen, wide-eyed and wearing a smile of disbelief, told NSMZ “I’m relieved. As soon as Seven Mile Sun got on stage, I said ‘alright, this is real, it’s actually happening’. Once the first song was done and everyone started cheering, I said ‘OK, we’re good. I need a beer!’” The crowd was a balanced mix of Bellevue scenesters out to support the local enterprise, booster clubs of friends and fans for each of the bands, and a peppering of die-hards just looking to hear some live rock and roll. “The crowd is a big mixture of all sorts of people” Poppen shared. “There’s some from Bellevue, quite a few familiar faces actually. The bands brought some people in as well.” When asked about the genesis of such an ambitious idea, Poppen explained that “I grew up attending festivals, and always knew in the back of my mind, if I ever got the opportunity to do something like that, I’m doing it. A few months ago Earl Pereira from the Steadies called us and said ‘I have an opening August 7, you have dibs if you want to do that music festival you’ve been talking about’. Earl called on a Friday around 9:00 PM, we started calling people and had the other bands booked, the hall booked, the food and the bar outsourced by Sunday.”

League Of Wolves frontman Dillon Currie explained how his band’s performance at Moosefest came out of an appearance on The Sit Down podcast. “We hooked up with them through the podcast, back in the Spring of 2020. We really liked what they were doing, we really connected with them. They approached us about doing the festival and we were really excited. This is our first show back, our first time performing since February 2020.” Currie dismissed the possibility of stage fright after such a long time away. “ I can only speak for myself but I’m nervous in a good way. Seeing Seven Mile Sun’s performance I can tell the audience is really excited, it’s what I expected, what I remembered.” Currie too was impressed with the mixed makeup of the Moosefest audience. “There’s some familiar faces out there, faces I haven’t seen in a year and a half which is really nice. But there’s a lot of new faces out there too. People have traveled for the bands but there’s a lot of people from Bellevue too. I know I saw a lot of locals walking here when we pulled up. As far as first impressions, I’m blown away.”

*League of Wolves delighted the crowd with their arena ready brand of hard rock

The eclectic mix of artists was further diversified by two unannounced solo sets by Kitchener Langfield, better known for his work in alternative rock groups Cadillac and Old Sols. Langfield enjoyed performing Cadillac and Old Sols songs alone on the acoustic guitar as a break from the norm. “It’s something that I’ll do if I’m asked, because I love to play music in any form. Despite the fact that I write on an acoustic, my songs are always made with the intent to be played electric.” When asked about the variety of artists on the bill, Langfield helped to illustrate what connects them all. “The Saskatoon music scene is very intermingled, we all work together. Aspen Beveridge (who performed at Moosefest as guitarist for League of Wolves) is also a producer with Skull Creek Studios. He recorded Seven Mile Sun’s record, he’s recorded League of Wolves stuff, He’s recorded Cadillac’s stuff as well and will be recording Old Sols. Skull Creek Studios and Prehistoric Productions, who they are closely associated with, are a driving force behind so much of the Saskatoon music scene.”

At the end of each episode of the Sit Down podcast, Poppen and Gaudet anoint each guest as “now being part of the family”. The energy, camaraderie and fun shared by all the performers and audience members is a testament to the strong bonds that connect the Funky Moose family. Perfectly organized and brimming with premier talent, It’s hoped by all who attended and performed that MooseFest becomes an annual event and grows to become a full weekend of music.

*The Steadies ended the night on a high note with their high energy take on funk, soul and reggae

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