Weekend festival wrap up: Chasing Summer and Terminus
Chasing Summer returned this weekend with a fury. It’s the Calgary festival known just as much for it’s music as it is for it’s scandalous reputation. While it may be the largest electronic music festival in Western Canada, it still hasn’t erased it’s history with hospitalization of attendees.
Before the festival this weekend, Chasing Summer expressed its zero tolerance policy for drug use or possession. But even with the festival’s strong police presence, the occasional dime-bag that was definitely not holding weed was still found on the grounds, the odd joint was still passed and more than a few attendees were noticeably affected by something much stronger than the alcohol offered on site. Calgary EMS have since released that ten people were hospitalized from Chasing Summer during the weekend. Which is down from last year, but is the same as two years ago.
Chasing Summer offered festival fans something different than other festivals in the city provide – a chance to listen to some of the biggest names in popular electronic music. But the abysmal forecast for the weekend put a damper on attendees attitudes. Come Saturday night, the calls of unimpressed patrons were made public on Facebook and Twitter as the rain caused Chasing Summer to momentarily pause sets. Some fans demanded a refund as they stood in the rain waiting as no DJs took the stage.
While at Chasing Summer, I was reminded of June’s Sled Island. What Sled did and has always done right is showcase a diverse range of talent. This only highlighted the fact that Chasing Summers’ lineup was composed almost entirely of men. A mere two female acts played during the entire festival, Rezz and the Tang Twinz. Though I don’t think Chasing Summer made the conscious choice to exclude women, the choice to include was certainly not made either.
It’s clear to see Chasing Summer is trying to improve itself each year with safety initiatives and big international acts. It’s on it’s way to becoming another great Calgary festival to look forward to, but it’s not there yet.
In the meantime Terminus, the dark electronic, synth and industrial music festival, is held in the basement of Dicken’s Pub, the same August long weekend. Though it may not be the music for everybody, if you’re looking for a festival with more diversity in its lineup and a smaller, more inclusive venue, it might be the better choice.
Before Friday I didn’t even know this festival existed, even though it’s been growing bigger for the last five years. Lasting three days, this year it brought major international names in industrial and dark electronic music to Calgary.
One of the most important differences between Chasing Summer and Terminus is the diversity in the lineup. While Chasing Summer’s lineup was almost overwhelmingly filled with white men, one of Terminus’ goals from the start was to bring more diversity to the festival.
Chris Hewitt, owner of Dicken’s Pub and organizer of Terminus, said that every year the effort is made to make the festival more diverse in order to showcase different talent. This year Terminus brought in not only acts from all over the globe but cross-over acts like Cold Cave in order to appeal to a larger crowd.
This commitment to an inclusive space even shown in the festival’s merchandise. One vendor present, Storming the Base was selling shirts and pins with the phrase, “Misogyny is not a music genre” at their booth. As well as a large amount of vegan goth merchandise. Who knew?
Another unexpected benefit Terminus had over Chasing Summer was much more diverse fashion. The creativity within the goth subculture far surpasses seeing yet another drunk bro in a neon muscle shirt and snapback. While Chasing Summer offered a rainbow of neon, I don’t think I’d see someone wearing a skinned fox around their waist anywhere other than Terminus.
Overall, Terminus may be a step outside your comfort zone. But, as someone who has never listened to any music defined as dark, electronic, or industrial I can honestly say I’m glad I took that step.
So next year you might want to forgo the sweaty rave bros for a few days at Dicken’s pub at one of the weirdest, more inclusive and interesting festivals the city has to offer.