What better way to begin winding down summertime than with a music festival? It’s been 18 long, long months, and the people of Edmonton were served a real treat on the weekend of August 20th, thanks to the massive Together Again Outdoor Concert Series, taking place at the in-field of the Northlands Exhibition Grounds, put on by Trixstar Events. Trixstar has many renditions of the concert series scheduled at the Exhibition Grounds; Spread throughout various weekends in the month of August and trickling into September, featuring a plethora of Canadian artists.
Friday night’s show featured acts tailoring to rock ’n roll lovers, serving up a healthy dose of The Sheepdogs, Default, The Dirty Nil, The Watchmen, and Edmonton’s own Sparrow Blue. The anticipation was thick in the air from the moment the gates opened. Despite threats of rain, there was nothing that could dampen the mood at the in-field. Sparrow Blue kicked off the evening with their punchy rock sound, setting the tone for what was to come that evening. Followed up by The Watchmen, who continued the trend of delivering heavy bass lines and catchy vocal melodies. The Dirty Nil brought their signature punk-rock vibe with authority, tearing up the stage with their impressive energy and grit.
Default then ensured that the theme of grit, heavy guitar riffs and familiar melodies would go on, as they performed a set that had the whole in-field singing along and craving more. Last but not least, The Sheepdogs took to the stage in fashion, appearing to have walked out of the ’70s, the Saskatchewan rockers delivered a full set of groovy tones and sweet sing-along tunes that they’re so well known for, being sure to have their Friday night audience leaving with smiles on their faces and a bounce in their step.
Saturday night was quite easily the most welcoming sight for a music fan after going through a year and a half without live music. Blue Rodeo sold out the entire in-field of Northlands and it was a beautiful thing to see! Kicking off the evening with a local rising star, country music singer song-writer Hailey Benedict opened up the show with sass and a healthy mix of original and cover tunes. Ramping up the fun, Captain Tractor dominated the stage with a plethora of folk tunes that encouraged the whole crowd to sing along. An eagerness came over the crowd as The Dead South then took to the stage. The bluegrass-folkers completely dominated their performance with gritty vocal harmonies and wailing musicianship, winning the hearts of Edmontonians, and fancying themselves as the favourite of the evening.
Even before singing and playing his first notes, Alan Doyle had the entire in-field within the palm of his hand. The Newfie singer-songwriter was so pleased to see the number of people gathered at the festival that evening, and declared that this event as: “the biggest pub show in Canada, ever!” Alan and his band of elite musicians played their way through songs of hardships, tales of the sea, and the joys of drinking with friends and loved ones, all the while delivering unparalleled harmonies that had the whole sold-out audience clapping and dancing along.
Finally, Blue Rodeo entered the stage with nothing but smiles on their faces. The country-folk Canadians played through a set of fan favourites and newer tunes; encouraging audience members to get up and dance, sing and simply live in the moment, which was truly a beautiful sight to behold. As Blue Rodeo said their final farewells, they bid health and wellness to those gathered in the in-field, which left festival-goers feeling enthusiastic and ready for next weekend’s round of Together Again’s outdoor performances.