Festival goers enjoy the music at the 2019 Interstellar Rodeo. The music festival will not return for 2020, ceasing operations after eight years.
Larry Wong / Postmedia
The Festival City has lost one of its mainstays, as Interstellar Rodeo founder Six Shooter Records announced Tuesday that the beloved music festival has ceased operations after eight years.
A statement released on the Interstellar Rodeo website noted “From 2012-2019, Interstellar Rodeo presented a dizzying range of sound and stories, all united under the sails by a common thread of artistic excellence. From Beck to Rhiannon Giddens, Wilco to Whitehorse, Tanya Tagaq to St. Vincent to Sharon Van Etten to Sheila E., Interstellar Rodeo’s commitment to showcasing musical greatness in all its many forms created an experience that immediately struck a chord with fans, particularly for the festival’s element of discovery.”
The news comes on the heels of Astral Harvest ceasing operations, while the Up + Downtown Music Festival and Sonic Boom have recently reduced their size and scope, reflecting the difficulties festival organizers experience in their efforts to keep the music going.
“There are many contributing factors, but primarily the main driver of this decision was that we have three business — a record label, management company and festival,” said Shauna de Cartier, founder of Six Shooter Records and one of the driving forces behind Interstellar Rodeo. “The festival, as much as we love it, takes focus away from the other aspects of the business that are thriving. It was a business decision based on where to apply your resources and your time. If the other business weren’t doing so well it may have been a different decision.”
She noted that while managing Edmonton folk-rock band Captain Tractor, a show at the Heritage Amphitheatre in 1999 inspired her to create an event at the site as “a collection of all my loved ones in Edmonton.”
“Interstellar Rodeo meant everything to me personally,” said de Cartier. “It’s partly how I define myself, and that came about because I had so much involvement from my family. When I started the festival, at Christmas the year before I told them ‘I need your help.’ My sister did backstage, my brother worked the bar, I had a lot of close family members involved. Overall, I’m proud of all the team leaders and volunteers, the sense of community that we built and that we were able to instil our core values in the festival.”
The full statement can be found below.
Thank you for 11 great festivals
Created by music fans and for music fans, Interstellar Rodeo was a one-of-a-kind festival built from scratch in Winnipeg and Edmonton. Festival founders, Six Shooter Records owners and artist managers Shauna de Cartier and Helen Britton, dreamed big and drilled down into the tiniest details to design an experience worthy of both artists and audiences. The mission: to offer a premium, relaxed, respectful and fun experience from start to finish. Also, the wine needed to be good.
From 2012-2019, Interstellar Rodeo presented a dizzying range of sound and stories, all united under the sails by a common thread of artistic excellence. From Beck to Rhiannon Giddens, Wilco to Whitehorse, Tanya Tagaq to St. Vincent to Sharon Van Etten to Sheila E., Interstellar Rodeo’s commitment to showcasing musical greatness in all its many forms created an experience that immediately struck a chord with fans, particularly for the festival’s element of discovery. Interstellar Rodeo brought dozens of artists to both locales for the first time, a selling point for adventurous and appreciative music lovers. Interstellar was proud to present artists such as Alabama Shakes, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Margo Price, Courtney Barnett, Father John Misty, Adia Victoria, and Perfume Genius for their Edmonton or Winnipeg debuts.
From the first edition in 2012, Interstellar Rodeo’s lineup was built on parity and representative of many voices and communities. Interstellar became a model of art-forward, inclusive programming. With the introduction of side stages to showcase community dance groups and spoken word artists to a strong contingent of artists from northern territories including Yukon and Nunavut, Interstellar Rodeo welcomed and celebrated artists from all over the country and all over the world. This approach to music curation in Interstellar Rodeo’s culture and mandate embodied the core values of Six Shooter’s spirit and ethos. An emphasis on quality of experience drove Interstellar’s philosophy from top to bottom. On the ground, Interstellar Rodeo’s Here To Help team and Code of Care put its mission to create a welcoming and positive environment into action. As its roots grew deeper, Interstellar Rodeo shone the spotlight on community creators and activists through programming and outreach.
Along the way, the festival team learned many lessons, made many friends, and ultimately created a community of people committed to building the festival together. Interstellar Rodeo proudly and fiercely embraced the challenges, roadblocks and surprises that came along the way, a reflection of the grit, determination and enthusiasm of its producers. From Corb Lund Day, by city decree, to opening Interstellar Rodeo 2019 with Jesse Jamz and the Flams, a hometown artist who was rained out the year before, Interstellar Rodeo did everything it could to make sure everyone – from headliners to brand new performers, from those who never missed a year to those who came to see just one artist – felt valued.
No Interstellar Rodeo was like the other, but all Interstellar Rodeos were these things.
Thank you to our volunteers, our sponsors, supporters and partners, our families, the artists, their agents and managers, and most of all, the fans in Edmonton and Winnipeg for making this a truly memorable experience each and every time.