Kevin Brasier recently moved to Ontario from Sackville N.B., and is currently volunteering for Weird Canada, and working at Sonic Boom Records. Having co-organized Stereophonic between 2012-2014, Kevin is back in town to cover a music festival very close to his heart.

I’m feeling pretty nostalgic here at the CHMA HQ, located on the third floor of the Wallace-McCain Student center. I’m here to try to make sense of the first night of Stereophonic, Sackville’s incredible winter-music festival fundraiser for the greatest community station in the land, and my own sense of loss from leaving this magic town. And I need to do so fast enough to have a few drinks at Thunder & Lightning before the Parter show starts at 5:00PM!

Since the temperature has dropped below zero in Toronto, I’ve been (relatively) on my best behavior. It’s easy to cut your drinking down to once a week when you don’t have a Ducky’s or a Thunder & Lightning to go to every night. When I’m not working, I’ve been making friends with my couch. There is, of course, nothing wrong with listening to symphony music and reading voraciously when the weather is cold as hell. But now that I’m back in the Sack, I feel ready to subject myself to some dangerous, bodily harming fun. If you were at Thunder & Lightning last night at around midnight, you would know that the whole town generally seems to be on the same page.

A nice crowd is sitting at the Bridge Street Café, where former resident Corey Isenor, and Stereophonic super veteran Adam Mowery are playing (he’s only missed one of the twelve festivals). It was hard not to be distracted– there were so many people to embrace! I’m back! It’s true – thanks to co-organizers Ilse and Scott, the rats have been reunited, and have been let out of the proverbial cage. Just try and stop us!

One of the major changes to the town is the remodeling of the bowling alley behind Thunder & Lightning. Now a full-blown music venue, the bar that SappyFest built is certainly the place to BE this weekend. Old Bones is a new Sackville band featuring Poppa Jim Anderson, Steve Haley, Downtown Scotty Brown, and Jonny-Too-Bad-Mckiel. What a line up! I was expecting something a little more laid back, but was blown away by the tasty power pop jams these cats were dishing out. Yes b’ys!

Painful Shivers features some key killer-haze players who have all moved to Montreal: Nic Wilson of YELLOWTEETH, Zak and Joel from Astral Gunk, and Kayley Patterson of the Moni Jitchells. What a show! What a performance! How I’ve missed hearing Nic’s brilliant lyrics and melodies! Incredible! They played an amazing cover of a Mouthbreathers B-side, Fortune Teller, and Lucy Niles and I were all smiles in front of the stage. The real big hit, Blu, featured on the Stereophonic mixtape, just killed me. I love Painful Shivers! Nic Wilson, you’re a genius! Get the tape!

SappyFest sponsored Bry Webb of the Cons to come and perform at the festival. What a present! His songs are powerful, humble, big and small, all at the same time. How does he do it? At one time, Leanne Larecy was dancing with her eyes closed at the front, as two women were crying, laughing, and holding each other to Webb’s tune “Persistent Spirit.” What a sight! Webb mentioned that, just as he was performing for us, his wife was performing contemporary dance across the country in Calgary. Meanwhile, their son was at home in Guelph, being looked after by his mother. Take a moment to mediate on the significance of this! What an incredible and beautiful moment for the family Webb!

Both Adam Mowery (through his cover of Roy Orbison’s Working for the Man), and Bry Webb (through his anecdote about living in Toronto, and happily leaving it to figure his shit out), had me thinking: I don’t want to leave this place! The pressure is on – can I transcend time and space to do and see everything that needs to be seen and done in the next 48 hours?