Five Must-See Acts at Vancouver's Inaugural Fest with No Name

The country event will launch in Vancouver on July 20 and 21

Photo: Ryan Kostel

BY Exclaim! StaffPublished May 14, 2024

I've been through the desert to the Fest with No Name, it felt good to be in the Pacific temperate rainforest. There's a brand-new country-leaning festival coming to Vancouver (presented by MODO Live), taking place July 20 and 21 at the city's PNE Centre Grounds.

The event coincides with country music's explosion in mainstream pop culture, with organizers shining a light on some of the genre's most raw and traditional aspects. Attendees can prepare themselves for two days of rustic roots and backwoods barnburners. There's even a mechanical bull and a VIP saloon.

Tickets are on sale here. Read on for the five must-see acts on the bill.

Mariel Buckley
Calgary songwriter Mariel Buckley makes the kind of music that's referred to with terms like "heartland rock" or "alt-folk" — but, even when she updates the sonic palette with the odd synth pad, her songs remain a pure expression of old-school country melancholy. Her 2022 album Everywhere I Used to Be is full of underdog anthems and empathetic, uncompromising individuality. What's more country than that?

Shane Ghostkeeper
As the singer-guitarist and namesake of Ghostkeeper, songwriter Shane Ghostkeeper has spent the past decade and a half making unpredictable, esoteric indie rock. On 2023's solo LP Songs for My People, he explores country music for the first time, paying tribute to the Métis communities of Paddle Prairie, High Level and Rocky Lane, around whom he grew up in the area now known as Northern Alberta.

Nikki Lane
Semi-frequent Lana Del Rey collaborator (and probably one of the driving forces behind Lana's rumoured country reinvention), Nikki Lane makes the kind of muscular, stiff-chinned country rock that's built for festival stages. Songs like "First High" and "Denim and Diamonds" make a strong case for Lane as one of modern country's more exciting voices — her star's been steadily on the rise for a while now, catch her while you can.

Midland
Small-town Texas trio Midland bring traditional country to the country music mainstream. From Grammy Award nominations to Billboard chart appearances, Midland are the antidote to the slick, high-production glossiness of so much of modern pop country. They articulate their own retro appeal in the lyrics of "Cheatin' Songs": "She's bringing back cheatin' songs / The kind of hurt that gets you singin' along / Somethin' circa 1973."

Shane Smith & the Saints
Specializing in the red dirty country sound of Oklahoma, Austin, TX's Shane Smith & the Saints have a knack for sounding as intimate as they do grand. One moment, they're having a back-porch hoedown with banjo, fiddle and pitter-pattern rhythms; the next, the gigantic electric guitars kick in and propel their tunes to big, booming crescendos.

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