Slow start to great talent


(Contributed photo)

Despite not being familiar with the Waterloo region, Gavin Gardiner, the lead singer of Canadian folk band The Wooden Sky, has much in common with the average Laurier student.

“I spent a lot of time [in Waterloo] when I first moved to [Toronto], I had some friends here … so I spent a lot of time running back and forth … I liked the pizza.”

Thankfully, The Wooden Sky will be reunited with their beloved pizza on Saturday Sept. 14, as they will be playing this year’s KOI Music Festival.

KOI Music Festival, now in its third year, aims to put Kitchener-Waterloo on the music map boasting headliners such as Cute is What We Aim For and Treble Charger.  The brainchild of brothers Cory and Curt Crossman, KOI Music Festival is quickly becoming a well-respected festival to play at.

The Wooden Sky first began as a school project when Gardiner, a student at Ryerson University, began writing songs.

“I used to think the only way to play music was to have a band, so I ended up moving to Toronto [and going to Ryerson University] … I kind of had this dream that I would be sleeping on the floor of a grungy venue … that didn’t happen.”

Instead, Gardiner went on to meet the future members of The Wooden Sky. However they did not define themselves as a band for about “five years” after playing together.

“It took about five years to find the right people  … [and we thought] maybe we have some good ideas now, that means we can take it on the road from there.”

Despite their confusing beginnings, The Wooden Sky is becoming more well-defined. This past year, The Wooden Sky has recently won an Indie award for Folk/Roots Artist Or Group Of The Year and were nominated for a Juno award for their most recent album Every Child a Daughter, Every Moon a Sun.

“We’ve been loving everyday so it doesn’t feel so crazy because it doesn’t feel like it came out of nowhere. We put in a lot of work. When all this stuff started happening at the same time, we were like ‘Huh! People are noticing the amount of work that we’re doing.”

“[Being nominated for a Juno award] was neat … it was nice for [all our loved ones] to see that people recognize the amount of work that we do. I never had my grandma call me to congratulate me on something [on this large of a scale] before.”

This year, The Wooden Sky saw themselves putting on a mobile concert which was subsequently broadcast by Indie88.

“We were approached by the SummerWorks Performance Festival … I got together with the director and we started talking about the relationship between the audience and the performer and how to play with that relationship.”

“We’ve had a lot of unique venues … like parks, houses, canoes and in gondolas … we just decided to take all those ideas and roll them into one long four hour show.”

A mobile concert is exactly how it sounds: a concert on the run. However it created a much more emotional effect on both audience and performers alike than anyone originally thought.

As the audience moved with the band, who played in four to six locations over four hours, Gardiner described it as “[the audience] becoming part of the show.”

Join the Wooden Sky for a more traditional show at KOI Music Festival this weekend.

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