Nfld. & Labrador

Iceberg Alley's big blue tent pops up for Round 2 at Quidi Vidi Lake

The 2018 edition of the music festival will see performances by Serena Ryder, Alan Doyle, Billy Talent and more, running from Sept. 12-22.

Rain or shine, organizer says music festival should be a success

Iceberg Alley organizer Seamus O'Keefe says that the festival is growing in year two. (Andrew Sampson/CBC)

If you're running an outdoor music festival in Newfoundland and Labrador, it sometimes doesn't matter how much prep work is done or the quality of the lineup. The event's success or failure could always come down to one thing — the weather.

Organizers of the Iceberg Alley music festival found a way to have the best of both worlds last year, and they're back with the big tent for round two this week.

"We wanted to find a venue that took weather out of the equation and as you can tell it's pouring outside and we're pretty dry in here," said event manager Seamus O'Keefe on Wednesday, as crews prepared for the first shows.

"If this was a normal outdoor concert we probably wouldn't go tonight."

The 2018 edition of the festival will see performances by Serena Ryder, Alan Doyle, Billy Talent and more, running from Sept. 12-22.

Ria Mae, Big Wreck and Billy Talent are some of the acts performing over the next 10 days on the shores of Quidi Vidi Lake. (CBC)

O'Keefe said the tent was purchased from a company who used it for Disney On Ice shows, and the size often startles first-time visitors when they step inside.

"It blows them away. It's not your traditional environment, like a Mile One scenario," he said.

The tent feels much bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside. (Andrew Sampson/CBC)

From the outside, it looks like a bigger version of a regular tent.

Inside, there are tall ceilings, a range of different rooms, different food vendors like Saucy Mouth and Soul Azteca, and new this year: a candy store.

"Tents are very popular throughout Europe and we wanted to bring that experience to St. John's."

Free vintage pinball machines are scattered throughout the festival tent. (Andrew Sampson/CBC)

He said since the success of last year's festival, he's had requests to use the tent for events ranging from cars shows to circuses. 

A musician does a sound check inside the tent on Wednesday afternoon. (Andrew Sampson/CBC)

He hasn't settled on a new use for the tent just yet, so for now, music is the main attraction.

"Come on down. It's warm, it's dry, and we're all ready for you," he said.

One of the new additions this year in the festival tent? A candy bar. Yep. (Andrew Sampson/CBC)

O'Keefe said early sales have been strong, and 90 per cent of tickets are purchased in advance.

On Thursday evening, Big-Wreck, 54-40 and Mick Davis & Thin Love will perform at the opening night party.

"This is a labour of love. A lot of people put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into this project ... it's going to be something special."