Year 2020

1 WL788 Carson Teal @ OCAD Ignite Gallery
2 WL788 Tyriqueordie @ OCAD Ignite Gallery
3 WL20 Winter Fest poster Office Bureau
4 WL20 Fest SlowPitchSound photo Danielle Burton
5 WL20 Fest Sandro Perri photo Danielle Burton
6 WL20 Fest Owen Pallett Les Mouches photo Kate Mulvale
7 WL20 Fest LAL photo Kate Mulvale
8 WL20 Fest Little Scream photo Kate Mulvale
9 WL20 Fest Hidden Cameras photo Kate Mulvale
10 WL20 Silver Pools Sonic Boom photo Danielle Burton
11 WL20 Desiire photo Kate Mulvale
12 WL20 Fest Haviah Mighty photo Kate Mulvale
13 WL20 Fest TRP.P photo Kate Mulvale
14 WL Rapport LiveStream poster Mike Pereira
15 WL Rapport Livestream screenshot
16 WL800 Livestream Minifest poster Derek Ma
17 WL800 Catl Livestream screenshot
18 WL Livestream Tutorial poster Aaron Dawson
19 WL Livescream poster Adam Waito
20 WL Livescream Leucrocuta screenshot
21 WL Westelaken livestream screenshot
22 WL Holiday Special poster Mike Pereira
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2020, what can we say? The year starts off as a momentous one for Wavelength, but for a different reason: February marks our epic 20th anniversary. Wavelength Winter Festival 2020 (WL 789-793, Feb. 13-16) takes over four different venues over four days, from Sneaky Dee’s to Longboat Hall to the Garrison, as well as an afternoon in-store at Sonic Boom. The lineup equally showcases both series veterans — the Hidden Cameras, Owen Pallett’s Les Mouches, LAL, and Sandro Perri — and artists on the rise, curated by Ian Steaman: Haviah Mighty, Torii Wolf, Lou Phelps, Yves Jarvis, and Kaia Kater. The opening night at Sneaky Dee’s (20 years to the day from WL 1) feels like a high school reunion for long-time showgoers. A 20th anniversary ‘zine is printed, featuring stories and memories by scene members, in partnership with Myseum of Toronto.

And no one knows that #WL2020 will be the last in-person music festival in Toronto… for a while. A few weeks later, COVID-19 enters our collective consciousness, and Wavelength postpones its shows planned for March, including (bummer) the book launch for Any Night of the Week: A DIY History of Toronto Music 1957-2001, by WL co-founder and Artistic Director Jonny Dovercourt.

As it becomes clear that lockdowns are going to last more than a few weeks, WL spends the spring figuring out the now-familiar pivot, and how we can make livestreams more interesting than someone playing acoustic guitar on a couch to IG Live. The format evolves quickly, and becomes more creative over the course of the year. Wavelength hosts online webinars to help musicians navigate the new technological “normal.” The WL crew also use the downtime to start sorting through our archives and redesigning our website.

By late summer, it’s considered safe enough for online shows to get livestreamed from venues. To honour the spirit of WL’s summer fests, we celebrate our 800th show with the Wavelength 800 Livestream Mini-Fest, including Island-fest vets catl. playing live from the Piston on Bloor Street West. Rapper DijahSB, indie-pop crew Twist, and Montreal R&B singer Janette King also livestream from their homes or jam spaces.

Memorable shows:

  • May Long Distance Party featuring summery pop trio Rapport playing live on Zoom from their living room — with their bassist socially distanced on the porch (WL 796, May 16)
  • Canadian rap legend Maestro Fresh Wes does a livestream show and talk (WL 799, July 16)
  • Denver indie-popsters Down Time, an appropriately named pandemic musical discovery making their unofficial Canadian debut (WL 802, Sept. 27)
  • The Wavelength Holiday Special, “a Holly Jolly YouTube Variety Show” featuring a cable-access style variety show with the likes of Kevin Drew, Maylee Todd, TRP.P, Doc Pickles, Frosty Valentine, comedy, animation, and some vintage Russian Futurists video from 2000 (WL 807, Dec. 17)