Thousands turn-out for Supercrawl 2017: six stages to please every taste

By Carey Langsner, Rock At Night Ontario

Supercrawl 2017 Festival–Ontario, Canada–September 14-16, 2017


Supercrawl is an annual free festival weekend of music and arts held on James Street North in downtown Hamilton Ontario.  This year marked the ninth year for Supercrawl. The festival has grown so much over the years that this year the festival was expanded to cover over a kilometer (about .6 of a mile) of James Street North.

With the turnout for this year’s festival in the tens of thousands, walking down the street, especially trying to walk past the over 30 food trucks parked on the side of the road, was almost impossible.  Not only were the food trucks busy but the local bars, restaurants and galleries were packed and those selling in the market area were doing a brisk business.

While Supercrawl is about all the arts, most people come to the festival for the music, and this year’s line-up did not disappoint.  This year, with six stages and many roadside locations set up throughout the festival, there was everything from rock, jazz, country, and throat singing to 1920`s ragtime by The Vaudevillians.

The Sheepdogs

The Sheepdogs were this year’s headliner for Friday night.  While there is no actual count of the number of people in the crowd that attended The Sheepdogs, by volume, it was larger than the crowd that attended in 2014 when Hamilton`s own Arkells played, which was estimated at over 20,000.

Saturday`s weather, with the sun shining and the temperatures warmer than they had been for the last couple of days, it was a perfect day for a festival.

Performing on the main stage all weekend were bands from across Canada and the US.  A band that really surprised me was the Megative from Brooklyn NY. This band is full of energy and has a sound all their own, very reminiscent of the sounds coming from across the pond in the early 80’s.  As a huge fan of The Clash, I kept hearing Clash and The Specials inspired sounds as they played.  During a festival, I usually don’t have time to stay and watch a full set by a band as I have other things to cover, but in this case I had to stay and catch the entire set.


Next on the main stage was a band called Bros.  Bros is actually a duo consisting of Ewan and Shamus Currie of The Sheepdogs.   The music style of Bros is nothing like The Sheepdogs.  With a seven-piece band consisting of four horns and percussion section, the sound is more of the easy listening type of music that you would have heard back in the early 70’s.

While the Sheepdogs may have ruled the streets Friday night, the Sam Roberts Band owned the festival.  When the Sam Roberts Band, from Montreal, hit the stage at 11:30pm Saturday night, the streets were packed as far as you could see with an even larger crowd than was there on Friday night.  Playing hit after hit, it did not take long for Roberts to get the audience singing along to every song.  The band played a twelve-song set with a three-song encore set ending around 1am with “Brother Down”.

Thank you to all the staff and volunteers for putting on another very successful Supercrawl.  I can hardly wait to see what the members of The Sonic Unyon will have in store for their 10th annual celebration of the arts.




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