This year’s Sled Island Festival will be the first under executive director Maud Salvi. Originally from France, Salvi comes to Calgary via a stint in Montreal where she worked as an artistic producer for the Pop Montreal festival.
It takes serious organizational skills to run a festival with a lineup of 250 bands and 30 different venues. It also takes a deep love of music, which is why we wondered which musicians Salvi would invite to her fantasy dinner party. Being a fantasy and all, the guest list was open to both the living and those who have since passed on to the great gig in the sky.
“Somewhere simple and intimate; a house with a big kitchen so I can cook with my guests. There would be a piano, too.”
“I would probably cook French food because I’m comfortable cooking it, but I wouldn’t want the whole meal to be French. To me, that’s the appeal of cooking with different people – we all cook different things.”
“Nina Simone fascinates me. I read her biography last year [Nina Simone: The Biography by David Brun-Lambert] and, afterwards, I was even more intrigued. Her voice moves me like no one else’s, and she was such an incredible composer and piano player. Seeing her play in that type of intimate setting would be amazing.
“Tom Waits, because who wouldn’t want to have Tom Waits over for dinner? He’s a model of integrity to me and I have a lot of respect for him as an artist. He’d be in charge of cocktails for the night, and I would secretly hope that he and Nina would end up improvising together.
“I would also invite Steve Albini, who, on top of being a great musician and producer, is also a real food enthusiast. He has a cooking blog dedicated to the meals he prepares for his wife [mariobatalivoice.blogspot.com], and everything looks delicious. I would love to cook and enjoy a nice dinner with him.
“Last on my list is the late Gil Scott-Heron, because he was a great storyteller and someone I would have loved to meet. I had the chance to see him on stage a couple years ago at the Montreal Jazz Festival. He got stuck at the Canadian border for hours and arrived really late, but the crowd was still there, waiting. You could feel the anticipation in the air and he didn’t disappoint. He was amazing; there was something about him that just made you want to listen. He had such an aura and a great sense of humour.”
The Sled Island Music and Arts Festival runs June 19 to 22. For information, visit sledisland.com, or follow on Twitter @sledisland.