Squamish Valley Music Festival Act of the Day: Cityreal

Like Halloween, when the early October fogs start to roll in, and Kanye West when he isn’t cancelling his shows the day they are supposed to happen, it’s starting to feel like it’s almost here.

Yes, we’re talking about the Squamish Valley Music Festival, taking place August 8 to 10 at the Logger Sports Grounds and Hendrickson Fields. In anticipation of the big event—headlined by Eminem, Bruno Mars, and Arcade Fire—we’re spending the next few weeks rounding up local artists who’ll be playing the open-air party, and getting them to answer some important questions.

Like who they’ll be cueing up on the iPod for the Sea-to-Sky drive to the site, what they’ll be making sure to pack to make it through their set, the all-time dream-festival lineup, and who they plan to stalk backstage. Read on, but not before you pick up your Squamish Valley Music Festival ticket. The last thing you want to miss is today’s spotlighted act...

Featured artist

Cityreal is a local MC and producer who continually pushes the boundaries of hip-hop. His last project, Good Morning Blues, was a collaboration with Wes Mackey that mashed up old-school blues with rap. His in-the-works new record, Lost in Vancouver, takes things in yet another direction, boasting orchestral string and brass parts courtesy of composer and coproducer Todor Kobakov, and guest appearances by Jully Black, Swollen Members, Bif Naked, Saukrates, and physician/author Gabor Maté, whose book on addiction, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, served as inspiration for the album. Cityreal jokes that he aims to be "the Feist/Lana Del Rey of Canadian hip-hop".

Sea-to-Sky playlist

My playlist represents sets I'm looking forward to.

Nas Illmatic  Perhaps the most legendary hip-hop album ever made that we will have the privilege to hear performed in its entirety. Still shocked I'm playing the same festival on the same day.

Arcade Fire "The Suburbs"

Lykke Li "No Rest for the Wicked"

Shad "Yaa, I Get It"

Chet Faker "Gold" (Not playing at Squamish, but I just really love this track.)

Outdoor essentials

My list of essentials may conflict with Squamish Festival rules and regulations, so next question please. But bring lots of sunscreen and fluids, kids.

I’d love to hang with...

Nas! Seriously though, what hip-hop artist wouldn't love to have a drink and a conversation with Nas?

First festival experience

My earliest festival experience involved kids from my summer camp and Fred Penner, so not worth getting into much detail there. But the first festival I attended as an independent was Vans Warped Tour in Montreal when I was 17 or 18. Most of what I remember was being drunk and doing the most extreme mosh-pitting I have ever participated in. I was covered head to toe in dusty dirt. I could taste the dust. The most vivid memory from that would be crowd-surfing to who I think was Andrew W.K. before being violently grabbed by the back of my neck by security, who had mistaken me for someone that was apparently a prolific crowd-surfer who had already received many warnings. But all was well in the end and it was a memorable experience.

What's your fantasy festival lineup?

  • Jay Z
  • Feist
  • Kanye West
  • Lana Del Rey
  • Nas (honestly so stoked to see Nas)
  • Florence and the Machine
  • Kendrick Lamar
  • Arcade Fire
  • Drake
  • Little Dragon
  • Alt-J
  • Wu-Tang Clan
  • Banks

I could keep going for a little while here...

What’s your official rider request?

Well, this is usually a private matter, as I like to come off humble, but if you must know:

  • Cold water bottles and towels
  • Deli spread with local meats, cheeses, bread, vegetables and dip
  • 3 bottles of 40z Vodka (no pretentious brands) + cranberry, OJ, soda water, and Ice 
  • One copy of each book from the New York Times top 20 paperback nonfiction bestsellers list
  • 5 beautiful local female models (all must be over 20 yrs old and must have read at least one of the books from the previous listed item on hospitality rider)
  • 4 to 5 electric powered golf carts (to get myself, band members and models from greenroom to stage and around festival grounds)

Trivia time: what’s Squamish’s official slogan?

“Help us bring the Taco Bell back to Squamish!" I just really miss that Taco Bell. 

The festival takes place at Logger Sports Grounds and Hendrickson Fields. Quick—what’s your favourite logger sport?

Logger sport? Uh...Tree hugging. Save the forests! Not a huge logger fan. Although I do enjoy honey lager. 

Cityreal plays the Squamish Valley Music Festival’s Meadow Stage at 4:05 p.m. on Friday (August 8).

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