Your Guide to the Fourth Music and Culture Celebration

Story by Sidney Ulakovic, Photo by Darren McChristie

With the arrival of September, many of us may be feeling a little bit of dread as the mornings start feeling chillier, we prepare to head back to school, and those carefree days of summer start to feel like a distant memory. Thankfully, there’s one last celebration to be had before we let the autumn blues kick in. On September 16, the fourth Wake the Giant music festival will take place at the Marina Park festival grounds with a lineup that’s guaranteed to keep spirits high all day long with an incredible set of artists from all kinds of backgrounds. Gates will open at 11:30 a.m. and opening ceremonies will begin at 12:00 p.m. Follow along below to get a feel for the day’s lineup, have a listen, and get excited!

Thunder Spirit, 12:15 p.m.

Thunder Spirit is a local drum group headed by Aaron Therriault of Aroland First Nation. Therriault is a Drum Carrier and Traditional Teacher currently living in Thunder Bay. Thunder Spirit will open the day sharing their traditional sounds. “I love my culture and I wish I could share it with everyone,” says Therriault in a media release. 

Sara Kae, 12:45 p.m.

Local singer-songwriter Sara Kae, who is from Lake Helen First Nation, will take the stage at Wake the Giant for the first time, and Kae has had a surprise in the works for the festival. Kae is collaborating with students from Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School on a new song that she’ll debut at the festival. In the meantime, have a listen to “Constellations,” Kae’s newest pop-fusion track you can expect to hear live at Wake the Giant. 

Sagatay, 1:45 p.m.

Sagatay is a band from Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (Big Trout Lake), a remote northern community about 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay. The band formed in the early 1970s and is made up of Steven Chapman, Lennie Spence, Gary Albany, Harvey Sainnawap, and new member Lewis Chapman, a former student of Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School who has been involved with previous iterations of the festival. Sagatay looks forward to bringing those good ‘70s rock ‘n roll vibes to our waterfront, and you can get a feel for their sound with some of their songs available on SoundClick.

Mattmac, 3:00 p.m.

Mattmac, a blind music producer and recording artist, hails from Garden Hill First Nation in Manitoba, and currently resides in Winnipeg. Bursting onto the music scene in 2020, Mattmac garnered national attention with his debut release, aptly titled, 20/20, and has maintained his status as “one to watch” with his latest release Blurred Visions. Mattmac’s melodic trap music explores the polarity between life at home and life in the city. Have a listen to the popular remix of his song “Rez,” the closing track of Blurred Visions. 


Ruby Waters, 4:15 p.m.

Ruby Waters is an up-and-coming alt-pop sensation from Shelburne, Ont. Her last project If It Comes Down To It, earned her a Juno nod, and Waters has taken her music on the road, playing shows across North America for the last year. Waters’ sound can vary from brazen to stripped back, but regardless of the tone, she is honest in her lyrics and storytelling and does not shy away from exploring the taboo in her music. Get a feel for her look and sound with the video for “Difficult.” 

X Ambassadors, 5:45 p.m.

Since their debut in 2015, X Ambassadors have been making songs that we just can’t get out of our heads. You’ll know them right away from radio hits like “Renegades” and “Unsteady.” The band will collaborate with Jingle Dress Dancers from DFC for a special performance you won’t want to miss.

Dean Lewis, 8:00 p.m.

A set from Australia’s singer-songwriter Dean Lewis will be sure to pull at everyone’s heart strings. Lewis is known for his intimate confessional ballads, such as “Be Alright” and “Waves.” Don’t worry if you shed a tear. We’ll all be crying with you!

Deadmau5, 10:00 p.m.

Bring your best dancing shoes and prepare to be wowed by a set from Ontario’s EDM superstar Deadmau5, who is making a pitstop in his home province between international shows renowned for their mesmerizing visuals. Check out the recap video from his We Are Friends residency at Sound Nightclub from earlier this summer for a preview of what’s in store for the crowd at Wake the Giant. 

With just two weeks between now and Wake the Giant, the countdown is officially on. Tickets are still available, so if you still don’t have yours, make sure to secure them now. The official festival schedule and further updates are available on Instagram @wakethegiant807. Stay tuned! We can’t wait to see you there.

Official Schedule: