While some people chose to try new things and learn new hobbies over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, others worked hard on things they had always wanted to do. Dylan MacDonald, known by his musical alias, Field Guide, did exactly that.
Without the chance to play live shows, the musician spent his time writing what became two short EPs and his debut album, Make Peace With That. Now that live events are coming back and venues are reopening, Field Guide is on his first major tour. He comes home for a show at the West End Cultural Centre (WECC) on Nov. 26.
“It’s really his first tour as Field Guide,” Stu Anderson, co-founder and CEO of Birthday Cake Media, says. “When we released his EP, and it started catching momentum around the world, we didn’t have the ability to send him out on the road. Normally when a song takes off and people start to pay attention, you put them on the road, and we couldn’t.”
Field Guide has been performing his whole life, starting with a band he created with high-school friends Liam Duncan (also known as Boy Golden) and Roman Clarke, and then branching into his own music while also being a guitar player for hire.
Finding his own voice, especially during a pandemic, has paid off thanks to platforms like Spotify, Sirius XM and CBC Radio Canada.
The singer-songwriter released his first EP, Full Time, in May 2019 and his debut album this past September. Now on tour, he is finally performing live for audiences that fell in love with his music during a time when live shows just weren’t an option.
“There’s an audience online looking to discover their new favourite song or artist, and it has really allowed him to have fans globally. He has been able to connect with fans in markets like New York and LA without leaving (Manitoba), and that’s very exciting, especially now that he’s touring and those fans can now see him live,” Anderson says.
Local venues and promoters are jumping at opportunities to host local musicians again, even though some international tours are still tentatively rescheduling dates. Gil Carroll, the festival
co-director and artistic director at Real Love Winnipeg, is helping promote the upcoming event at the WECC.
“It’s very exciting that bands like Field Guide are able to perform again, and people can go out and discover new music and support the local scene again,” Carroll says.
“We’re friends with Dylan and worked closely with the West End Cultural Centre in the past, so it was a natural fit for us to come on board and help promote the event,” Carroll says.
Field Guide’s concert at the West End Cultural Centre is on Nov. 26 at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online from wecc.ca or at eventbrite.ca.
Published in Volume 76, Number 09 of The Uniter (November 12, 2021)