In celebration of their tenth anniversary, Canadian record label Arts & Crafts hosted Field Trip Festival – a one day festival with 15 of the label’s artists that took place at the Fort York and Garrison Commons earlier this month. It was the first time that Toronto had seen a festival of this kind, and hopefully it’s not the last.
Various local Toronto businesses provided food for the festival, including food trucks from the likes of Caplanskys, Hula Girl, and Food Dudes, as well as a variety of other food vendors. An Etsy shop offered locally-made trinkets from various local trinket makers. The field became more than just an area to celebrate a local achievement, but an area to celebrate and support local businesses, too. A free bike valet, free car service, free admission for children under ten, and free popsicles (FREE!) made the festival much more accessible and enjoyable than the beloved (but somewhat dreaded) three-day long festivals (see: Coachella, Bonnaroo, Osheaga, and Lollapalooza) that we all faithfully – although somewhat reluctantly – endure.
Despite extra fun – hula hooping, the Etsy tent, and tasting a variety of Toronto’s best food, the main attraction was seeing the numerous bands that were set to play. The lineup was arranged so that no one would have to choose between watching their favourites, and while I was unable to see everyone, the ones that I did manage to see reaffirmed the fact that Toronto, and Canada, are home to a number of artists that support each other, making the business seem more like a familial community, rather than the dog-eat-dog world that it is usually portrayed as being. The events timeliness ensured that everything ran smoothly and promptly, although it was difficult to see every band play since the stages were set up on opposite ends of the field.
Vancouverites Gold & Youth kicked off the festival, and though I thought that they were robbed with such a short set, it’s understandable since they are the newest artist signed to the label. Dressed in dark colours and wearing sunglasses, they exuded an air of ‘cool’. Matthew Lyall’s vocals were on point, although I expect that they would sound better in a small, enclosed venue. Jeff Mitchelmore’s drumming is heart pounding, and Louise Burns’ vocals fit perfectly within the set. ‘Time To Kill’ was by far the strongest song, although the band played a much better set at the BLK BOX during NXNE.
The Darcys were – as usual – a force to be reckoned with. Playing some new material off of their upcoming album (the release date and title of which are still TBA), as well as old favourites like ‘Shaking Down the Old Bones’ and ‘House Built Around Your Voice’. Later on, Zeus brought their powerful yet laidback rock to the stage with an aura of seasoned professionals, accompanied by the always-amazing cowbell. They all look like porn stars, though.
While walking over to the Fort York stage to catch Trust play, someone walking by commented that they never thought they’d see Trust in daylight, which perfectly embodies my own feelings about catching the band midday. The dark and brooding synths and lyrics are perfect at night, but the transition into daylight left me feeling off. A backup dancer in pink shorts, a sparkling corset, and a panda hat brought some life to the stage (watch a clip of that here), but it was difficult to get lost in the music when you could see all of Alfons’ awkward hand movements.
Timber Timbre took to the stage with an eerie set that fit the darkening skies; luckily there was no rain. An array of elegant vocals and a beautiful violin complemented the set.
Cloaked in a comfortable looking blanket, Fiest took to the stage with members of Snow Blink. Her set included a dub step version of ‘Limit to Your Love’, and an interesting yet scattered take on her hit ‘1234’. From where I was in the crowd, it seemed as though everyone was unresponsive to her requests for a sing-along, although the twists she brought to every song made it interesting and worthwhile.
A chill filled the air as the sun went down and the most anticipated act of the night began their set. With no less than six people on stage at a time, Broken Social Scene played their first album You Forgot It In People in its entirety for the first time ever, bringing the festival back to the roots of Arts & Crafts’ genesis. Much to everyone’s chagrin, Canning announced that that’s a wrap for BSS for 2013, and despite the knowledge that there would be no official reunion; it was a treat to simply see them play.
At the end of their set, Kevin Drew claimed that “this is a great city, and it’s going to shit, and we shouldn’t let it go to shit because we don’t deserve it.”
So, like, when’s the next one?