REVIEW: Field Trip Music Festival – Toronto (June 7 & 8)

Waiting for SHAD

Field Trip Music Festival 2014

By Savoula Stylianou. Lauren Mayberry said it best: “There’s so much good shit that comes out of your country!” and this year’s Field Trip Festival was a shining example of that. In its second year, the festival was a great success, not letting the pitter patter of Canada’s manic weather mood swings bring down the vibe.

As we waited in line to get our tickets on Saturday, we were met with the sweet sounds of Toronto-based group The Darcys, who have jumped to the ear buds of indie music lovers like myself with their moody and almost ethereal sound.The music of the weekend was coupled with the distinctly wonderful atmosphere that the grounds of Fort York provided, decorated with the best in food, jewellery, and fun activities for guests of all ages. Two fish tacos, one poutine, and one self-made charm necklace later, I felt I got the most out of the different booths that Field Trip had to offer this year.

The darlings of the fest were, of course, Broken Social Scene reuniting once more to put on a smile and dance inducing set to close out the weekend. With special guests like Gord Downie and Andy Kim and the triumphant return of favourites Feist and Evan Cranley and Torquil Campbell of Stars, BSS had a Canadian indie star-studded lineup that drew the adoration and appreciation from the crowd Sunday night, the biggest one of the entire weekend. While the headliners delivered on their part, what brought the festival alive for me were the earlier performances of both days, showcasing new music I grew to like, and old music I was thrilled to be able to hear live.

Organized by popular indie music label Arts&Crafts, this year’s Field Trip lineup was expanded to include artists local and international who were not signed to the label. Melbourne native Vance Joy put on a fantastic show, with his song “Emmylou” outlining his emotional vulnerability and musical prowess all at once. Somewhat bigger names like Half Moon Run and CHVRCHES also delivered in their sets. Recovering from a slight technical hiccup, Devon and the rest of the members of Half Moon Run recovered nicely during their time on stage, and finished off their performance with “Call Me in the Afternoon,” a song that had most of the crowd singing along to the strong and startling lyrics of the indie folk tune. Coming on before BSS, it was very near impossible not to be charmed by the lovely and modest Lauren Mayberry, especially with her humorous banter with bandmates Iain and Martin, the latter of which has dance moves that would make the most introverted teenage girl in her bedroom envious. The speakers were vibrating with the synth pop sounds of the group, or that could have been from the crowd dancing along to the band’s easily catchy music.

Checking out the lineup before the fest, one name made my stomach do a little flip. A Shameless fan, I was really looking forward to seeing LA-based group Lord Huron live, and seeing how they create their completely unique sound in a live performance on stage – and they did not disappoint. Mark Barry’s multi-instrumentation was impressive, switching flawlessly between instruments like the harmonica, the maracas, and the tambourine all while playing percussion simultaneously. The band’s humble and sweet nature came across during their time on stage, while Ben Schneider’s cha cha moves during “Time to Run” put a permanent smile on my face for the rest of the day.

The unexpected highlight for me was the sweet joy from hearing Ernest Greene, or Washed Out, live on Sunday. Not having heard the music before, I was very pleasantly surprised by the likability of lead singer Greene’s attitude playing in the rain and the listenability of psychedelic tracks like “Don’t Give Up” and “It All Feels Right.”

I wasn’t the only one who had a great time at Field Trip this year; members of Born Ruffians were also at Fort York last weekend and took to Twitter to share a few of their highlights, including Hydra, Fucked Up, Broken Social Scene, the reunion of supergroup The Constantines, and, naturally, the tasty perogies from one of the food trucks.

With the most popular Toronto festivals focusing on music like rap and EDM, it was refreshing to go to Field Trip and see the vitality of the indie music scene as kept going by labels like Arts&Crafts. The festival was a great weekend for people of all ages, and rain or shine, Fort York was a fantastic showcase for some of indie’s greatest talent today.

Check out some photos Tiffany Lam snapped throughout the weekend!

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