The CN trains bustled behind us as we sat on the hill taking in ‘Field Trip’ as part of Arts & Crafts 10th Anniversary on Saturday June 8, 2013 – it wasn’t hard for us to feel comfortable. The event a first for A&C was reminiscent of schools day trips. I remembered the excitement of going on a field trip with classmates and getting my backpack ready for an all-day event. This time as an adult I was met with super sweet music, culinary treats within an authentic historic Toronto space at Fort York just under the Gardiner Expressway.
In true Arts & Crafts form the attention to detail for the one day festival was superb. Ample port-a-potty’s for the masses, activities for kids, free popsicles and juice for all, a hula hooping spectacle under the Gardiner Expressway, fabulous organic food, drink and a contagious merriment provided an additional flavour to the tremendous A&C line up to be further indulged upon.
If you were one of 1000 people who arrived to ‘Field Trip’ before noon you could have received an Arts & Crafts: X CD. The CD is a collection of original collaborative recordings by artist pairings from the A&C roster. I missed out but you can check it out here http://arts-crafts.ca/x/#sthash.gM3GVLrm.dpuf Talk about being a good host!
Arts & Crafts have carved out a beautiful brand in these last 10 years. It is reminiscent of 4AD and how they created a recognizable design aesthetic paired up with the goods. A definitive musical style within a proudly Canadian polished identity.
On Saturday, we milled about and bumped into the likes of Brendan Canning, Amy Millan, Hayden and various other Toronto celeb’s as they talked to their fans. It was chilled and appreciative affair without the fuss. We’re Canadians – we are humble folk.
The Norman Wong x Arts & Crafts exhibit also made an appearance at ‘Field Trip’ if you were unable to catch the Pop Up Shop from late last month. The black and white photos of the likes of Dan Mangan, Feist, Cold Specks were edgy but would also make a nice addition to your living room wall.
Bloc Party, Stars, Timber Timbre to name a few were a huge draw on the two stages and were a guaranteed good time in getting people moving and shaking in the summer sun. Feist felt a underwhelming to me. Bloc Party killed it as they usually do giving a nice change up to the sombre sounds of Hayden before them. Stars – really, if you don’t own any of Stars albums by now – you should. They are a Canadian treasure.
Broken Social Scene – who let’s face it could be considered Toronto’s own version of a Unicorn who only appear in magical moments gave the crowd a powerful homecoming. They even played their 2002 classic album ‘You Forgot It In People’ in its entirety. There is nothing like listening to a band’s full album played live from beginning to end for your consumption. ‘7/4 Shoreline’ and ‘Meet Me In the Basement’ – brought the house down. Who knew 10,000 people could wiggle it at Fort York after a wonky hot then cool then hot Saturday in the summer.
Kevin Drew – although co-owner of Arts & Crafts had a few moments on stage apologizing for the hefty $90 ticket price for the day’s event but also hoping the fans had gotten their monies worth. The response was a positive one. An event that encouraged picnics, families with small children and a very lazy approach to enjoying your festival experience was appreciated by the audience in their cheers. The festival organizers definitely took note of how our American counterparts run festivals with free water filling stations, a huge VIP section, an awesome line up and ambience without the ‘let’s take ourselves too seriously’ attitude.
Kevin Drew and BSS have some pretty strong views with the current political leadership in Toronto. There were more than a few moments where Kevin mentioned ‘taking our city back’ and loving our neighbours. Love in? Perhaps with a rock star slant.
There was a sweet moment where Kevin encouraged the audience to clap for the absent original members of BSS Emily Haines and James Shaw from Metric who were on tour in the U.S.. As BSS played song after song, there was a solemn moment where they mentioned that they would play “Jimmy and the Photocall” in memory of James Shaw. No sooner had the song began but there was a ‘Holy Shit, I wrote this song about this guy’ from Brendan Canning and an emotional James Shaw appeared almost magically on stage. He had flown in from Philadelphia after his show to be part of ‘Field Trip’. Amazing. A true family.
After a long day as we do in Toronto – forget about grabbing a crammed streetcar. Instead everyone walked up the ramp at Fort York and walked home satisfied. Let’s hope there is a ‘Field Trip’ Part 2 next summer for those of you who missed out this time around.
If you are in town in August check out another Goldenvoice and Arts & Crafts event –The Grove Music Festival. If ‘Field Trip’ was anything to go by – you are destined to have fun. Who needs Osheaga or Lollapalooza that weekend when you can party with Arts & Crafts in Toronto? 😉