For the very first edition of TURF we had a blast. We may have come home soaked to the bone and full of a musical buzz but for well-seasoned festival going Canadian girls like us – TURF was a perfectly organized and rocking event.
My photographer and I attended the 4th and last day of the festival on Sunday July 7th. It started off beautifully sunny with me even getting a sunburn during Yo La Tengo’s set. The sunshine slowly turned into a rain soaked day. That didn’t dampen our and the other attendees spirit. People danced in the rain and mud in the gorgeous green field at Fort York. Who needs Glastonbury?
Our first band visit was with Yo La Tengo. They are an American indie rock band formed in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1984. Their hot set in the summer sun offered the audience quite the shoe gazing experience. There was even a cheeky commentary on our Toronto Blue Jay’s. We loved the soothing, mellow and foot tapping grooves.
Yo La Tengo was not the only Beggars Banquet band on TURF’s Sunday night roster. Kurt Vile And The Violators and Belle and Sebastian also held down the Fort.
We also discovered the sounds of Whitehorse as the skies got progressively darker above us. The harmonizing bluesy folksy rock from Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland (a married couple) reminded us that festivals are indeed about finding new music. This couple stated they recently moved from steel town Hamilton to Toronto. We hope Toronto gives them lots of opportunity to dazzle new followers.
Other bands sprinkled into our day included of Xavier Rudd and Cat Empire. New music to chase down. The crowd was enthusiastic to these bands world beats.
Even though we were in the crowds to absorb Neko Case’s set – all we did absorb was water. It was a pretty intense set as we watched 20 something’s dance and flail in the mud. Neko’s music did indeed provide a nice soundtrack to the rainy moment that lasted close to an hour.
In reflection it was lovely to see at TURF that the crowd was nicely made up of young families, 20 something hipsters, new hippie tribes, urban professionals and lots of young children. People were eating, drinking and looking after one another. The pricing on food and beverages was reasonable. The festival staff – were polite and very friendly. The set up was clean – the muddy pools of water aside. The vibe felt very Woodstock. Simple. Not a lot of fuss and a lot of space to mill about. For a first time festival – TURF did it right.
Upon conclusion, it was well worth the wait for Belle and Sebastian. The crowd was ready for these Glasgow alterna popsters. Perfect timing for a visit to Toronto as Belle & Sebastian are set to release ‘The Third Eye Centre’ – a collection of rarities, collectibles and non-LP tracks from the last decade – on 27th August 2013 on Matador Records. The album will be available to buy on CD, download and as a double heavyweight vinyl in deluxe heavy gatefold packaging. The nineteen tracks are taken from the Glaswegian band’s most recent three albums – ‘Dear Catastrophe Waitress’ (2003), ‘The Life Pursuit’ (2006) and ‘Write About Love’ (2010). The album can therefore be seen as the follow-up to ‘Push Barman To Open Old Wounds’ (2005) – a compilation of the Belle & Sebastian singles and EPs released on Jeepster Records.
Belle and Sebastian always the cheeky Glaswegians were all about crowd participation, an impromptu Scrabble game, a handpicked audience member sing-along and loads of chances to dance in the mud with our mates.
Torontians continue to demonstrate to the City of Toronto that we are indeed ready for more summer musical events similar to out of towners like Osheaga, Lollapalooza and Outside lands. There is money to be made, opportunities to be merry and celebrate the summer and most importantly be safe if well organized and properly planned. Thank you TURF and the City of Toronto – a job well done. Let’s do it again next year please!