Tag Archives: TURF

Review: Toronto Urban Roots Festival (TURF) – Friday September 16 – Sunday September 18, 2016

Toronto Urban Roots Festival (TURF) always promises a good time.  It’s a late in the summer kinda happening that brings only the best in folk rock artists and deliciously sound foodies to its three daylong festival at Fork York and Garrison Commons.  This past Friday September 16 – Sunday September 18, 2016 fete was all about the likes of homegrown veterans, honouring our locals while still mixing it up with some international flare to keep our musical vernacular fresh.

Day 1 gave us The Hives, Skinny Lister, Jake Bugg, Modern Baseball, Dropkick Murphys and Explosions in the Sky. A mix you cannot happen upon anywhere else in our fair city on any given day.  The Hives annihilated our hearing.  Skinny Lister kept it folk rockabilly.  Jake Bugg gave us some teen dream boat vibes.  Explosions in the Sky,  let’s face it made the audience collectively swoon in good measure.  A true crowd highlight.

TURF always provides bang for one’s buck. You get variety of musical nuances and at the same time will be sure to leave with new bands that you can’t wait to tell your friends about.  Well, that is after you first pop it all over your social media accounts.

The drinks were flowing from the likes of Tropical Temptations and Smoothe Operator. The foodie in you could easily be filled with affordable yummies from Mustache Burger, 50 Pesos and Kung Fu Dawg.

The layout at TURF this weekend was all about easy accessibility. Even in the rain on Saturday, fans were seen dodging raindrops as they caught LUSH as they said hello from a long absence from Canadian shores and whilst checking their schedule to see what was next on in their rainy day schedule.

The crowd was diverse, eclectic, suits mixed with boho types with the common thread of having a hang ten chill vibe. Everyone gets along and is up for a giggle over a pint or two.  Who knew the Gardiner Expressway could evoke so much rad energy?

A crowd that could not only make Gord Downie proud was seen paying homage to the Tragically Hip’s legacy as Dwayne Gretzky played song after song from their illustrious catalogue. It was an emotional hour or two.  Fans hugged one another while kids played on the grassy hill.  TURF brings us together every year as we break bread with one another under the Gardiner Expressway and reminds us how transformative and healing music can be with good people, great tunes and a harvest moon overhead.


Toronto Urban Roots Festival (TURF): Day 3

The second edition of the Toronto Urban Roots Festival (TURF) finished up yesterday.  Talk about a well organized and fun festival right in our fair city of Toronto.  When we were leaving last night we were actually thinking about next year’s line up – that’s a good sign of a great three days!

We got to Day 3 a bit late but just in time to see Jenny Lewis kill it. You have to love a girl who can work a stage like David Bowie and yet bring a chilled sly country twang worth of the ghosts of Loretta Lynn, and Patsy Cline with swirls of pop to boot.

We decided to lounge under the trees after Jenny’s set.  Which was a good idea as it was still pretty sunny outside and after a two day sun burn this body needed a moment.  TURF was perfect for lounging.  There was never a need to hustle or to have to ‘move’ from our lil spot.

When Jeff Tweedy came onto the stage we were so Zen as we sat beside an older punk who was clearly meditating – we just rolled into his folksy set with ease.

As recently announced, Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy has formed a new band with his 18-year-old son, Spencer, under the fitting moniker of Tweedy. They will release an album called ‘Sukierae’ on September 16 through Wilco’s label dBpm.

Seeing the camaraderie and genuine mutual love of making music between father and son was inspiring.  Tweedy even mentioned how it took him ’18 years to grow a drummer’.  Imagine being 18 years old and playing festival dates with your fan adored pops?  Just all around super sweet.  That vibe indeed complimented the familial feel of TURF.

It was even more romantic as I observed a young dad playing with their 2 year old son’s around us.  The boy was wearing one of those lovely life saver colored headphones as he played with sticks quietly. His parents watched Tweedy and for a good 30 minutes there wasn’t a peep out of the kid.  TURF kids were already well seasoned concert goers.

We had a grand time at TURF 2014.  For a three day weekend of fun and frolic everything was done right.  From the details, a lovely mix of music concert goers from young to mature, family centric, teen friendly and on point musical programming.   We got everything we wanted and more.  Plus the bonus of relaxation as the sun set above the Gardiner Expressway will carry me through the rest of the year until we meet again in 2015 TURF.


Toronto Urban Roots Festival (TURF) – TURF VIP Day 2

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The second edition of the Toronto Urban Roots Festival (TURF) commenced on Friday.  We had a blast at TURF Day 2.  TURF ends today and we are excited to get the day started!

This year guests will be greeted with 3 stages and over the next two days will be sampling over 44 artists from Canada and all over the world.

We opted for TURF VIP this year strictly from a place of comfort and getting some amazing shots of bands to share with you (our readers).

What did we get?

TURF VIP passes gives you access to enclosed VIP lounges located beside all three outdoor stages at Fort York. Each VIP area has access to semi-private washrooms, un-crowded bars (alcohol, pop, water), and access in front of the stage barricade to watch the show from the front row and or a side of stage VIP area.

Separate entrance into the festival grounds for all VIPS

Festival exit/re-entry privileges (Only available for VIP, Master VIP, and 3 Day Multi Tickets/VIP)

Shaded and tented areas

Access to general admission TURF grounds

Excellent views of the stage

Let me tell you the views were spectacular and TURF VIP was spacious.  Gone are the days when we will be travelling General Admission.  From a perspective of comfort from the hot summer sun – TURF VIP is where it’s at.

The highlight of our TURF VIP experience were the shower curtain like mats that were kept in the tented area at VIP.  After the first day at TURF, I left my woolly blanket at home and used the mat provided by TURF VIP for whenever we needed to rest our tootsies under a shaded tree.  Best idea ever!  Thank you, for whoever thought that up!

I also like the fact that the trees did indeed save us thanks to the TURF VIP area.  Gosh – it was hot yesterday.  To be able to see your band and still not feel like you were sweating buckets was helpful.  As we sat on our mats and relaxed it felt really enjoyable to listen to music and people watch.

Then there was the ‘facilities’ issue. If you have to go, you have to go.  We never waited once to use the ‘facilities’.  In some of the toilets there was even a sink with running water to wash your hands.  Oh yes, when you have been to Lollapalooza in Chicago like me and seen the debauchery after a 3 day music festival – things get a tad messy.

Have we had fun at TURF VIP?  Oh yes.  Were we comfortable at TURF VIP?  Oh yes.  Would we do TURF VIP again?  OUI!

Today is TURF Day 3, if you were thinking of going – it’s time!

Stay tuned for my TURF Day 3 features to follow in the days ahead.


Toronto Urban Roots Festival (TURF): Day 1

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The second edition of the Toronto Urban Roots Festival (TURF) commenced yesterday.  If Day 1 was any indication – you are in for an epic musical journey in the days ahead.  TURF will run until July 6, 2014 at Fort York Garrison Commons in downtown Toronto if you fancy a musical and gastronomic jaunt.

This year guests will be greeted with 3 stages and over the next two days will be sampling over 44 artists from Canada and all over the world.

If you are looking for a mini musical vacation – it’s time to pick up one of TURF’s affordably priced ticket packages.  You will be immersed with stunning music and enough yummy foodie and drink options to keep you satiated and giddy.

We started our July 4th journey sampling the likes of the Born Ruffians.   A Canadian indie rock band from Midland, Ontario. Their sound was not only Vampire Weekend like in intent but had all the makings of a sound with longevity without the hipster drama.  The sun was at its peak when these boys hit the stage and it was clear they were struggling with comments like, ‘If I die up here from the heat, you can use my organs for hydration’.   Baking skin – oof.

We were sure to walk around the TURF venue space after the Born Ruffians set for some hydration.  TURF keeps the food truck and beer tents simple.  The food options from a Portobello Mushroom Burger shack, Waffle shop, Greek eats and an independent coffee station will take care of you.  Next stop Gary Clark Jr..

Gary Clark, Jr. opened for Kings of Leon earlier this year and that was any indication – his popularity is steadily growing.  It’s time to start paying attention.  Gary Clark, Jr. is an U.S. Grammy-winning guitarist and actor based in Austin, Texas and naughtily described as being the future of Texas blues.   There are also dollops of jazz, soul and hip hop in his fabric.   Clark barely said much through his over hour long set.  Instead he injected his musical trademark of fuzzy Eric Clapton like guitar sound meets Black Keys raucous hearing shattering rock portraits into our overheating ears drums.  Gary Clark, Jr. was truly the crème brulee of the day.

We lounged and had a bit of dinner whilst watching Local Natives.   It was clear that TURF Day 1 was turning out to be a reflective and calming experience.  Indeed a rock and roots festival but without the hipster attitude.   Instead it was brimming with peace, love and happiness.

Beirut closed TURF Day 1 with a deeply emotional, inspirational and magical set.  Now if all shows can be like this?  They have set the bar high for shows moving forward.  Choirs of angels and an assault of full on romance began to seep into the audience.

Beirut fuses elements of indie-rock and world music into their web.  Lead singer Zach Condon was in rare form last night.  Charming the audience with various quips whilst dropping a lil French and Spanish here and there between songs.  Performing songs from the albums ‘Gulag Orkestar’ and ‘The Flying Club Cup’ kept the audience enraptured.  “Nantes” and “Sunday Smile” got the heaving audience keen and dance worthy.  How could you not want to waltz, shake it and bump up against your partner when taking in the spectacle of Zach and crew implanting brass heavy tunes with a dash of accordion for good measure into our souls?  Beauty.

There were moments where the audience was transplanted into a Mariachi experience in Mexico and the next moment a Second Line parade in New Orleans.  Visions of times gone by were flooding our eyes and hearts.

Beirut’s sound is transformational.  If you aren’t instantly inspired to create art or live lighter – you weren’t paying close enough attention.

Stay tuned for my TURF Day 2 and Day 3 features to follow in the days ahead.


Toronto Urban Roots Festival (TURF)

Toronto Urban Roots Festival Site Map

Toronto Urban Roots Festival Site Map

The Summer of 2013 is turning out to be jam packed with great bands, tunes and most importantly music festivals!  It’s an exciting time to be in Toronto – rainy schizophrenic weather aside.

If you check out anything next weekend, I strongly encourage you to grab tickets fast for TURF.  The first edition of the Toronto Urban Roots Festival or lovingly known as TURF, runs from July 4-7, 2013 at Fort York: Garrison Common in downtown Toronto.   I was at Fork York last month to catch Arts & Crafts ‘Field Trip’ – it definitely is one of Toronto’s best kept secrets.  Not only is it a historic site but it exudes a chilled ‘take your flip flops off’ and frolic in the grass vibe.

What do you get?  Well, 4 Nights and 2 Full Days along with 2 Outdoor Stages and 2 Clubs of fantastic musicians from here and afar.

Like whom you ask?  Belle and Sebastian, She & Him, Neko Case, Yo La Tengo, Camera Obscura, Flogging Molly, Lowest of the Low, Skydiggers and Arkells to name a few!

Belle and Sebastian

Belle and Sebastian

The price is right too.  I suggest buying tickets soon because they are selling like hotcakes.  You can get a Turf Multi Day ticket which is a 4 nights, 2 full days and 2 outdoor stages pass for $150 or a VIP pass for $350.  Talk about a great deal!  For single –day tickets depending on the day you decide to check out, tickets range from $50 – $70 or VIP ranges from $150 to $170.

If you are looking for tickets all Regular and VIP tickets are available online through Ticketfly. Regular day tickets are available at Rotate This, Soundscapes, and The Horseshoe Tavern front bar. Tickets will also be available at the TURF box office at Fort York from July 4-7. Please note the box office is cash only.

I like the idea that this is a very family friendly event and parents with young kids don’t need to worry about grabbing a babysitter for the day.  Kids under 10 are free – there is a kid’s area, local food vendors are on site all weekend and various eating options for all diets.

She & Him

She & Him

The party doesn’t end at For York either.  Once you finish up under the Gardiner kicks your heels back at the Horseshoe Tavern or Lee’s Palace after hours for more tunes, pints and a dance off with your mates.  This weekend will be a weekend that will just keep on giving if you organize your schedule right.

I would be nice to leave town and check out those festivals in other Canadian and American cities this summer – but why not save some cash and pump it into our sweet town of Toronto instead?  Note:  You will not find the majority of these bands at other festivals this summer– this is your only chance to catch them while they are hot.

Speaking about hot – I cannot wait to get my hands on the yummy food vendor’s onsite at TURF.  Bring some extra cash not only for pints and Canadian Club spritzers but also to grab nibbles from BeaverTails Pastry, Big Fat Burrito, Caplansky’s and Feng’s Dumplings.

Neko Case

Neko Case

Print out this TURF: COMPLETE LINE-UP and SET TIMES so you are ready for your TURF adventures next weekend!  Voila!   http://torontourbanrootsfest.com/schedule/

Have fun at TURF and don’t forget your sunscreen!  😉   See you there!


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