This past weekend I had my first Hillside experience. Based in Guelph, Ontario, Hillside promotes environmental awareness, local craftspeople, independent food vendors, and up and coming musical and spoken word artists. Hillside has a tendency to promote artists before they get worldwide recognition. Last year saw appearances by the Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, Buck 65, Cuff the Duke, Fembots, The Hidden Cameras, The Lowest of the Low, Sam Roberts, Sarah Slean, Stars, The Weakerthans and many, many more. This year’s acts didn’t disappoint.
The weekend opened with Tony Dekker of the Great Lake Swimmers throwing his deeply moving voice throughout the park. I wasn’t moved as much by any other performer as I was by him. The day became progressively more upbeat which set the mood for our bonfire and various drum circles throughout the campgrounds.
One of the most memorable performances for me was the Sadies and Constantines performing Neil Young covers, as well as Pink Floyd’s Astronomy Domine. They were very well done indeed! Saturday was consistent with it’s upbeat tempo, with the exception of the last act, Sarah Harmer, who’s unique guitar picking mesmerized me.
With high hopes for the final day of Hillside, I returned home quite content. Khaela Maricich of The Blow gave a great performance in which the crowd elected a government and designed a flag during her act. The Hidden Cameras also gave a memorable show. During part of their set, the entire band and most of the crowd was blindfolded and rocking out. It was intense. The Constantines offered a good rock performance afterwards and Feist closed the festival off with her emotional vocals.