July brings another edition of Hillside Festival to Guelph Lake featuring amazing musical acts from Guelph, Ontario, and around the world. Hillside has been toted as one of the “must-see” festivals in Canada and has gained a well deserved reputation as an amazing weekend long music festival which is known internationally. This year is no exception. We got in touch with Samir and Marie from the Hillside Team to get their thoughts about the festival and some of the acts that are performing in 2014:
ML: You can’t say music in Guelph without thinking about Hillside. For those who haven’t been, can you give us a little run down of what Hillside is all about?
HF: It’s a 31-year-old grassroots community celebration of music and creativity raised by 1300 volunteers, a 12-member board and a handful of staff. On any given day at the festival, you can go from dancing and singing to drumming, holding hands, and drinking beer over to eating pakoras, dumplings, Indian tacos, and taboulleh, and flaking out on the grass. We have five stages of music and spoken word performances, including children’s acts. You can attend a workshop to learn something new, shake out your body in our drum and dance area, drum in a circle in the Aboriginal area, sing in the Children’s Tent or join the parade. There are so many things to do–including being with your friends and family and swimming in the lake.
ML: What are you most excited for this year? Any acts that should not be missed?
HF: We have some really interesting and unique performances this year. On Friday night, the first appearance of Tegan and Sara at Hillside who are headlining the main stage, we also have HYDRA on the Island Stage – a supergroup that features Feist, Snowblink and AroarA and promises to be one of the highlights of the 2014 festival. Matt Andersen returns to the festival but this time with a fantastic 9 piece band that will tear up the main stage before Tegan and Sara. On Saturday we are thrilled to have a rare appearance by the dynamic Irish artist Imelda May with her stellar band. Sunday includes the legendary artist Garland Jeffreys and also The Wood Brothers (who will also be in a workshop with Garland Jeffreys). The festival closes with what we are sure will be another Hillside highlight with Hey Rosetta!
There are many more artists that are not to missed and each day has something for everyone. The performer section on our website www.hillsidefestival.ca has full bios on each artist appearing over the July 25-27 weekend including the complete schedule on all the stages.
HF: The process of booking artists starts at least a year in advance. Ideas for performers are submitted and also come from a vast network (national and international), conference showcases, research and word of mouth. Agents whom we have long-standing relationships with give us their suggestions that we go over and local performers are chosen by a local artist selection committee.
There is a unique sensibility in our programming that allows us to push the boundaries on what we can present at Hillside. Our audience is always willing to be challenged and have very diverse tastes – it lets us to bring many new/unfamiliar artists to the Hillside stages that receive overwhelming receptions and put on incredibly inspired sets when they appear at Hillside.
ML: What do you think contributes to the “magic” of Hillside?
The combination of our audience, who is so receptive and enthusiastic, our devoted volunteers who work their tails off, the festival site and environment that is both unique and relaxed, and last but not least the incredible musicians who are genuinely thrilled to be here and put on their best shows at Hillside.
ML: Any amazing Hillside stories to share?
HF: Arcade Fire closing their epic main stage set in 2005 by marching through the audience into the volunteer island camping area.
Owen Pallett (as Final Fantasy) playing one of Buffy Saint-Marie’s songs in 2009–a performance that made Buffy cry.
ML: I know weekend passes and Saturday tickets are sold out, but where can people go to learn more and get tickets for Friday night and Sunday?
HF: Lots of information including the schedule on each day www.hillsidefestival.ca
www.ticketbreak.com (on line tickets) In person: The Bookshelf, The Beat Goes On, Encore Records in Kitchener.
Check out the event calendar on http://www.musiclives.ca/event-listing to see everything that’s happening at Hillside this year. We’ll see you there! Happy Hillside!