This weekend, a number of Ontario-based bands come to Guelph to play Off the Floor Fest, an annual festival that has grown in size and reputation over the last six years. The mastermind behind the festival is Brian Gillis, a local promoter who operates under “Eleven Presents”. We caught up with Brian to ask him a few questions about this year’s festival.
Music Lives: What made you start Off the Floor Fest? How has it changed over the last six years?
Brian Gillis: I’ve always been a music enthusiast, and when I moved to Guelph I discovered that Ontario has a seriously amazing local music scene. I began putting on shows with bands I discovered, and I came across so many impressive artists that I was inspired to put together my own mini-festival. I took a shot at it, and people had a really good time, so I tried it again. Six years later, here I am, still geeking out and hoping people are as stoked as I am to go see all of these rad bands that call Ontario home.
The biggest change has been the formatting. The event used to take place in one night at a single venue. Now it is three days long and consists of six separate shows at four different venues. It has become far more collaborative and more elaborate. But that seems to be how things go … the longer you do something, the more you want to switch it up and refine it.
ML: Do you have any Off the Floor Fest memories from the past?
BG: A performance that sticks out for me was Sound One in 2010. They were a killer instrumental dancehall/ska band from Toronto. I booked them to open for Maximum RNR, a punk band also from Toronto. Sound One had a full five-piece brass section and people were freaking out during their show. Like, dancing on top of chairs across the venue and being totally wild. It was the only time I’d seen that at the Jazz, and I still think it was pretty cool.
ML: How did you find/pick the bands that are playing this year? Who are the top 3 bands you are most excited to see? [Assuming, of course, that you are excited about all of them!]
BG: As a local music enthusiast, I spend a lot of time researching emerging bands in the independent Southern Ontario music scene. I have broad interests, so this year’s bill crosses a few genres and is a combination of some up and coming artists from out of town and what I would argue are some of Guelph and Kitchener-Waterloo’s best bands operating in the scene right now.
I am really excited to see all of the bands this year, but if I had to choose, I would say Born Wrong, Taylor Knox and the Legato Vipers are the shows I am most pumped to see.
ML: Where can people find out more about the festival?
ML: We use Facebook to spread the word. Check out the full schedule at https://www.facebook.com/events/263180233838434/
You can check out more about each show that makes up Off the Floor Fest by clicking on the links below. We’ll see you at the show!