Arts & Crafts sure know how to put on an excellent music festival. Field Trip took place over two days at the historic Fort York Garrison Commons. It is a national historic site in Toronto, ON, best known for being the location where the Battle of York took place during the War of 1812. Though the buildings were kept closed from the public, most of the grounds were used to house the boutique event’s stages, the main Garrison Common stage, the Fort York stage in the Discovery Village (with free Wi-Fi!), and the Kid’s Camp stage in the Day Camp area.
The family-friendly event started in the afternoon on both days, allowing parents to get ready and packed up for a full day of activities. With free admission for those 12 and under accompanied by an adult, we saw kids from all ages (even wee ones with adorable protective ear muffs) enjoying and wiggling their baby butts to the music of Kevin Drew, Vance Joy, The Kills, Megan Bonnell, Chvrches, and of course, every hipster parent’s favourite – Broken Social Scene.
The first day, June 7, was met with sunshine and clear blue skies as attendees buzzed around the various booths including The Drake Hotel’s Drake General Store set-up, Pinky’s Nails, the Etsy Village marketplace, and the official merch booths. Girls were getting their hair customized in elaborate braids and side ponytails thanks to the John Frieda booth. Food trucks and vendors were aplenty, including Gourmet Gringos, Caplansky’s Thunderin’ Thelma, Kanga, The Fiesty Jack, Bam Bam Burritos, Hot Bunzz, and more. Boreal Gelato and Augie’s Ice Pops kept the crowd cool with icy cold treats.
A stand-out from the first day was First Nations Pow Wow Step trio, A Tribe Called Red, who blew the top off the Fort York stage for their headlining set. Dancer James Jones was dressed in traditional regalia and captivated the crowd with his fusion of hoop dancing and breaking. ATCR got the audience involved with the help of Jones in a hand-holding, bonding session of round dancing. Surely, it was more interactive than Interpol‘s gloomy performance on the main stage.
The second day started out dreary on June 8, but festival-goers stuck it through the mild rain and clouds to see Broken Social Scene illuminated on the Garrison Common stage by the sun. The band played past the sunset in a fantastic hour-and-a-half-long set that including pulling earlier performer Gord Downie on stage for an epicly Canadian rendition of “Texaco Bitches.”
Over on the Fort York stage, young jazz trio BADBADNOTGOOD pulled a huge crowd. The band entranced the audience with their intense fusion of keys, drums, and bass. They stood in a triangular formation and looked intently at each other for cues – it almost felt like you were watching an intimate in-the-moment secret jam session. After a couple of songs, a giant feline mascot joined them on stage and served as a hype man (hype cat?). The hype cat headbanged, moshed in the pit, and crowdsurfed to the appeasement of drummer, Alexander Sowinski.
Overall, Arts & Crafts’ Field Trip festival exceeded our expectations. They really did have something for everyone – including a hula hoop pit by Sugar Hoops that had everyone from young to old, guy and girl, twirling their hips in glittery neon hoops. Even with the all ages aspect, the children were shockingly well-behaved and seemed to genuinely enjoy being there. There were hardly lines for anything (except short ones at Food Truck Lane), including the two entrances and two free water stations on either side of the grounds.
It is only their second year, but Field Trip has proven to be a shining example of what a successful and well-planned music and arts festival should be. Is it jumping the gun if we’re already looking forward to what Arts & Crafts have planned for next year?
(Photo via Facebook)