Not just a mantra, or its designated hashtag, but also a feeling. The moment one steps off the (FREE!) shuttle bus onto the Guelph Conservation grounds of Hillside Festival, you can’t help but feel the radiating happiness and positive vibes of its staff, volunteers and goers. Even the drivers are happy to see you and want to know everything about your day.
Many have considered Hillside to be the fest that prefaces a Canadian artist or band’s boom moment, where they’re seemingly suddenly huge after. It has also acted as an introduction to thousands of said talents before they “make it big.”
The festival’s most major alumni have included Choir! Choir! Choir!, Buffy Sainte-Marie, PUP, Tegan and Sara, Hollerado, Fucked Up, The Darcys. July Talk and more.
This year, the Main Stage provided privilege of performances by up-and-comers Busty & The Bass, Tim Baker (of Hey Rosetta!), San Fermin, Rhye plus the much-anticipated A Tribe Called Red and alumni return of Hollerado.
The tented Island Stage put on various Hillside performer-hosted workshops and further musical slots filled by the likes of Cadence Weapon, U.S. Girls, Birds of Bellwoods, Plants & Animals, Chad VanGaalen plus what felt like an ever-uplifting musical sermon by Rev. Sekou.
From the Lake Stage came other various workshops and talks. including one ever-drawing look back on the life of the late Stuart McLean by Jess Milton, his longtime producer. This is also where Team Reckless had the chance to take in performances by Partner, Five Alarm Funk and (we’re calling it now, future global-touring rock band) Crown Lands.
For calm, adult audiences came the Sun Stage, full of spoken word appearances with a pretense of not being for little ears in attendance. From the improv of the Hillside Heroes to poets like Britta B. to the comedy of Craig Fay or LOL ((Ladies and LGBTQ+ Out Loud), the Sun Stage came as a breath of fresh air to those seeking a different kind of content or a taste of “I don’t know what to expect but I like that part of it.”
& it wouldn’t be a festival at a designated conservation area without the happily noticeable green initiatives. Solar powered charging, divisive recycling arrangements, use (and washing of) actual dishes over styrofoam plates and plastic cutlery, the Main Stage’s living roof, cargo trikes; absolutely no shortage of efforts in any major festival logistic.
Early bird packages for Hillside 2019 are already available (& Reckless Recommended) here.
To attendees we saw, and those we might see, Happy Hillside!