Robyn, The National, Charles Bradley, Charlotte Day Wilson, Jazz Cartier & More @ Field Trip 2016

Last weekend, Field Trip took over Fort York. It’s a festival that is as much as about the experience as it is about the music.

For the foodies, there were plenty of food trucks lined along the sides. There was a craft row and a truck sponsored by Express that made free sparkly totebags.

Saturday was beautiful, the sun beamed down as if weren’t still spring. I arrived early enough to catch the first act, Kilmanjaro playing the smaller Fort York stage. Their tunes set the dreamy mood of the festival. I spent more time as a spectator than a photographer this year, experiencing it with my friends from university, some of whom came for the first time.

Over on the Garrison stage Montreal’s Heartstreets set things off with their R&B/electropop tunes. I had not heard this duo beforehand but I was super into their set. Most People took on the other side with their sun drenched pop tunes that were perfect for this day followed by Brave Shores. New York’s Tor Miller crooned his way into our hearts at the main stage. That man has a captivating voice. Meg Mac came after with her doom soul jams.

We spent some time at the kids stage with a pizza. Justin Peroff joined Kevin Drew for some random improvised songs about bums, parents being too cheap to buy a pony, pandas. The topics came from the kids (though Drew did refuse to sing about chicken fingers).

From afar, we enjoyed Santigold’s whole spectacle. Her set was as much performance art as it was music. There were projections that seemed to comment on commercialism: microwaves, cellular phones, shampoo bottles etc while Santi White pranced around the stage with synchronized dancers and multiple costume changes. It was sure a visual treat.

July Talk too the stage next giving us a story about how when they first moved to Toronto, they somehow got the National to get them into their show while underage. Lovely how things would turn out as they went right before them on the main stage.

I gave my friends their first Jazz Cartier experience and they were blown away. He sure does know how to stir up a crowd with hits from his latest record Hotel Paranoia and of course Marauding in Paradise hits “New Religion”, “Holy Shit” and a grande finale of “Dead or Alive”. There was some literal crowd surfing that had the prince of Toronto standing above the audience. The National finished the night, dragging Hayden on stage as they were fans of the folk veteran.

I arrived early on Sunday to see recent prism prize winner Kalle Mattson start up the Fort York stage. He was playing with the current reiteration of his live band for the first time but I wouldn’t be able to tell if he didn’t say anything!

Over on the big stage, the buzzy Charlotte Day Wilson played us slow jams (including the now popular “Work”). She has a preference to slow songs even if they are the most lively for a festival but the way she delivered touched the listers’ souls.

Not too long after, it started to downpour. I hid under a tent I found that had chair but was soon told that it was too dangerous to stay there. I ran into the building where they were housing Analogue Gallery’s photo show. Anyone who didn’t find proper shelter was told to go off grounds. It was unfortunate that they were being told to leave grounds, but it was for their own safety as a lightning storm was possible and abroad there had been lives lost to it. I fully understood from a safety standpoint.

Luckily, the house I hid in also gave shelter to a few of the artists. Kevin Drew sang us the bum bum song again and Drew and Danielle from Dear Rouge sang their hit “I Heard I Had” acoustically.

When a break from the rain occurred, the rest of us was told to go find shelter offsite (aka leave) for the time being until it was confirmed that it would be safe to come back. My friends and I went to a bar closeby and watched Twitter closely.

Around 5:30, we were returned to the grounds, just in time for Charles Bradley to set up and hit the stage. The crooner may be one of the greatest performers alive. He also comes off stage to shakes hands with and hugs the crowd afterward. What a lovely man! DIIV might be like the complete opposite of Charles but they were on right after with their stoner jams. Then we experienced the extreme craziness that was Of Montreal. It was playful and colourful. There were wigs, weird crying baby heads, muscle-print suits, a literal blow-up boat riding in the crowd.

The crowds tightened as we eagerly awaited the night’s headliner Robyn, who turned Field Trip into a late night rave that went a bit over the strict curfew (Toronto has dumb noise rules). Robyn’s set of the night was part of her new remix project which allows her to put new vocal spins on old songs and we were one of the lucky ones to be able to experience it. There were a lot of dancing behind mirrors, that might be slightly confusing (because it hid her) to audiences which were farther back. The set was continuos, the beat kept going keeping the audience dancing until the very end.

Despite the rain, Field Trip delivered everything it promised: great music, food and most importantly community.