I started the overcast day very early, hitting the Fort York grounds and going straight to the John Frieda tent where a team of stylists were providing complimentary festival-inspired hairstyles. The talented and very sweet Janine coaxed my mop into a swath of curls and waves that lasted all day despite the rain that fell intermittently, thus helping to renew and retain my love for John Frieda products. The location of the John Frieda tent allowed for me to take in the first few songs by Zaki Ibrahim, her sweet and soulful stylings were the perfect way to ease me into the music of the day while Janine curled away. Looking stylish and sexy, with bohemian bare feet and accessorized to the nines (including her backup singers, the best looking and sounding accessories a singer gal can have!), Ibrahim serenaded the smallish crowd with a smile that was infectious, and music that brought the sunshine back…at least while she was on stage.
Deciding to continue my day of soundtracked pampering, I headed over to Pinky’s nail art station, located in the Drake General Store tent. Nail artist Marissia made my rock and roll nail dreams come true with a fantastic black and grey STUDDED manicure, complete with ombre statement nails and what we agreed were “fuck you diamonds” – meticulously drawn diamonds on both my middle fingers. My manicure soundtrack? The music of Do Make Say Think on the Garrison stage.
Ready to show off my newly decorated fingertips while photographing, I headed back over to the Fort York stage to satisfy my curiosity about BADBADNOTGOOD. Not only do they possess one of the coolest band names in Canadian music, they back their moniker cred with some killer tunage and high entertainment factor. From fantastic full band hip hop covers to a furry lion stage mascot, the BBNG crew inspired a raucous midday dance party, fans’ sweat and smiles mixing with the summer showers falling from the sky.
For those interested in witnessing some serious Canadiana, Gord Downie and the Sadies were amping up on the Garrison stage. Another treasure of national proportions, Downie is probably the most charismatic frontman in Canadian music. From his hilarious expressions, his signature dance moves and that unmistakable voice, Downie can always be counted on to entertain. Coupled with the outstanding musical prowess of the Sadies behind him, the show was spectacular.
While the festival’s crown jewel may have been Broken Social Scene’s day closing set, the most anticipated performance was the highly lauded reunion of the Constantines. Manly-yet-in-touch-with-feelings rock at its finest, the Constantines seemed as excited to play together as fans were to see them play. For the ladies who weren’t quite loving the Constantines show as much as their male companions and counterparts, over on the Fort York Stage Feist, backed by husbands and wives from AroarA and Snowblink were holding court as the queens (backed by their boys) of Canadian indie music under the moniker Hydra. Soaring harmonies, creative instrumentation and almost in sync swaying that spread through the crowd characterized this performance, but it also made for some sleepy viewing on this cloudy day.
Girl power aficionado that I am, the band I was most excited to see that day was CHVRCHES. Hailing from Scotland, Chvrches are fronted by Lauren Mayberry, who is actually as tiny as a real fairy princess, and able to sing just as beautifully. Her voice was clear as a bell and sweeter than sugarplums, perfectly offsetting the electronically and effect-enhanced electro rock music provided by Iain Cook and Martin Doherty.
Cheers to Arts & Crafts, who have curated the Field Trip festival to not only be a great musical experience, but to provide entertainment and services on many other levels to cater to just about anyone walking through the gates. I look forward to the next installment of this now annual occurrence, and I can’t wait to see what they put together for next year!
*All photos by Nadia Elkharadly