(By: Natalie Panacci – Guest Contributor)
This past weekend, Fort York held its third annual Toronto Urban Roots Festival which consisted of three days filled with phenomenal musicians ranging from iconic acts such as Wilco, Cake and The Pixies to local bands like The Strumbellas, The Elwins and catl.
The festival’s first day kicked off with some incredible folk artists such as Shakey Graves and The Avett Brothers.
All the way from Austin Texas, Alejandro Rose-Garcia (Or better known as Shakey Graves) generated a great crowd for his energetic set. The unique aspect about Shakeys performances is that he rarely plays his repertoire the same way as recorded on his albums, which seemed to surprise his audience. It is hard to imagine what it must be like for an artist to play the same set the same way thousands of times. It was refreshing to see Shakey keeping it interesting for not only his audience, but also himself.
As 6:30PM rolled around, the crowd at the east stage began to fill with people of all ages eager to see The Avett Brothers. The band slowly came on one by one starting with the drummer who began to play their first song, Satan Pulls the Strings. He was then joined by the violinist and cellist. At this point the audience had been teased enough and finally the two everyone had been screaming for, Scott and Seth Avett, walked on. They surely did not disappoint. The whole band was grooving and moving which energized the audience creating what seemed like a genuinely happy vibe from everyone watching.
The night ended with Of Monsters and Men which left people excited for the next two days TURF had to offer.
Saturday afternoon included great sets by Passenger, Royal Canoe and Lucinda Willams. The hour of rain stopped no one and just as Lucinda Williams began to sing, the clouds opened to release the rays that continued on throughout the day. Legendary acts such as Cake and Wilco had their fans passionately singing every word.
Since their decision to kick out female vocalist Jade Castrinos, fans of Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros were seeing the band perform without her for the first time. Although songs seemed a little empty without Castrinos voice, lead vocalist Alex Ebert did not hold back by jumping off the stage interacting with the crowd (and also bringing up a handful of people to the stage). Thanks to Ebert, the night was left on strong note.
The last day of TURF seemed to have the biggest crowd. This was most likely due to artists such as Will Butler and Neko Case. One of the most anticipated headliner of the festival, The Pixies, surprised the audience by playing a lot of their newer music. Although many we’re hoping for their older repertoire, they were forgiven when the intro of Where Is My Mind began.
The third annual Toronto Urban Roots Festival had a great range of new and old artists attracting a great audience. The weekend was undoubtably an unforgettable one for many, leaving everyone with the question, “When do early bird ticket sales go on for TURF 2016 again”?
(Photos by Natalie Panacci and Josephine Tse. All rights reserved.)