(By: Josie Mills, with photos by Mansoor Tanweer)
I can’t say I’ve ever had a better field trip.
Walking into Fort York and Garrison Commons for the 2016 edition of Field Trip in Toronto felt like a sweet patch of nature amongst the city but with a few extra food trucks. Although this year’s line-up was action packed, music wasn’t the only attraction. The festival featured a “mess hall” with fun things like a watermelon eating contest, an indoor comedy show and a day camp with fun activities like pinata making and a whole area just for hula hooping.
Day 1: Sun, Smiles and Shows
Even though this was actually only her second time in Canada ever, Megan Sullivan McInerney, who goes by “Meg Mac,” is an Australian singer-songwriter who made herself at home and dominated the stage. It was her backup singers first time here, one of them being her very own younger sister. She played her rebellious anthem “Every Lie” and killed a gritty and soulful cover of Bill Withers’s song “Grandma’s Hands”.
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This electro-pop duo are two awesome things: they are siblings and are actually from Toronto. Jay and Stefanie McCarrol played “More Like You” and “Dancing Underwater” with tons of energy on the stage and had a lot of interactions with fans.
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It’s hard not to think of an early Nicki Minaj when Santigold first appears because of her bold outfits and music style, but during her performance she proved herself to be more than just flashy dresses, multiple costume changes, big signs and backup dancers. Although she wasn’t the strongest singer at the festival, she put on a show that had most of the crowd moving and even brought the most enthusiastic dancers from the crowd on stage to party with her.
There is never a lack of action when this Toronto based alternative rock band hits the stage. July Talk is hard to compare to other acts because it is hard to match the chemistry both physically and vocally that Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay have on stage. Each one have two different personas, both two extremes creating chaos, but they put on a great show. They played older crowd favourites like “Guns + Ammunition” and “Paper Girl,” but also new songs like “Blood + Honey” and “Push + Pull.” On a more serious note, Dreimanis explained to the crowd how touring with the National was a dream because when he first moved to Toronto, he wanted to go to their show, but was not going to be 19 for another week. He got a fake ID, but didn’t make it past the security. At that time, the band was passing by and he told them his situation and they let him into the show.
Ohio-based rock band The National were one of the most anticipated headlining acts of the first night of the festival. They aren’t new players in this game and were formed in 1999. They played their two new songs “The Day I Die” and “Sometimes I Don’t Think” from their upcoming album and many others in their hour and a half long set. This was just one of their performances on their world tour before they headline the Latitude festival in the UK.
Day 2: Rain, Ra Ra Riot, Robyn and more
Although the second day of the festival started out sunny and beautiful, the shows had to be postponed around 2:30 pm and the venue evacuated because of lightning. Although it seemed like overkill at the moment, and I had to leave the shelter of Lululemon’s Yoga tent and run through the torrential downpour to an actual building, the organizers were likely being extra cautious because of the 71 people injured at Rock am Ring in Germany the previous day.
English musician Eliot Sumner, who used to go by the alias “Coco,” brought their indie rock sound to the festival and showed gritty emotion and talent. Although this is no surprise, because Sumner is actually the child of musician Sting and actress/producer Trudie Styler. They had a short set of only four songs including: “Dead Arms & Dead Legs”, “Information”, “Firewood” and “Species”.
Ra Ra Riot
American indie rock band Ra Ra Riot from Syracuse, New York brought their high energy show to Field Trip that consisted of new and old songs. They played their new single “Water” from their album “Need Your Light.” This isn’t their first field trip to Toronto this year though as they headlined a show at Lee’s Palace on April 14th.
This band was founded in 1996 and named after a failed romance between band member Kevin Barnes and a woman from Montreal. Their musical style is constantly changing but draws most of it’s inspiration from 1960s pop music. There were multiple costume changes and lots of backup dancers with extravagant costumes. It’s definitely not just music with this band, with the circus-like production really helping the band stand out. They played “Gronlandic Edit” and “Suffer for Fashion” from their latest album, but no matter what they sounded like, it’s hard to believe anyone could forget this performance’s unique look.
Swedish electro-pop star Robyn graced the stage dressed in fringed half glittering tights, half fuzzy animal and ended the festival in a dance party. Most of the set were remixes, but also included some songs from her side project “La Bagatelle Magique”. She also performed a version of 2010’s “Dancing On My Own”. Time was no object for the singer, playing 20 minutes longer than scheduled and treated the audience to an extra long finale to Field Trip.
Were you at Field Trip? Who were your favourite artists? Tweet us! @RUtvNews