Welcome to the 34th year of Hillside; whether you’re new or old, you’ve come to this festival because it speaks to you in some way. There is something special here, something in the air, in the sounds of the drums, and in the faces of the people you see here. People come back year after year for this feeling. So, how can we carry that feeling all year round?
It starts by breaking down what that feeling is, which is essentially our core values — those of altruism, equality, environmentalism, and peacemaking. They are powerful values, and they begin by taking root in our communities. We are a community here at Hillside, but we challenge you to help us expand that idea of community.
One of the themes of this year’s festival is that of resistance, an idea that seems even more pressing in the political climate in which we find ourselves, both within our borders and outside of them.
It is through resistance that we can build stronger communities and stronger bonds. We must resist the lines of thinking that tell us to separate ourselves along gender or racial lines, or that tell us we’re too different to get along. We must resist the idea that we can’t change the world for the better or that every human being doesn’t deserve a healthy planet.
We have cultivated a line-up of artists who, in some way, challenge the status quo and the hegemony of our society. A protest playlist, so to speak. Protest music is inherently contextual, meaning it is rooted in the time, place, and communities in which it was created. Protest music is a response to what is going on in the moment. And right now the need for music of resistance is just as strong as ever.
We have Leonard Sumner, one of the lead voices in #IdleNoMore, the legendary Billy Bragg, environmentalist Sarah Harmer, the revolutionary DJ Shub, the optimistic voices of Las Cafeteras, and dozens more.
This 34th year is about disruption and subversion. It is about the celebration of voices from all walks of life and from all types of people. It is about the voice of change. It is about the future.
It is our hope that you’ll carry this theme of resistance with you outside the shores of Hillside and help build a better world for all.
For more photos from Hillside Festival, head to our Facebook page!