The Field Trip Arts and Music Festival took place on Saturday, July 9th, at Fort York and it was a great day for live music. The diverse lineup served to unify indie music lovers of all different ages and backgrounds who together formed an extraordinary loving crowd of people. The event was crafted so that kids propped up on their parents’ shoulders with jumbo headphones could enjoy the sets comfortably just as much as the teenagers who collided into one another during those entrancing moments of really feeling the music. From young couples laying under the shade of trees in the grass, to the groups of friends who danced under raining confetti, Field Trip was a festival made for everyone.
Many of the beginning acts have recently released debut albums under Arts & Crafts Productions, the independent record label founded by Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene), who is also owed responsibility for putting on the festival.
The first of these artists supported by Arts & Crafts are OMBIIGIZI, a Canadian indie rock music project who kicked off the festival at the Fort York Stage. They played through songs from their debut album Sewn Back Together, which was released earlier this year.
Starting off the day at the Garrison stage was Georgia Harmer, the Canadian alt/ indie singer-songwriter who is celebrating the release of her debut album Stay In Touch.
Back at the Fort York Stage, American indie pop band Daisy the Great made the most of their long journey to the north with a fun-loving set.
Pierre Kwenders is a Congolese-Canadian musician who showed us a different side of the indie music scene with his unique and complex sound. Kwenders redefines the role of language in lyricism, and his artistic innovations have been appreciated worldwide.
Haviah Mighty is a rapper from Brampton, Ontario, who rose to fame in 2016 as a member of the hip-hop group Sorority. Today, she’s released several EPs independently and, in 2019, won the Polaris Music Prize.
The Rural Alberta Advantage is an indie rock band established in Toronto in 2005 and consists of members Nils Edenloff (vocals and guitar), Amy Cole (keyboard, bass, and backing vocals), and Paul Banwatt (drums). Their set served to de-stress those who lazed in the sun and loosened up festival go-ers who were still arriving on festival grounds.
Formed in Etobicoke in the late 1970s and having disbanded in 2007, it was certainly a treat to have the Rheostatics on the stage at Field Trip. Thankfully for fans, since their reforming in 2016 and new album release, more shows have been cropping up across the province. They’re next due to perform at Elora Riverfest in August.
Lucy Dacus, an American indie folk artist from Richmond, Virginia, captivated listeners with her debut album, No Burden.
Busty and the Bass is an incredibly invigorating electro-soul and hip-hop group from Montreal. The cross-pollination of musical abilities of all of the band’s members created a tremendously replayable performance you couldn’t take your eyes off of.
We were lucky to have American singer-songwriter, Kurt Vile, performing again in Toronto. The indie-folk rock artist was arresting in his performance, leaving us all yearning for more. Kurt Vile is one charming man with a guitar; you just want to listen to him sing under the sun all day long.
Valley is an indie pop band formed in Toronto in 2014 and in 2020, received the Juno award for Breakthrough Group of the Year. If their recorded music wasn’t exciting enough, their live set was mind-blowing. Valley is a remarkably dynamic and talented group of musicians and would urge those seeking wonderful music played live to catch one of their shows.
The sun set over Peach Pit during the most highly anticipated show of the day. Peach Pit is an indie rock band from Vancouver, BC, whose surfy guitar-driven melodies are met with a gentle vocal style. In fact, Christopher Vanderkooy’s guitar drove him all the way over the barricade and into the crowd to rip it on the guitar. The band’s success has been snowballing since the release of their debut EP, Sweet FA, in 2016. The band continues on their tour. Upcoming dates are available here.
The Halluci Nation (formerly Tribe Called Red) combines first nations music with electronic and instrumental hip hop elements to create a distinctive sound you’ve never heard before. Their performance encompasses a DJ booth towards the back of the stage where members Tim “2oolman” Hill and Ehren “Bear Witness” Thomas run the show while first nations dancers occupy the foreground. Haviah Mighty even returned to the stage to perform a song in collaboration with The Halluci Nation and Odario called “Ba Na Na.” The Fort York stage during The Halluci Nation show was the place to be for dancing around in the grass at Field Trip this year.
Wrapping up the festival was Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats all the way from Denver, Colorado. The Night Sweats band is an R&B side project created by Rateliff in 2013, which has since amassed a large following with the success of “S.O.B,” a song featured on their self-titled debut album. After a day full of exciting performances, this was the perfect end to the festival. Folk rock sang with so much soul and gusto, kept spirits high, and allowed everybody to feel absolutely free and happy.
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Hi! My name is Maddie and I’m a lover of art and all things rock n’ roll based in Toronto, Canada. I am an artist, writer, photographer, and filmmaker, happily spending my time involved and working hard at each of my passions. When I’m not creating art or films for myself, I’m either listening to music or at local shows using my camera to document the many amazing Toronto artists playing music for crowds of all sizes. I am lucky to spend time shooting, creating videos and taking photos for so many good people playing good Canadian music