My annual music festival of choice is usually Winnipeg Folk Festival but it simply wasn’t in the cards this year so I stayed local. I simply took a walk to Fort York National Historic Site and settled in for three days of incredible music from Canada and around the world.
Here’s a taste of the talents on offer at TURF, the Toronto Urban Roots Festival…
COLD SPECKS: I started the festival exactly as I hoped it would begin. I lay down in the east stage field, looking up at the clouds and let the magic that is Cold Specks wash over me. I am in love with this woman’s voice.
SHAKEY GRAVES: This man was born for the stage. I have waited for a while to experience ‘the shake’. An incredible musician and an undeniable showman, his energy and weirdly wonderful stories made me smile – and dance!
THE AVETT BROTHERS: This band never fails to impress. I am a sucker for a stand up bass and they have one – and a half. Then throw in an insane fiddle, a lit up piano, countless guitars and a crazy drummer. I have no trouble saying the words, I and LOVE and YOU.
BUILT TO SPILL: These guys are old school guitar rock at its best. I was actually surprised by how much I got into it…although this show was definitely meant for the rebel guitarists of the world. For the band, it was about the music. I felt like I was watching legends.
CHOIR! CHOIR! CHOIR!: I was in Choir! Choir! Choir! …for a day. Should’ve stuck around. These guys had their own AWESOME set (hells yeah I’ll sing a little Floyd and Beatles while sitting on a grassy hill with a cider). Next, they took the stage with Rich Aucoin and then Cake! WHAT?!?
PASSENGER: Michael David Rosenberg certainly lived up to his English folk rock reputation: charming, fun and heartfelt. He had the crowd in his hands from start to finish, and was called back for the only encore I saw for the entire weekend!
RICH AUCOIN: I bought a ticket to TURF to see Rich Aucoin. If I didn’t see another performer, I would have still have had the greatest weekend after seeing – no, after being a part of his show. A Rich Aucoin show cannot be appreciated until it is experienced but what can I say to inspire you to go? Dancing, sing-a-longs, slideshows, confetti, playing with a parachute. Oh and he also shares his phone number you can text him for free music. SEE THIS GUY.
ST. PAUL AND THE BROKEN BONES: Dave Letterman’s favourite band brought such an incredible energy to the stage. I mean who doesn’t love a horn section? Seriously. A true showman, Paul worked the crowd like a master puppeteer. Never before have I seen a gyrating nerd get so many people so excited.
EDWARD SHARPE AND THE MAGNETIC ZEROS: While the show was big and beautiful, my favourite moment was when Edward pulled a kid on stage. He held a sign that said ‘It’s my first concert and my birthday’…so Edward led the entire park in singing him happy birthday. Now there’s a memory! Happy birthday Jacob.