Concerts Concerts Arts & Crafts' Field Trip Music & Arts Festival at Fort York

Arts & Crafts' Field Trip Music & Arts Festival at Fort York

Broken Social Scene at Field Trip Music & Arts Festival
Field Trip Music & Arts Festival

Fort York in Toronto, ON
June 8, 2013

Review by: Chad Hutchings
Photos by: Julie Lavelle

Grade school day trips were never quite like this.

Looking back, I'm not sure why we were surprised to find Arts & Crafts putting on one of the best Toronto festivals we've ever seen. Over the past ten years, the storied music production company has rarely come up short on all of those auditory efforts they've gotten their hands into, and we should have known to expect some great things from the day at Fort York pegged as the flagship of their ongoing anniversary celebrations. 

Thousands of bodies showed up for the sounds, but this music festival offered up more than that. As for sustenance, the common complaint about limited eats at Canadian festivals was nowhere to be found; there were dozens of food vendors with options so broad you probably couldn't dream up what the menus had in store until you saw them for yourself, and the big array meant smaller lines, fuller bellies, and happier audiences. And there weren't just food options acting as a distraction between bands - there were countless vendors and installations to be seen, from a Drake General Store to an Etsy tent to a hula hooping fitness group, each with a unique charm that begged for more time than the breaks between bands would afford. From where we stood, we couldn't ask for much better from the organizers (issues with VIP disappointments and alcohol were voiced by a few, but since we attended as media plebs and since we don't go to these things to get trashed, mum's the word from us on those fronts). In fact, there were so many quality additions on the side that it made it hard to choose between bouncing around the booths and seeing sets from the artists on the bill.

Of course, we were always happy to choose the latter, because those Arts & Crafts acts always impress, both in the studio and out. With two large stages staggering sets from the label's latest talents and strongest alumni, we spent a good portion of our day wearing big grins and shifting from one side of the field to the other. Because of our forced late arrival (day jobs are the devil's work), we only rolled in with time to hear the fantastic final touches of Hayden's midday set, followed closely by the poppy, sometimes synthy goodness that is Ra Ra Riot live on stage. Bloc Party took up the reins and had the audience moving despite how real things felt in the afternoon sun, and even people walking down the road to the other stage were stopping to dance to the performance that couldn't be ignored. Timber Timbre eased back on the adrenaline and made the crowd feel slightly uneasy in their signature way, like a 45 minute soundtrack from some unsettling clever film, and the folks from the ever-loved Stars were as they always have been: bold and energetic and really damned excited to be on-stage, as if they just couldn't believe their luck. Dan Mangan was true to form, too, performing without fault while emanating an air of genuine kindness and not really noticing that he was the apple of every girl's eye in the rapt crowd, and Feist's set was massive and memorable, with the audience shoulder to shoulder as far as anyone could see. Finally, Broken Social Scene's break from their hiatus was the crown jewel of the festival, with A&C's best known and original act getting together to play their monumental You Forgot It In People in its entirety with the kind of performance that could make any new listener fall in love (which is basically how BSS has performed every time I've seen them). By the end of the day, while we can't speak for the whole herd, the only real thumbs-down we felt came from the realization that it was all over when the clock struck whatever, when we were filled by the fear that we might just have to wait another ten years for a second incarnation. But, you know what they say: It's better to have loved and lost... right?

Ra Ra Riot

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Bloc Party

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Stars

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Dan Mangan

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Feist

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Broken Social Scene

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