Hey hey, everybody...
Thought you might like to see what this Hillside thing is all about.
Check it out here... http://www.hillsidefestival.ca/
Because it takes place in a small space on a lake there is a definite limit to the number of folks who can be on the site. And because the population is limited, there is a feeling of community from the time you walk the long and winding path from the fields where you can park your car or disembark from the bus that shuttles back and forth from the centre of Guelph. There is honestly nothing to compare to the feeling of making that trek first thing in the morning with loads of other bleary eyed music lovers who have yet to sip their first organic coffees of the day. It's as if you checked your stress at the turnoff to the conservation area.
With four stages going at the same time, the biggest decisions of the weekend are what to see when, and what to eat for dinner. The food is healthy, the coffee and beer are local and organic, the dishes are rewashed and the water is brought in by truck so that there are no plastic water bottles used throughout the festival. There are drumming circles, craft workshops, a few select vendors, and change huts in case you want to have a swim during the day. Everything ends at 11 pm sharp. This little jewel of an area is surrounded by residential not far off, and good neighbours are important. Folks share sunscreen, conversation and save your place in line when you have to use the portajohns while waiting for your beer. You rarely see a cop because they are never needed. Volunteers run the thing for the most part. Artists collaborate on the fly, and it's not unusual to bump into and chat with whoever was on stage only minutes before.
Some years the weather has been brutal. Like the year it rained torrentially, and Owen Pallett refused to leave the stage until he finished (THEN they cut the power), or the year it was so hot everyone seemed to pick a stage and not leave for the day. I have seen performances that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Make African Peanut Stew and Green Lentil Vindaloo as part of my culinary repertoire, just because it makes you feel so good inside.
Hillside is as close to perfect as a festival can be.
Hope you can make it if not this year, then in the times ahead. It's worth the trip.