I wouldn’t exactly call it a festival. My idea of festivals (I am both a Glastonbury and a Burning Man survivor) is where you go to an event, that allows you a relative amount of freedom with respect to your comings and goings, so you can watch music and relax.
Having paid $75 per ticket, I had hoped to spend most of my time watching music, having a couple of drinks and taking in the vibe. What we did instead was spend at least half of the day in a queue. We queued to buy tickets for drink and/or food. Then we queued, with said tickets, to be allowed into the beer area (laws in Ontario dictate that people who are drinking in public have to be separated by a fence from the rest of the world), so that we could then queue to swap those tickets for a beer. On average one beer took 40mins to actually acquire. If you didn’t like beer, you were unlucky. If you didn’t Budweiser beer, yup, unlucky. If you didn’t like paying $6 for one can of Budweiser beer, you were SOL.
Upon running low on money, having paid almost $40 for four beer and two chicken wraps (not eating hot dogs, hamburgers or pepperoni pizza, we were a bit limited in our options) we thought we’d better find an ATM to make sure we had enough money for the whole day. RBC had not envisioned the complications involved with setting up an ATM on an island and the ATM’s that were supposed to be supplied for the day, weren’t working. The good people of the Toronto Island Tourist Village opened their one ATM (which, given the speed at which it worked, I think is wind powered) for our use and, once again, we queued for 45 minutes to be able to get money so we could go and queue another 40 minutes to get another drink.
Once we’d actually resigned ourselves to being ripped off and to the endless queuing, we actually had a really good time. We arrived at 3pm just in time to see K-Os, who absolutely live.
The Arctic Monkey’s were typically “British bad boy” in the way they performed (not much interaction with the crowd, a lot of farting about with dark sunglasses and ostentatiously drinking bottles of Stella between songs), but they were still awesome live and I am glad to have had the chance to see them. My only regret is that I didn’t know about them before they got so famous – the energy they perform with would be great in a small venue.
I think the absolute highlight of the day though, was Bjork. Not because I particularly liked any of the music she played, but just because her set, her backing entourage and her sound were just SO strange. Strange and beautiful. The sound she creates just with her voice is incredible. Dressed in a big frilly gold lame dress and silver tights, she lept about the stage and performed a set that was kind of choral. She had at least ten backing singers and a full wind section (French horns, trombones, cornets). She also had a huge green laser that beamed out from the stage and made patterns on a huge tree located at the back of the arena. Unfortunately our pictures didn’t catch her performance too well, but I have included them anyway.
We got the chance to watch the sunset over the Toronto skyline and I got some serious people-watching in. So it really was a good day. I just wish the organizers of these events weren’t so bloody greedy and small minded when it comes to the provision of all the peripheral stuff that also adds or detracts from the experience.
I’ve added my photos of the day to my Facebook photo album.