Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hillside 2009.

Every year in late July the Hillside music festival is held on the island in Guelph Lake Conservation Area. This year marked my fourth year in attendance. Five years ago I went with Bronwen as paying customers. That was the first year Hillside sold out. The next year we returned as volunteers and I washed dishes as Bronwen sold merch. We decided that the benefits that came with volunteering (free camping, food, playing an important role in the Hillside community) completely outweighed the costs (washing tons of dishes with enviro-biodegradable soap in lukewarm water). The following year I was not able to attend as I was a bridesmaid in Ottawa. However, the past two years I have once again volunteered and have ran crafty workshops. Hillside 2008 was a special year because Hillside celebrated it's 25th year running. I've also volunteered in the Hillside office for the first and second annual Hillside Inside events.

This Hillside 2009 was definitely the rainiest, muddiest festival I have ever attended. It didn't really matter though because I also think this was one of the best festivals I have taken part in overall. I found a bunch of new music, my craft workshop was very successful, Nat's tent kept us dry, we ate a ton of Mapleton's Organic (my flavours: maple chunk, ginger, pumpkin, chocolate, and raspberry), friends came up from out-of-town, and we saw some Incredible shows. O, and one of the best parts was that I had completely handed in all of the paperwork, money orders, and copies of my thesis to Graduate Studies at school the morning before it all started.

On Thursday night, Bronwen, Kristen, and Hamish came to our house. They had driven all the way from Ottawa. With one stop for dinner at Hot Belly Mama's for dinner and a few wrong turns the drive had taken them ten hours. We hung out for a bit, then everyone crashed in the livingroom. I had to get up the next day to completely complete the graduation process.

The next morning I got up and headed out. I left those three to find their own breakfasts (which they did well at the Cornerstone). Then I was back and we packed up their rental car and headed up to the Island. Hamish had to be at his volunteer info session and we wanted to set up camp. Check in was quick and simple. I walked Hamish to his meeting. By the time I was back at the causeway the girls had dropped off our HUGE amount of camping gear. Hillside had arranged volunteers with peddle carts and golf carts to transport our belongings up to the campsite. This was greatly appreciated. We found a vacancy in the Volunteer Village and set up the tents.

Setting up tents with ominous clouds in the background:

I always love the colours tent village makes.

Doug, Kent, and Scotty from Kid Coma were playing in the first timeslot so we went to catch a bit of the Acoustically Yours workshop. We were about ready for Hillside beers and Nat met up with us at this point. We quickly set up her tent and then headed back to the mainstage to catch Xavier Rudd. I've seen him perform several times and this time was jsut as good and dance-y as all the others. Next we headed over to see Rock Plaza Central. I had never seen them before and they put on a good show.

The next morning, I was up and went for a swim. I always like to swim in the morning at Hillside. Breakfast was free with volunteer. I liked the orange slices. Unfortunately, my breakfast pita round was chockfull of raisins. My workshop ran first thing that morning. It went well and I managed to squeeze in about 45 crafters. The tent was quite crowded at this point. We ran over to see a few songs from Green Go before we made our return to the craft tent for Bronwen's book binding workshop. The Hillside ladies really loved her craft and everyone's little books turned out very well. Bronwen had put a lot of work into the covers prior to Hillside. Luckily she had found a box of abandoned National Geographic magazines. Their full-page photos make excellent book covers. Once our volunteer hours were complete for the day (we had missed both Bruce Peninsula performances :() we retired to the beer tent to catch the last few songs from the Bahamas. The cover of Purple Rain really got the crowd going. I'm looking forward to seeing them again at Wolfe Island. Emily and Gillian joined us at this point. They had stopped by Sears to pick up some rain gear. Good thing too. Ohbijou was on next. Their set was beautiful, as usual. Then we went to get food. That was good. I stopped by to see bits of Timber Timbre, Attack in Black, and the Guelph Guitar Project. I was feeling a bit down and all of the songs at this point were about sad things and bleh. So, I walked myself through the craft vendors and thought about buying some merch. At 7:00 pm with the first few chords from Hey Rosetta! my mood was completely lifted. The Saturday evening line-up turned out to be one of the best Hillside has ever heard. Hey Rosetta! was followed by Library Voices, Woodhands, and Sunparlour Players (one of my all-time favourite bands. Period.)

Here is a cool video of Woodhands. You can catch Em and I on front row of the picnic table. I'm pointing at a topless crowdsurfer and she laughs:

After the show, we headed over to the merchandise tent. Sunparlour Players made their way over to continue their set and I ran into Pete Kelly, musician photographer extraordinaire (well, in general photographer extraordinaire, but I love (and he loves, I know it) his musician subjects. See his image, entitled Spontaneity, to get a sense of the energy of this band. After the show I went for a dip with Hamish and then we headed over to the drum circle and campfire for a bit. I like to stop by for at least a few minutes every year.

This is the merch I bought:
-Sunparlour Players new CD called Wave North
-Sunparlour Players grey t-shirt with orange and yellow logo
-Patrick Watson grey t-shirt with creepy clapping robot hands
-Dancehall Free For All green ringer t-shirt
-Sunparlour Players preserves: mustard.

On Sunday, I slept in a bit. I really needed a good sleep because I was feeling tired from my crazy week. We had free breakfast again under the dining tent in an attempt to escape the downpours. O, rainy Hillside Sunday, what can I say? It rained a lot and there was a lot of mud. That's about it. My craft workshop went well again. I had another 40 attendees. Then went to see Dancehall Free For All before meeting up with Bronwen for her workshop (we traded workshop assistantships for the weekend. That helped a lot). Once her workshop was over the rain really started to come down and so did the lightning. Bronwen got shocked a bit because she was wearing a toe-ring and standing in a puddle. Scary!

This is what the lightning strike looked like:

Once that all happened, we were free for the rest of the day. We say Clues and Winter Gloves (love). Then we went to pack up. Once we got to the mudpit of a parking lot we decided we needed to move the cars in order to escape come the evening. I had to push Nat's car and that was quite funny. Luckily I did not get very muddy. Well, my feet got very muddy, but the rest of me was clean. The white car we skidded by was not so clean anymore.

Walking back from pushing out the car. Clean feet from a quick dip in the beach:

Traditional ice cream shot:

I had dinner with Andrew, Tyler, Emily, Nat, Kristen, and Bronwen while watching the end of Great Lake Swimmers, Patrick Watson, and Final Fantasy. Fantastic Sunday night line-up, but my feet were so sore and the rain came down hard once again. Bronwen and Kristen went to find a dry spot under the tent and I headed home with Nat. We were wet to the core and freezing cold, but completely content with our weekend at Hillside. I always love getting into a warm car in the middle of the summer when you're freezing cold.

Final Fantasy:

In the morning we got up and went to Eggcetera. It had been a while since I had eaten there and it was a nice way to wrap-up our weekend. The visitors hit the road and I came home to begin the process of packing up my house. Hillside is one of my favourite times of year and I can imagine I will always come back to Guelph to attend.

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