Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wolfe Island Music Festival

Last weekend Em and I went on a road trip. We had decided to squeeze in one last music festival before I left for my trip. Emily had heard about Wolfe Island Musicfest. It was on the right weekend and it was close enough to her parent's house that we had a place to stay.

We hit the road on Friday afternoon with Daphne (Emily's greyhound) in the back seat. We made it to Belleville in no time and stopped by the house to drop off Daph and have something delicious to eat. Emily's mother makes everything for us to eat and she packed us dinner too. Gillian, Em's sister, was in the process of organizing her yard sale for the next morning. She had all sorts of things out and it was going to be a high-class sale. All of the items were on special for Emily and I at a 100% discount. I picked up a copper-y silver-y scarf. It might actually come to Australia to me as it matches everything I own.

Shortly after our arrival in Belleville we were on the road to the festival. We decided to take the scenic route down across the county. It truly was a beautiful drive. The weather was fantastic and there was plenty to see. I think we drove by at least 7 historical plaques. Someday we will have to return to check out the county more thoroughly. We did make one pit stop in Bloomfield at Slickers Ice Cream Parlour. At Slickers they make really interesting ice cream flavours and use a lot of local ingredients. I had an apple pie ice cream that had whole baked apple pies stirred right into the ice cream. I also had a ginger raspberry ice cream that was so tasty. After our ice cream break we headed on through Picton. Picton is one of the bigger towns on the county island. At Picton we took the Glenory Ferry across to the mainland. The ferries in this area are all free. We had perfect ferry timing and literally drove onto the ferry right before it left the dock. We got out of our car with all of the other people and stood up near the front for the short channel crossing. On the mainland we drove along the shore of Lake Ontario to Kingston. The road along the shore is much nicer than the 401 because it is less busy (at least on the weekends) and is well maintained since there are many large industries along the shore including a quarry, a cement plant, and some other plants. Some of the plants even have their own huge docks out into Lake Ontario so that ships can pick up and drop off supplies.

In Kingston we parked near the arena where the Frontenacs play and walked down the street to the Wolfe Island Ferry. We stopped at Pan Chancho for baked goods. I had a buttermilk banana cupcake with chocolate buttermilk frosting. It was one of the softest, smoothest baked goods I have ever had. Emily had her favourite, pain au chocolat, or chocolate croissant, which was almost as good as the ones she had eaten in Paris. We boarded the ferry with a whole lot of people. These people were mainly Kingston hipsters on their way over to the festival. There were a lot of skinny jeans and vintage high-waisted shorts in the crowd. On the ride over we admired the wind turbine field that has been built across Wolfe Island. From the ferry I counted 76 wind turbines. There are many more, I'm sure. We landed at the ferry dock and walked around the town on the Island. The gates to the main part of the festival weren't open yet, so we went over to the Island Grill where the pre-festival show was being held. We ordered some ceasers that were made in a bar that was literally in a shack. Then we sat on the shore eating the dinner Em's mom had packed for us, sipping our spicy ceasers, and watching for the ferry. We had curry buns, bbq pork buns, snack mix, brownies, and apples that we decided not to eat. We had gotten enough fruits and veggies from the ceasers. yum. Em took a picture of the musician storage area which was where they kept their instruments under a tree by the dock.

When the gates had opened we went into the main festival area. This was the front parking lot for the town hall. The lighting was very cool and we watched The Bahamas as the sun went down. We also happened to be sitting next to Ron Sexsmith. That was cool. We met our friends from Guelph, Laura and Chris. We hung out and drank some beers. And we looked at the merch tent. The t-shirts for the festival were really cool. I liked the grey ones a lot.

We went back to our original spot and Ron Sexsmith dropped his half full beer. Some of it splashed on my feet. He apologized for splashing me, and I said, "no worries, it only splashed me a little bit". We watched Sarah Harmer for a bit. She opened her set with the song, Aglow, which I really enjoyed.

We decided that we needed to get a really good seat for Woodhands. They were playing down the road at the Great Wolfe Hotel. Laura had worked in the hotel one summer as a short-order cook. When we got to the hotel, there really weren't many people there at all. At the bar, I was standing right beside Dan Werb and Paul from Woodhands. We sat and had another beer. Emily had the ginger ale that her Mom had packed. Before Woodhands played we had to sit through P.S. I Love You. They were a rock duo from the Island. The lead singer wore Kiss make-up on his face. It was all very odd. They had a bit of a following, being locals. When Woodhands came on they had some technical difficulties. I suppose that's what you get when you play on 30 year old electronic instruments. The crowd liked their show, of course, but it was nothing compared to the set we had seen at Hillside. Once again, I stood just at the back of the standing crowd up on a bench. It had really spring-y cushions so I just bounced along for the whole show.

After Woodhands, we walked back to the ferry with our eardrums half blown out. It was a chilly ride across and I sat right beside Ron Sexsmith again. Not on purpose, I just came around a corner to empty seats and there he was. We took the 401 back to Belleville and went straight to bed, at 3:00 am.

The next morning we were up bright and early at 10:00 am for Gillian's yard sale. I purchased a pair of beaded deer skin and rabbit for moccasins. They are delightful to wear. I also purchased two tiny pig pencils for my sister. You press the snout and the lead comes out of the tail. Four tiny pottery mugs and a tiny mini Wade Red Rose Tea figurine of a pup. I think the story behind these figurines is very interesting and a special part of late 20th century Canadian history.

That afternoon we headed back to the festival. The main stage had been set up and all of the music was being put on in the baseball diamond outfield that day. We took a blanket and napped, and ate, and I knit mittens for a band, When An Ambulance Needs An Ambulance. Soon after we had settled in a hipster girl from Kingston came and sat directly in front of us. She just happened to be the worst dog owner in the world. Her Basset Hound, Harriet, lunged on me twice, tried to steal my food, growled at me, spilled tea on my mitten, and walked over Emily's head while she was asleep. As my Dad says, there really isn't much clearance between Basset Hounds and the ground. We were thoroughly annoyed within the first ten minutes of this behaviour, so we had to move our blanket. I hope that owner clued in that we were moving away from her because she was obviously attention starved. She told me that she would replace any of my food Harriet ate and that she had had to replace two hot dogs the previous year. Um, my sandwich was irreplaceable unless she was going to drive home to Belleville and have Ching-Bee whip up another one.

Some of the notable acts we say that night included the end of One Hundred Dollars, Ohbijou, Rural Alberta Advantage, Winter Gloves, and, of course, Holy Fuck. I was really happy to see RAA because I had missed them at Hillside and I think they are cool. We also saw Guelph locals, The D'urbervilles. I was actually quite impressed with their new stuff. It was so much more catchy than what I'm used to. Holy Fuck actually closed the show and Em and I snuck up to the very front to see their set. There was an opening between the stage and the speakers and the sound guy actually moved some stuff so we could see them really well. They put on an incredible show, as usual. Unfortunately, Em's camera had run out of batteries and we missed several good photo ops.

We made it back to Belleville around 1:00 am and once again crashed into bed. We were very tired. I'd been on the road for days at this point because I had been in St. Catharine's visiting Nat at her adorable new house the day before we left for Kingston. We got a really good sleep that night, though, and woke up to a delicious brunch of omelettes, baked tomatoes, egg-y bread, and fruit salad.

At noon, we left to return to Guelph. On the way we went through a heavy rainstorm. The sky turned black and luckily Em had stopped to fix the windshield wipers minutes before we entered the downpour. We made it through and decided to stop at the Big Apple. This is a popular tourist trap on the 401 between Belleville and Toronto. They have made over 3 million pies. We bought some dumplings, which were over-sugared. Possibly the sweetest item either of us had eaten. Ate a small portion and tried to go into the big apple. It was closed for maintenance. Em took a good picture of us on her Blackberry in the rain beside the apple. In the restaurant there were pictures of big things from around the world. We decided we would have to make note of these things and try to visit some of them. When we took a closer look we say that these pictures included the big nickel in Sudbury, the big goose in Wawa, the apple, and about 20 other big things in Australia. I'm going to have to keep my eye out for big items on my trip. There was a pineapple, a rocking horse, a really cool big lobster, and a big tangerine to name a few. We also walked through the enormous gift shop that was attached to the restaurant. It was mainly full of walls and walls of REALLY offensive t-shirts. Strange.

Once we were back in town, we headed over to Josh's house for a private show featuring the song the boys had written for me. It is an absolutely fantastic song, very catchy, Louise, Em, and I all agreed that it was our favourite of all the songs they had written. I gave them the mittens and we were headed back to town. We met Kelsey, Mike, and Andrew to go to Pete Kelly's unofficial art opening at Manhatten's and ate fantastic pizza. The night ended with the craziest lightening storm any of us had ever seen in Guelph. It was actually quite terrifying and incredible.


  1. Sounds like a fantastica trip, and good festival. I think there's a picture on kate's facebook of her at the giant pineapple in australia. You should take a matching one.

  2. I will have to keep this in mind for next year! The festival sounds great and the adventures to and from sound pretty awesome too!

    I can't wait for pictures with Cass and giant things from australia. aha. It's the opposite of what i'm used too, you and mini things.

  3. I was so thrilled to find out that Australia is home to giant things. If I can track down the pineapple I will definitely take my picture there.

    O, and the festival is highly recommended. It's very different from Hillside in that it is very, very casual and no one pays attention to detail. It's kind of nice to just go and not think about anything, but there is no sense of community or environmental awareness whatsoever.