Canadian Musician Does Bestival – Day 1Tuesday, June 14th, 2016
The awesome duo of writer Samantha Everts & photographer Mark Matusoff was out for another weekend of music, this time on the ground for the 2nd Canadian edition of Bestival in Toronto. The fest went down June 11-12, 2016. Check out a review and photo library from day 1 below.
If anything, the extreme heat on Saturday encouraged festival goers to shed more layers of clothing and add even more sparkles to their elaborate costumes. Bestival is a hybrid festival of electronic and rock imported straight from the U.K., this year with dream-pop stoners Tame Impala and icons The Cure headlining.
This was the second year Festival has taken place in Toronto, with the most notable change being the move from the Island last year to Woodbine Park in the Beaches. EDM fans needn’t worry though – the Hindu Temple that shot fire and was complete with 2 lifesize pink elephant statues on the roof returned, as did the giant Bestival sign, gorgeous pageantry, and even more brave/beautiful festival goers happy to jump into a costume parade led by a truck-float-turned-unicorn for drag queens to dance on.
While the Island had more space and a heightened of a sense of adventure in having to cross by ferry, the vibe was totally different and overall more positive, inclusive, and dare I say, LGBT-friendly than in 2015 (with the notable exception of the non-VIP bathrooms being disgusting).
As very casual electronic dance fans, part of the fun of this festival was just the people watching between the four stages, inflatable church, food trucks, and grassy fields. And there was no shortage of activities; think drag queen croquet, a full brass marching band, sound healing workshops, and a silver Elvis.
We entered the Big Top stage first (modeled to look like a giant circus tent, but with a DJ and massive screen in the middle) to watch Canadian DJ Shaun Frank play to an enthusiastic hometown crowd. With Delaney Jane beside him, they ripped into their single “Heaven” before ending with a version of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” that the crowd ate up.
The first day was way more electronic-focused, and Seattle band Odesza brought the crowd over from the Bollywood Stage to hoop and rave in the field during their hour-long set.
Tame Impala have been riding a wave of popularity behind their surf-psych-rock-shoe-gaze since the Australian band’s 2012 album Lonerism had “It Feels Like,” and “Elephant” charting in Canada. Starting their set with their 2015 single “Let it Happen,” the group bounced between albums and included a Mark Ronson cover (“Daffodils”). Maybe it was the sun that wore them out, but the band didn’t have the energy expected of a festival headliner. Regardless, it was easy to get lost in the swirling purple and orange shapes and orbs that floated behind them on a large digital screen as they performed to an audience eager to soak up the good, spacey vibes they were putting out.
More from Day 2 to follow…