Monday, May 26, 2008

One of my highlights of the summer will be my first trip to the Hillside Festival in Guelph, ON. Hillside takes place July 25, 26, and 27, and offers a unique festival experience with a fantastic line-up, gorgeous setting, and environmentally responsible practices. Remember all the footage from the chaos that was Woodstock 1999? This is the complete opposite of that.

Hillside has a lot going for it that makes it stand out amongst all the other music festivals:
  • attendance is limited to about 6,000 - 7,000, spread between 5 stages, so if you want tickets, you need to move fast - they tend to sell out the weekend passes on the day of sale.
  • the venue is the gorgeous Guelph Lake Conservation Area
  • the line-up is heavy on Canadian talent
  • there's an emphasis on environmental responsibility - there's wet/dry recycling on site, you're encouraged to bring your own plates with many wash stations set up, and beer is served in a re-usable Hillside mug. Ever seen a field full of plastic beer cup empties after a concert?
  • tickets go on sale before the full line-up is announced, so the emphasis is on the event rather than one or two headliners.
  • speaking of tickets - no Ticketmaster involved! Tickets are sold through their own website, phone, and outlets like The Bookshelf in Guelph and Soundscapes in Toronto.
  • the price for a full weekend pass is only $95.00, compared with twice the amount for festivals like Virgin Music Festival.
  • you're encouraged to bring reusable water bottle as they offering free drinking water (take that 4 dollar bottles of water at the Rogers Picnic!)
  • the Festival depends alot on volunteers and the local community - many of the food vendors are from the area offering a multi-cultural selection of food.
  • camping is available at the Conservation area, but sells out every year well in advance. Might I recommend looking up the University of Guelph summer hostel accommodations for a low-cost alternative to a hotel
Performer Line-Up
A complete list won't be settled until July, but here's what's been announced so far. Bands I'm looking forward especially to seeing are marked with an (*).
Aside from the musicians involved, Hillside also offers workshops, spoken word artists, all sorts of art and craft vendors. Obviously I won't be able to see everything - 5 stages means there'll be a couple of scheduling conflicts for me, but that's part of the fun. I'll be sure to blog and take as many pictures as I can.

Wikipedia - Hillside Festival
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