FORT YORK, TORONTO, ONTARIO, JUNE 7-8, 2014
In an attempt to build on the massive success of last year’s inaugural Field Trip, organizers doubled down and turned the one-day showcase of mostly Arts & Crafts acts and the best of Toronto’s local independent food and culture community into a two-day event with the most lofty of ambitions.
Field Trip was, and continues to be, a family affair. The community of like-minded musicians that Arts & Crafts has fostered throughout their 11 years in existence is closely tied to the rise of Toronto’s independent music scene and there was no shortage of love and guest spots onstage that took place throughout the weekend. Yet Sunday, the day chock-full of some of the more prominent artists on the bill, was a showcase of how that very community has begun to age and how they’re dealing with being musicians in families.
Saturday was a bit light on big-name draws, but the spectacular weather had many a young family in attendance. Yet, by Sunday, the young families were present onstage. Fucked Up’s Damian Abraham went as far as to bring his three-year-old son, Holden, onstage to try helping sing along to the “Dying on the inside” part during “The Other Shoe.” It was pretty cute until it wasn’t. Abraham’s child wasn’t really keen on playing along and, while it looked pretty cute, the juxtaposition of young kids and punk rock wasn’t exactly a perfect match. Still, Fucked Up treated the crowd to a raucous and enthusiastic take on Glass Boys, their latest LP.
The highlight of the entire festival had to be the much-hyped Constantines reunion. With a constant rain cooling down the crowd, the band crashed through a relentless hour-long set of hits. The band looked aged but not weathered in the slightest, as smiles were routinely shared between band members throughout their set. Lead singer Bry Webb didn’t offer much in the way of stage banter, but did repeatedly acknowledge his young son, Asa, and upon hearing his son call “Daddy” during the set, Webb looked as if he could collapse with joy.
Fortunately, he didn’t: it was the crowd who could barely stand afterwards. This band’s importance and reunion has been well-documented recently and during “Shine A Light,” when the band raised their arms to the sky the crowd did the same. For a moment, it was as if they hadn’t gone anywhere and had also recaptured the spirit of rock and roll in one breath. Stunning.
While a two-day set might have ultimately been a bit ambitious, considering how thin the crowds were compared to the previous year’s festival, family friendly events such as this, including other outstanding sets from Hydra, Shad, A Tribe Called Red, another reunion from Broken Social Scene and finally, Gord Downie and the Sadies, deserve recognition for simply for their unique approach.
By Joshua Kloke
Photos by Joshua Kloke and Jessica Hammond