This is a great weekend to be a music lover in Toronto – we have not one, but two awesome festivals to look forward to! Here’s my preview to help you make the most of it.
The Bloor Ossington Folk Festival is probably the more low key of the two events, but it has such a great community vibe to it. Last year, my highlight was sitting in the beer tent at Christie Pitts listening to rockabilly legend Ronnie Hayward and his trio (pictured above) in between main stage sets. Now in its fourth year, the festival runs Friday through Sunday and with Dave Bidini as Master of Ceremonies, I’m sure we are in for an interesting weekend! Friday night you can hop between Studio 835, Bassline and Saving Gigi to hear free music all night long. Saturday and Sunday, you can park yourself at Christie Pitts any time after 1:45pm to hear a good mix of bands. Brendan Canning will no doubt be the highlight of Saturday night and should have the whole park dancing. Sunday night you can mellow out with Canada’s indie sweetheart Julie Doiron.
So the only legitimate reason to miss Brendan Canning on Saturday night is if you are heading to the Junction Music Festival instead. This one day community fest, centred around Keele & Dundas, stretches over 30 venues and features a wide range of music and events starting at noon. To get your synth-electro fix, try Kashka (7:30PM Mavety St Stage) and Ark Analog (better known as Maylee Todd and Dan Werb, 8:30PM Pacific Stage). For more classic sounds, if you park yourself at the Main Stage from 7:00PM onwards you will get three great bands in Teenage Kicks, The Beauties and The Sadies. Last year’s headliner Cuff the Duke (pictured above) was definitely my highlight (plus the beer tent can be found conveniently next t0 the main stage…though I don’t just hang out in beer tents I swear!).
So how is one to pick with all these great music choices? My strategy is Bloor/Ossington Friday/Sunday and Junction Saturday, but any way you slice it, we are in for a great weekend of free music!