This year marks Hillside thirtieth year running and while people have grown up it seems very little has changed. Hillside is a unique festival for its relaxed atmosphere, supreme environmentalism, and sincerity. Perhaps Hillside is the anti-festival – leaving the beer pong playing, native headdress wearing Coachella-goers at home.
I spent two years of my life living in Guelph in recent times. The city is small (just over 100,000) and a good chunk of the fluctuating population is due to the University of Guelph. The city is sweet, with many local businesses, making it hard for you to walk down the street and not know someone. I left Guelph because I was bored, knowing everyone in your periphery is fun for a bit, but grows a bit tiresome after a bit.
My Hillside jaunt was for the latter half of the Saturday, the second day of the festival. We arrived around 5:00pm missing Bry Webb’s set just an hour before our arrival. We managed to catch bits of Drake guitarist Adrian X, Danny Michel, and Spirit Family Reunion. This year oddly enough wasn’t about music, but much rather the people that I was with. In my three years of attending Hillside, I always took advantage of the yellow school bus service they offer to the festival from the downtown core or drove in, never camped. It seems that part of while people love to attend and volunteer with Hillside is the overnight scene. Volunteers congregate in what they refer to as Volly Village, conveniently located just five minutes from the festival grounds.
Here’s a sweet small tour of the Royal City courtesy of Guelph’s hometown heartthrob and Constatines frontman, Bry Webb: