I have to applaud Field Trip for roping in such diverse a prolific acts, beyond the National. Charles Bradley, Robyn, Holy Fuck, Of Montreal, July Talk, Basia Bulat and DIIV were some big names played the festival.
It’s often forgotten that Field Trip was dreamed up by Arts & Crafts founder Jeffrey Remedios. With different branding and an expansion of artists, it’s a far cry from the annual Toronto Island party the A&C family used to put on. This year there were fewer acts from the Toronto label with a wide breadth of music genres.
As the luckiest girl in the world, I can say that on multiple occasions I have seen the National twice in two days. The band has taken a bit of hiatus from playing gigs to pursue other projects, LNZNDRF, EL VY and this five-disc Grateful Dead cover set titled the Day of the Dead. Busy bands get no rest. In their brief festival slot, the National played no Grateful Dead songs in this set. They announced that two of their three horn players came from playing Primavera with Beirut to Toronto just one day later.
I arrived early on Sunday to catch hometown heartthrob Jason Collett. Arriving a few songs into his set, I heard him say his name to the crowd. I quickly checked the time to make sure Collett’s set wasn’t through. I was relieved to see he was just fifteen minutes in, however Collett stopped playing. I wandered over to get a $10 beer from Batch (Creemore’s craft beer mask) and paid for it. As the bartender pulled the plastic cup out, I stopped her before she pulled my beer. Over the speakers, a festival coordinator announced that the festival was on hold and everyone was urged to leave the premises. Minutes later there was a torrential downpour that left me hiding underneath the Cycle Toronto tent with many other stranded cyclists waiting for the rain to pass. I was skeptical of the efficiency and safety of a bike valet service, but found myself amazed by the efficient service and friendliness the Cycle Toronto volunteers.
The festival resumed at 5:00pm, which gave me enough time to dry off and consume a few normal-priced beers outside of the festival grounds. I arrived in time to see soul star Charles Bradley’s set, which was packed solid with energy and good vibes. Many of the acts scheduled for the early afternoon were by-passed due to the weather.
The evening brought two solid sets with conflicting times – Robyn and Plants and Animals. On two completely different ends of the musical spectrum, the two acts drew good-size crowds crowds. I spent the majority of my time watching the Montreal rockers, Plants and Animals. The last time I saw them play, they were a three-piece ensemble pushing the perfect album Park Avenue and much to my surprise they added two more members. The band look genuinely keen to be there and they had a very tight sound. I later stumbled on over to Robyn to a club-like vibe, I was anticipating a different sound knowing that she was re-visioning some of her older tunes. Robyn is an active performer and gives great energy on stage, I found myself a bit tired of her set after a song or two.
This year’s Field Trip featured endless activities for young children and a number of activities to remind adults what it’s like to be a kid. The weather’s bad behaviour led fewer activity offerings on the second day. The show also suffered lost time slots for early acts and a fragmented presentation.