It's no surprise that we love music at the Drake Hotel, so of course we check out as many local festivals as possible. This past weekend, we headed to Guelph for Hillside Festival, now in it's 31st year. Here are some of our favourite acts and moments from the weekend.
Catching one of our favourite Dakota Tavern performers, Samantha Martin, was an amazing way to kick off Saturday morning. She performed with Delta Sugar, and the power in that trio of voices is something else. Their rootsy, soulful, rock & roll vibe got the whole Island Stage tent up and moving, no small feat at an early afternoon show, when people are still shaking off their hangovers from the night before (with Tegan & Sara, Hydra and Alvvays - awesome). It's a real shame if you didn't catch them live - luckily for you, some intrepid Hillside goer has already uploaded a video of their performance here.
One of the best parts of Hillside Festival is listening to bands you've never heard of before, and becoming instantly smitten. It happened again this year - one of the best performances we saw was Wild Child. Hailing from Austin, Texas, they're described as an "indie powerhouse" and played a range of instruments during their show. Kelsey Wilson has a gorgeous, entrancing voice - get a taste here and catch them next weekend at Osheaga (if they make it... we heard their van broke down in Guelph. Good luck, guys!).
Later on Saturday night, Young Galaxy hit the Lake Stage and wooed everyone with their 80s-ish electropop. They were charismatic and played a very tight set. No wonder they were short listed for the Polaris Prize last year. They're playing a free show in Toronto on August 22 at Yonge and Dundas Square - don't miss an opportunity to dance outside to them. Hear them here.
The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer were another unknown that we checked out (based on the amount of cheering that came when they were announced to be up next) and loved. The band is two guys playing a lot of instruments at once, and we're always suckers for a good harmonica player. Fun, upbeat and complex. They're heading to play shows across the country next, so if they are hitting your town, make sure you catch them. Video here.
Sadly, the Sunday evening of the festival was cancelled because of severe thunderstorms, so we missed Mounties, Born Ruffians, Kid Koala and Hey Rosetta! But, the spontaneous group sing along of Bohemian Rhapsody in the Island Stage tent almost made up for it. Almost.