In what is quietly becoming an institution, the Field Trip music festival returned to Toronto’s Fort York. With the two stages brimming with talent on both days this underdog of summer festivals will not remain such for long.
I arrived on Sunday afternoon to the sounds of Father John Christie, which I had mistaken for an acoustic act. The first thing that struck me about the festival is that there were children present and that many people had beer. Field Trip is a family-friendly event and as Fort York functions as a private venue, you can take your beer wherever you wish. The two seemingly opposite policies counterbalance each other, as it is clearly not a festival aimed at children and I never saw anyone too drunk. This is certainly the first time that I have experienced the latter but the result is that this is the most relaxed festival atmosphere I have ever encountered. Those who went on Saturday, enjoyed the soulful sounds of The Arkells, Alabama Shakes and many more.
Such a relaxing atmosphere lends itself to an eclectic set of music. Father John Christie, the majority of which I missed, proved to be a quick reminder that this was not a quiet acoustic festival, despite being within earshot of several condos. The next act I saw was Dan Mangan + Blacksmith. Even with several technical issues their mix of acoustic guitar and feedback-drenched electric instruments reminded me why I love live music. Following them was Marina and The Diamonds. I quickly guessed what kind of act they were when the audience was taken over by thirteen-year-old girls. While radio-friendly pop songs aren’t my favourite, there is no denying the vocal talent and catchy hooks. After they finished, I hurried to the other stage to catch Rhye, whose jazz-soaked rhythmic set changed the field in which it was played into a coffee house, the roof of which was then promptly blown off. The headliner on Sunday night was My Morning Jacket who looked to have a powerful set lined up but unfortunately I was chased from the field by rain
The festival also hosted a small armada of Toronto’s finest food trucks. I opted for The Flying Chestnut Kitchen’s Indian chili, served on bread and garnished with cheese, peppers and flower petals. That, combined with a Somersby pear cider alone made for a very, very good day. My only complaint would be that everything—except for the free water refills if you brought your own water bottle—was ten dollars.
This is a festival for a more mature crowd, a crowd not on molly and ready to only have a few beers. This is a festival for those who love music and a relaxed atmosphere, amazing food and who don’t mind mix of children, young parents, and loud music. I can tell you that I am already anxiously looking forward to next year’s Field Trip.