The fifth anniversary edition of Toronto's Field Trip fest was held at Fort York over the weekend. Sunny weather on Saturday helped attract a near-capacity crowd to the 10,000 capacity venue, while better than forecast weather for Sunday also ensured a strong turnout for a diverse bill headed by local heroine Feist and Phoenix (promoter Live Nation declined to provide attendance figures).
Fresh off a European tour, Broken Social Scene headlined on Saturday night, with an even-larger complement than usual (well into the double figures), a benefit of playing in your hometown.
Frontman Kevin Drew referenced the group’s Manchester concert in the immediate aftermath of the terror attack there, but was a little less loquacious than is customary. Instead, the collective concentrated on the music, mixing songs from the imminent new album Hugs of Thunder in with a well-curated selection of old favourites. Vocalists Feist, Emily Haines (Metric), and Amy Millan (Stars) added to the signature BSS wall of sound.
BSS was preceded on the mainstage by A Tribe Called Red, whose compelling show drew a highly enthusiastic response. Prior to that came impressive sets from Alaskans Portugal, the Man and East Coast rocker Matt Mays, clearly thrilled to be playing in his new hometown.
Music biz luminaries spied in the comfy VIP area in front of the Garrison Stage included David Marsden, NXNE's Michael Hollett, UTA's Jack Ross, Neville Quinlan of Peermusic, Strombo, Radio Starmaker's Jerry Leibowitz, Louis Thomas of Sonic Records, Andy Kim, and Collective Concerts Jeff Cohen, whose TURF festival has also been staged at Fort York (though reportedly not this summer). Seen observing the event with paternal pride was Universal Music head Jeff Remedios, for he was at the helm of Arts & Crafts when that label, along with Live Nation, created Field Trip in 2013.
The family-friendly vibe of the fest is part of its appeal, along with the carefully crafted lineup, so expect Field Trip to thrive into the future.