Run to the Hillside
"Green" is the keyword of the zeitgeist right now, but the glut of power-guzzling mega-stage set-ups and trampled plastic beer cups synonymous with summer festival season make it nearly impossible to uphold your eco-friendly principles while indulging your supersized show lust.
Unless, of course, you hightail it to Guelph Lake Island for the annual Hillside Festival , where the tireless organizers spend just as much time figuring out how to minimize the negative environmental impact of their giant culture extravaganza as they do booking a stellar (and extremely diverse) lineup. We're talking about a three-night fest that features a stage charged by a living roof, volunteer cleanup stations, reusable plates and cups, and tons of activist workshops and info.
Oh yeah, and the music's great. This year's Hillside includes country-rock legend Alejandro Escovedo , boffo Bamako guitar ace Vieux Farka Touré (Ali's son), Metric siren Emily Haines doing her solo Soft Skeleton thing, Montreal pop romantics the Dears and way more. Don't miss it. July 27 to 29. $40-$95. www.hillside.on.ca.
Why listen to amped-up punk in your parents' basement when you can escape to the bucolic wilds of Barrie and go apeshit in a sea of other aggro adolescents who might just become your new best Facebook friends? This year's Warped celebration of everything loud and extreme hits Park Place (formerly Molson Park) August 11, bringing a raucous caravan of heavy hitters like Bad Religion , A Static Lullaby , at least four different bands with allusions to death in their names and more, including k-os . Raaaargh! Park Place, Barrie. $40.50. www.warpedtour.com.
Yeah, yeah, yeah - we know, you're so over bands that add a lupine reference to their name in hopes of jumping on some hipster bandwagon. But set your wolfism aside, at least between August 10 and 11, cuz Kingston's Wolfe Island Music Fest is the perfect combo of road trip, camping excursion and music lover's wet dream. Geared to fans of twang (superlative alt-country queen Jenny Whiteley kicks off the fest with her Hootenanny tour), unconventional folk (hometown girl Sarah Harmer does Kingston proud) and indie rock ( Chad Vangaalen and Apostle of Hustle provide delicate arty weirdness), the two-day fest is a mere 20 minutes from downtown Kingston by ferry and costs less than a night of drinking beer in the park. $15-$25. www.wolfeislandmusicfest.com.
While it's easy to write off most cottage-country music events as the exclusive domain of patchouli-drenched folkies or creaky dinosaur rockers riding the casino circuit, Electric Eclectic , which bills itself as a collection of "modern music and irritainment" is definitely not your parents' (or grandparents') festival. Unless, of course, your dad is, like, John Zorn. Envelope-pushing acts like Toronto deconstructed noise crusaders Gastric Female Reflex and the iconic Nihilist Spasm Band take over the Funny Farm near Meaford for a decidedly unconventional three-day throwdown. August 3 to 5. $10-$60. www.electric-eclectics.com.