Upcoming: Dog Day Afternoon at Fort York, July 15
Ah, summertime. The livin' is easy. All you really wanna do is loll in the smog-hazed sun, swill organic brew and listen to great tunes. Along with Hillside and Olympic Island's indiestravaganza comes a new competitor for your concert buck -- this year's inaugural Salad Days/Dog Day Afternoon fest, curated by Metric and organized by Ewan Exall and Adam Gill (who named their co-pro after a Minor Threat song -- T.O.'s Salads have no involvement in the fest).
"Adam and I come from the punk rock side of things," explains Exall. "There was stuff I'd notice as a consumer at larger shows that made no sense. Why wasn't there decent food? Why was water $5? We wanted to create something in a festival setting that had the trappings of punk culture."
Exall and Gill corralled Shanghai Cowgirl's Darryl Fine as a caterer, set up a vendor village (Soundscapes is one store shilling merch) and set the thing in the "lush urban oasis" of Historic Fort York .
Turning down sponsorships was also a key -- if tough -- decision.
"If you're grifting a lot of capital to present and run something, and hear, 'I'll give you x dollars if you put my company's name on your festival,' it's hard to say no. But we didn't want Coors Light flags all over the place."
Part of the grassroots spirit of the fest involved having an artist-chosen lineup, similar to the approach behind the Emerge/RMS collabo with Broken Social Scene.
Metric's Emily Haines says the concept came up on the road.
"It's the first time the States has embraced Canadian music. We wanted to reciprocate, keeping in mind that a lot of kids in Canada don't just listen to Canadian music, by bringing bands in who were on the edge of breaking, like Fiery Furnaces , Secret Machines . Of course, Holy Fuck is a local fave."
Holy Fuck's Dependent collective comrades Land of Talk and Wintersleep and Detroit disco-garage crew Electric Six round out the bill. It's all pretty indie-rock-centric, and though Exall claims he'd originally envisioned a three-day fest with a jam band day, an electronica day and a (loosely defined) punk day, the lineup seems kinda curious for a guy most closely associated with hardcore and emo shows in T.O.
"I'm not saying I'm the most punk rock guy ever, cuz I'm not," he laughs. "But for me, I'd argue MSTRKRFT are punk rock. It's a set of ideas and philosophies, not stylistic constraints.
"And with so much oversaturation at the top end of the market, there's pressure on us to provide the best concert experience we can. It's shitty for us as promoters cuz there's more stress, but good for the consumer -- it keeps prices down and keeps us jerks honest."