This past weekend I attended the 4th annual Toronto Urban Roots Festival at Fort York, and overall, I thought it was a great festival! This is a festival that has something for everyone. The venue was great, with plenty of space for the four stages and all the fans, although I find this venue to be a bit out of the way. There were plenty of food trucks, with endless options including poutine, beaver tails, burgers and more. My personal favourite was the Food Dudes food truck. Their mac & cheese balls are a must for me at every festival. There was even a wine tasting truck (which may or may not have been the very first thing I did at the festival…). There were also free water stations, which was very convenient.
There was a good mix of different bands, appealing to both young and old. There was also a good mix of genres, mostly country and rock, and there was even a stage that was solely designated for Canadian acts, which I thought was a nice touch. We need to support our fellow Canadians more!
The first band I saw on Friday were The Dropkick Murphys. I’m not a huge fan of them (I only knew a couple of their songs), but wow, did they put on a show! Everyone in the audience was rocking out and enjoying themselves. Next, I saw James Bay, who was flawless. Even though many of his songs are very slow, he still managed to put on an entertaining show and make it more upbeat. I loved every minute of it.
Saturday was pouring rain, so I ended up going to the festival later on. Right when I got there I caught the end of The Sheepdogs, and it made me wish I persevered through the rain to catch their whole set, because I loved the small bit that I saw. As soon as they finished their set, the rain stopped, and they even joked that their music stopped the rain. After The Sheepdogs performed, I headed over to the stage where The Barenaked Ladies were playing. They were my favourite performance put of the entire festival. They cracked jokes throughout their entire set, and they were so funny. And their performance quality was great too. They had such great energy that I didn’t want their set to end. Next, I watched Ween. They played for 2 hours long, which I personally thought was too long, but I guess I’m biased because I’m not a huge Ween fan. They sounded great, but I found myself getting bored after a while. Although, there were many die-hard Ween fans in the crowd and they seemed to be enjoying themselves throughout the whole two hours.
I started the third and final day of TURF with some Jimmy Eat World. Overall, I thought they were good. They started off playing songs off their new album. They played their older stuff near the end of their set, and that was when the crowd really went crazy. Especially when they played ‘The Middle’. Death Cab for Cutie closed the festival. I haven’t listened to this band in a while, but their set was so good that it made me want to start listening to them again. They were a great way to end off this festival.
Overall, TURF 2016 was a spectacular festival. The vibes were good, the food was good, and there was such a diverse amount of talent. What more could you ask for in a festival?