Published Jun 08, 2014Last year, Toronto's Arts & Crafts hosted a 10-year anniversary bash unlike any of their peers. Whereas similar labels have put on small club shows celebrating their years in the business, Arts & Crafts strode to create something more commodious for the city and its flourishing community. Thus, the first Field Trip was born, a one-day outdoor festival featuring almost everyone on the Arts & Crafts label, including a reunited Broken Social Scene, as well as a plethora of other boutiques and stations highlighting Toronto's best in food, art and culture.
After a very successful first year, Field Trip is now back for a second and has swiftly expanded to a two-day jubilee that is arguably one of the season's best events. As Field Trip's site states, the festival now has their sights "squarely on establishing it as a world-class, two-day boutique music and arts festival situated in the heart of downtown Toronto." In a way, those were some of Arts & Crafts' ambitions from the get-go with its burgeoning music collective 10 years ago.
Day one of Field Trip this year found itself stepping outside of the label's roster, for the most part, to bring in other talents both local and international. While relative A&C newcomers the Darcys and Reuben and the Dark, in addition to BSS bandleader Kevin Drew's new solo work, proved to be strong staples of the day, reminding us of whose metaphorical roof we were under, it was the rest of the lineup that gave the day a refreshing breadth.
Rapper Shad was a much-needed detour from the day's roster heavy on folk and/or rock music, which at times definitely yielded a one-genre sound for the day. The two-time Polaris nominee widened the range at the Fort York stage, fusing his well-regarded conscious rap together with samples from some of today's biggest names in rap, including Drake and Pusha T. Another notable alternative that stood out was A Tribe Called Red, who closed out the same stage with a sweeping and infectious set that mustered much more energy than the evening's headliner Interpol.
This isn't to say Interpol didn't make an impression over on the main stage, concluding the night performing to the most packed crowd of the day (most sets had a more sparse audience, with many wandering around the site and exploring or seemingly unsure of which of the two stages to situation themselves at). Although the band just announced their first album in four years, El Pintor, the New York trio made plenty of time for their hits from their revered albums Turn On The Bright Lights and Antics. But even with a tight performance and their biggest songs in tow, one can't shake the strange fit of Interpol and Field Trip. There's no particular affiliation between the two and the experience somewhat jogged the festival-goers out of the Field Trip macrocosm into what was otherwise just a regular rock show.
Overall, the first day of Field Trip showed promises of expansion into something beyond the celebration of one label, but it is showing signs of growing pains. Day two shows more potential of an affair akin to last year's momentous occasion, with performances from the newly reunited Constantines and Broken Social Scene coming together for a second year in a row, but surely if Field Trip returns for a third year, it will fully transform into a festival force.
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