Harvest Festival Aldida Organic Farm, Bond Head ON — September 21 and 22, 2002

The feeling of dancing in a brand new environment — on the top level of a hay-filled barn — took me back to my ravin' days of yore. Lately, the party scene in Toronto has felt drained of excitement, the tobacco-sponsored club scene offers beats without heart and the "rave" scene is effectively finished. But it's starting to look like this isn't such a bad thing. The jock-stripper contingent, as well as the cracked-out candy kids, have yet to discover the community-oriented, non-profit parties that are slowly re-emerging as a viable alternative. Operating as a compact version of the ever-enjoyable Om summer solstice festival — smaller in size, duration and population and much closer to Toronto itself — the fourth annual Harvest used the fall equinox as its excuse to party. With a purpose-built, mattress-filled Pyramid pumping hip-hop and down-tempo, a tractor shed spinning dark fluoro-lit psy-trance, and techno/house in the barn (eerily lit from outside by bright lights shining through the slats), there was enough variety to keep everyone moving. But there was more: a "kind kitchen" offering free food, a reflexologist giving free foot rubs, a massive bonfire surrounded by fire-dancers and, best of all, a giant cornfield just right for exploring in the bright full moon light. The local DJs — Adam Marshall, Black Light Activists, the Dukes, Legion of Green Men's Lex and a dynamite sunrise set from Rollin' Cash — kept the vibe going deep into the morning.