Published Sep 23, 2008While the majority of the summer festivals have long passed by this point in the year, the London Ontario Live Arts (LOLA) festival is one growing event that closes the season for music enthusiasts across the province. Positioned within the first month of school in one of the busier university towns in Canada, its musical selection is a diverse blend of artists. LOLA is not limited entirely to music, with visual art instalments across the downtown core throughout the weekend.
The music, despite combining all kinds of the obscurities from across the continent, is nonetheless particularly accessible, which is necessary based on the nature of this event. The stage is positioned in Victoria Park in the centre of downtown London, with both the Friday evening concert and the entire day on Saturday completely free and largely attended by unwitting passer-bys.
After the 11 o'clock curfew, this year's celebration moved to Call the Office for after-parties on both nights. Highlights of this year's LOLA included both nights headliners, respectively Do Make Say Think and Holy Fuck (pictured), who had the entirety of downtown London in the palm of their hands. In particular, Holy Fuck had the audience moving frantically throughout their set, with the media areas at the front of the stage overrun with dancing party people. Other noteworthy acts on Friday included Bocce and the Drift, whose contrasting sets fit perfectly alongside one another preceding the headlining set.
Saturdays line-up didn't miss a beat with Toronto's Feuermusik, who performed with an increased cast, resulting in a dynamic and ethereal performance, as well as Sandro Perri and Hylozoists, whose sets both captivated the entirety of Victoria Park. Friday's after-party with Woodhands and We Are Wolves was nothing but a frenzied, sweaty rave straight from the get-go.
The main stage was lit by a beautiful backdrop instalment by local artist Taylor McKimens, and projections by Michael Chapin. Despite a questionable MC who eagerly demanded that the crowd chant "encore for both night's headliners, the evening's performances went off flawlessly.
In its third year, LOLA is already a solid realization of the best independent music and art from southern Ontario as well as the rest of North America. Being completely open to the public is a necessity and with increased funding and development initiatives that will come with the festival's growth over the coming years, LOLA has the potential to be an enormous attraction in just about no time.