Hillside 28: A weekend full of good people and great music

Sunday, July 24, 2011

  • The 28th Hillside Festival was held at Guelph Conservation Lake area on July 22-24

    The 28th Hillside Festival was held at Guelph Conservation Lake area on July 22-24

  • Doug Paisley draws a crowd and a couple dancers too!

    Doug Paisley draws a crowd and a couple dancers too!

  • Amanada Walther of Dala performs on Saturday at Hillside

    Amanada Walther of Dala performs on Saturday at Hillside

  • The audience at Main Stage enjoying the show

    The audience at Main Stage enjoying the show

Written by Stephanie Rennie

A trail of tie-dyed flags led the way to the glistening water. Sweet sounds of folk music swept over the trees, greeting folks wandering their way down Anticipation Alley. The Twenty Eighth Hillside Festival was well under way as the Guelph community and neighbours gathered for a fantastic weekend.

School buses full of eager people swarmed through the gates to take part in Guelph’s famous annual festival.

The sun burned bright over the main stage that overlooked crowds of happy people lounging on blankets, enjoying the calming music.

As the stars peeked through the sky on Friday evening, Lights and Chali 2Na took the stage.

The heat was as high as the anticipation amongst the crowd when the talents of Dala, Doug Paisley, Mother Mother, and Hannah Georgas won over the crowds with their music and enthusiasm alike on Saturday.

The two vivacious and fascinating womyn of Dala filled their hour of spotlight with soothing folk music and comedic stories.

Kaha:wi Dance Theatre closely interacted with the audience as they demonstrated their graceful and powerful dances on the grassy area in front of the main stage.

The Sun Stage, Island Stage and Lake Stage all gave shelter to performances by The Sheepdogs, Memphis, Kim Churchill and many more.

Away from the chaotic stages, crowds of people gathered around the lake for a refreshing, yet surprisingly warm dip in the water filled with brightly coloured fish ornaments. The lake provided a wonderful escape from the heat and commotion of the festival, yet also a meeting ground for old and new friends.

Guelph Lake Conservation area was flooded with white tents that provided shade and comfort for many fascinating events.

Twelve workshop areas were running through Saturday and Sunday of the festival. Workshops fell under several different areas including areas for children, an Aboriginal Circle, information on the body and mind, the environment and many other informative programs.

Though the heat was well into the thirties, karate, yoga, and pilates workshops commenced with active participants.

Delicious food was available as many vendors set up shop despite the heat.

The festival made impressive efforts to be environmentally conscious with several stations set up providing recycling and composting outlets for people to utilize. Plastic forks and throw away plates were nowhere to be seen or thrown out at this green festival.

 All food was served on reusable dishes and cutlery to completely minimize the garbage created by the crowd. Beer and wine was served in reusable mugs purchased at the festival and free water filled reusable containers to hydrate the thirsty masses.

Other green initiatives included committed volunteers roaming through the festival’s enormous audience spraying water amongst the sweaty and exhausted folks.

One vital and unique aspect of Hillside Festival is that it relies on energetic and dedicated volunteers. The heart and soul of this three day event is dependent on volunteers of all ages that commit days to ensuring everyone else enjoys their weekend in Guelph.

Volunteers are relied on for checking performers and media into the festival, assisting in transportation to the festival grounds, serving food and washing dishes. Though their workload is vast, especially with the obstacles created by the insanely hot weather, each volunteer diligently did their part to allow this enormous event to succeed. A very special thank you is an absolute understatement to the gratitude deserved by those volunteering their time at Hillside.

Though the three days quickly come and go, the weekend was blissful as it provided a retreat from the busy paced city. Much solitude and peacefulness fills the festival area as everyone equally enjoys good food, cold drinks, fantastic music, and great company.




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