As I sit and reflect over this summers season of festivals, one in particular stands out. WayHome Music & Arts which took place in Oro-Medonte, a township located just an hour from Toronto. WAYHOME was organized by produced by both Republic Live and AC Entertainment, you may have heard of them as they’re responsible, respectively for two of North America’s favourite music festivals, Boot’s & Hearts and Bonnaroo.
WAYHOME ran from July 22nd to the 24th, 2015, had over 35000 in attendance and was the grand stage for multiple classic, new and up and coming artists. The 2015 headliners over the weekend were Neil Young + the Promise of the Real, Kendrick Lamar and Sam Smith, but we sure hope that you had a chance to experience The Beaches, July Talk, Hozier, Modest Mouse, Brandon Flowers, Odesza, Future Islands, Cold War Kids, G- Eazy, Thousand Foot Krutch (the Surprise Guest!), Alvvays, The Ascot Royals, Bear Mountain, For Esme, Dear Rouge, & so many more. Each of which were able to make their own tapered impression on the event, creating an environment unparalleled to other festivals alike. WayHome was different. Not different in the obvious fact there was music and a litter of humans. The event was different in a sense that the entire atmosphere of the venue felt like one big community.
So how do you festival with 35000 of your new closest friends?? Wayhome was on pointe, from the crews a systematic grouping of people, intentionally united to the general togetherness of Collective Effervescence. The entire festival was entrusted to the idea of ‘US’ inclusive and thoughtful, we did this – together.
To elaborate, there was more integration between the campgrounds, stages and the array of vendors making the entire event more accessible, you could easy run from G-Easy, to Brandon Flowers, back to Hozier. There was a good flow to the in and out, accentuated by gigantic prayer flags that encompassed the entire festival site lending to this ascetic beauty that really participated in the magic of the mood.
Aside from a functional site (aka clean bathrooms, good water, limited lines for food and beer?) what does make an event such as this so special?
We think – it’s the people or to us, #wayhomies.
The demographic included every genre of person; hippies, modern day aristocrats, festival goers and of course the travellers. Considering the diverse group of ladies and gents that attended, we were all brought together by the sweet sounds of music. Joined by the above named artists – all of the players contributed to this ultimate experience.
Let me express that upon detaching myself from the event on Sunday, there were new groups of artists I appreciate more today, than the familiar groups I knew going into the weekend. Don’t quote me on this, but I believe those words can speak on behalf of many of the ‘WayHomies’.
Despite many of musical and cultural interpretations of the event, the entire venue had carefully placed (what I will call) art monuments, or features that were not only interactive for the attendance – but abstract. In particular, the kaleidoscope patterned red and yellow yurt that was home to a free-for-all piano that the public could use. Imagine that. This yurt was home to many eccentric fans, and unsurprisingly myself. Music could be found in any corner of the grounds. Speaking of which, I spent 30% of my time embedded in the campgrounds with friends and strangers, collectively sharing our stories of who we were, where we come from, and more importantly how we found our WayHome. The conversations were stimulating.
The most memorable part for me in the background of the event was these two fellow artists that strummed their guitars into the late hours of night, while the rest of us sang. These two avid artists that we had met came to the festival together, both of which played guitars and music of varying styles, yet somehow found a way to mesh the two and create art. Did I mention these two didn’t know one another prior to the event?
Energy and devotion like this for the pure passion of music was in the air that weekend – on and off the stage. It’s challenging to encompass every beautiful aspect of this festival. Metaphorically, it felt like each and every individual painted their own unique brushstroke on the rural canvases of the Ontario landscape – creating what will be remembered as a masterpiece.
SAVE THE DATE: Next year’s Festival will be happening July 22,23,24 2016
Submitting to the Sounds of Music | words by Dylan Brooks
Photography by | Deanna Beaudoin