Tag Archives: festivals

Hillside 1992-2004

My family is gearing up for our first of 3 music festivals this summer.  The Hillside Festival, which takes place at Guelph Lake, was our favourite for many years.  We stopped attending 4 or 5 years ago for a number of reasons, but we’ve decided to give it another shot this year.  I give the festival a lot of credit for helping me discover many of my favourite musical artists.  I also think it helped inspire my love of photography, as many of my favourite photos were taken at the festival.

To celebrate Hillside’s 30th anniversary, I thought I would share some of my photos from the last 20 or so years.

We attended our first Hillside in 1992 (or maybe 1991 – not sure I took any photos the first year).  It was a very different experience than today.  I remember arriving at Guelph Lake on Friday evening and being told to simply drive to the site we wanted and to set up camp.  We ended up on a site very close to the island.  I think we also bought our tickets at the gate.  Today, the weekend passes sell out in minutes (long before the lineup is announced) and the campsites are reserved 6 months in advance.

This photo of Valdy on the main stage, taken with my film camera, is one of my first photos of the festival.  My guess is this was the 9th festival (although it could be 8), which means it was 1992.


The only other film photos worth sharing may be from the same festival, but they may also be from the following year.  Hillside was where I first saw the Rheostatics, a band that I went on to see at least half a dozen more times before they disbanded.  I think these may be from their infamous performance with Jane Sibbery.

Rheostatics - Martin Tielli

Martin Tielli.

Rheostatics - Dave Bidini and Tim Vesley

Dave Bidini and Tim Veseley. Continue reading »

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Sweetwater Jazz

at the Chaise Lounge, last night.  The festival ends today with the final concert at Division Street United Church.


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Good Noise

I am going to finish with the Summerfolk photos, for now,  on a personal highlight of the festival.  Summerfolk has played an interesting part in my photographic career.  Truth be told, I was the Summerfolk photographer once before, when I was on the GBFS board about 15 years ago.  Although I hope no one ever sees those photos – they are likely in the GBFS office somewhere – it was an early opportunity to learn about photography.  I first showed my prints in public at Summerfolk 2008 and again in 2009 when I was chosen as an artisan.  And I had the privilege of documenting this past festival – the 35th Annual. 

But more significantly, Summerfolk exposed me to ideas and people at an important age.  The music of John Gorka – the man in this picture – had a profound impact on me when I first saw him perform close to 20 years ago on the Summerfolk stage.  So profound was this influence that I chose the name of one of his songs  – Good Noise –  as the name for my photography company.  It is also a guiding principle in my life.  This is better explained here.

To thank him for this, I decided to give Mr. Gorka a copy of my first book, Two Roads.  I wanted him to know the positive impact his words had on my life and to see what I am trying to do in my photography.  The book further explains why Good Noise is so important to me.  So on the Sunday of Summerfolk, while Mr. Gorka was leaving a fantastic workshop at the Gazebo stage, I approached him and told him all of this.  At least I hope it sounded something like this – I was very nervous.  I shook his hand and thanked him and he seemed genuinely appreciative as he put the book in his bag. 

Thank you Summerfolk for the opportunity to make some more good noise.

"Tell me the truth what are you living for?  Tell me why, why are you near?   ’Cause if you cannot make yourself a good noise, tell me what you’re doing here." – John Gorka


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Gazebo Stage

Okay, second last Summerfolk photo.  I promise.  I have one more I want to post and a story that goes along with it and then I will go back to my archive.  But it will have to wait until tomorrow as my mind is not ready right now.

"To bring order into this jangled sphere man must find its centre." – Marshall McLuhan


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Delhi 2 Dublin

I think it is safe to say that this band from Vancouver was the surprise hit of the festival.  They rocked the bar tent Saturday night and then managed to get most of the crowd at the main stage on to their feet for a few minutes – which rarely happens.  I was trying to capture their energy in this photo.

"The grass is always greener, but you still have to cut it" – Hawsley Workman


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