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Tuesday, July 29, 2008 

Sandal tan

So Hillside was fun, probably even more fun than last year as I wasn't working (in either sense of the word - no press pass, no shifts at the store). I didn't see any of the really big acts, but I also didn't want to (the lineup this year was good but full of bands I don't care that much about), and I was at the festival for a good 8-9 hours Saturday and Sunday both, so I don't exactly feel cheated.

It was a good weekend - with a hat and some sunscreen I avoided getting burned, only one mosquito bit me, I had a ton of good food and beer (Stone Hammer Dark, apparently my festival beer of choice), ran into dozens of friends, and caught some really great music. I also had one of those walking-across-the-festival-wait-what's-this? moments that I love, when I happened upon Harry Manx's set. The music was great, and he also had the best between-song banter I saw, very deadpan (at one point, while tuning up a banjo: "If you wonder what I'm doing up here... I'm checking my email."). If I'd had more money, I would have grabbed one of his discs. Also great, in the order that I saw them rather than preference (which would be near impossible): The Monster Show, The Magic, The Burning Hell, Droppin' Science (old buddies of ours from high school performing science raps for the kids), Harri Palm and the Solo Pilots, Thunderheist, Think About Life, Akron/Family (tied with the Magic and maybe Think About Life for set of the weekend, for me), Bell Orchestre, and The Acorn, who provided exactly the kind of set I wanted to see last thing before coming back home: Big, triumphant, and loved.

And I know I've said this before, but it still blows me away that this festival has free unlimited water for everyone, a free shuttle from downtown Guelph, and reusable plates for all the food (even the beer and wine is only served in reusable plastic Hillside cups - they sell them, but you can use ones from past years, as long as you remember to bring them). Ben came for the first time, and although if anything the lineup was even less suited for him than me, I know he had a good time. What a great way to kill a weekend.

No Los Campesinos! this year, then?

Reusable cups and plates - I've heard about that. Some time before that kind of thing's the norm at the likes of Glastonbury here in the UK, unfortunately, I think.

Sadly no - no UK bands at all, I think. It's usually mostly Canadian acts with the odd one (Akron/Family) in from the states, I think LC! happened because of the Arts & Crafts connection.

I have to say, I can definitely see the appeal of the festival. If I were over there, I'd probably try to go as many as you do...

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Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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