experienced by Jack Derricourt
There’s been a lot of chatter about how many music festivals have settled in around Toronto recently. Things are beginning to feel peak glow stick, with all the different destinations for summer music fixes sitting pretty throughout the summer months among the many lakes of southern Ontario. The children return, flecked with mud and stale tequila, inciting hopes of the one true festival.
Nope, no clue on that one.
But the second year of Camp Wavelength is pure joy. I got a chance to check it out last year, and the dozy tunes and plentiful Steamwhistle beer were just as intoxicating this year, if not more so. There were giant puppets brought to the sands and woods of Ward’s, built by the talented Andrew Lamb. In Synch performed their fantastic synchronized swimming in the waters of the beach. Maylee Todd and Benjamin Kamino conducted an orgasmic mushroom slow dance session — you really had to be there.
I was really blown away by the swift, bass-heavy music and moving repetition of LAL. They proclaimed, “At the end of the day, we’re in our forties and we just want to make music.” With such an incredibly young sound, you hope they keep going for another forty. Rosina Kazi spoke with pure enthusiasm, decrying islamophobia and speaking truths that flickered amongst the dancing feet: “I am dreaming of real connections.”
So many bands at Camp Wavelength are a surprise. The curation is a dream come true, and this year was no different. Saturday was definitely heavy o’clock. Odonis Odonis twisted the evening in that direction; though they played towards more Cure and less Metz than I was expecting from their stage aesthetic. They echoed out beautifully industrial island festival sounds. As the night crept in, the synths and wails of “Needs” made everyone come alive.
I think one of the things I appreciated from the many fixtures on offer this year — among the Monarch Tavern’s tasty (and cheap) rib platters, the Sky Vodka photobooth, the Bunz Trading Zone table, and the Toronto Environmental Alliance booth repping hard for all the trees hosting the wonderful festivities — was the posi-space. The installation was a helpful bed of sand, on a literal level, but also a wonderful time travelling tool: they provided a collection of pens and cards to send yourself a note, to be dispensed by the Posi Vibez collective some time in the future. Magical!
Of course, if you want heavy, Cloud Nothings will deliver. The four piece, still showing that bands wearing glasses are definitely cool, put the right chords in the right place, with drums heavily pounding away underneath. They played pieces old and new, and taught all onlookers a valuable lesson: metal headbanging and oil lamps do not mix.
There’s a specific kind of sound that I search for, sitting at the end of a festival, watching the dregs of the weekend slither through the grass. Hungover MC’s, injured feet, soulful sounds, and terrible puns hung out while Michelle McAdorey performed. Though her sounds trail all the way back to her work with Trash Vegas, the day’s set mostly stirred with last year’s release “Into Her Future.” The perfect mid-afternoon tunes competed with the wind, devoid of percussion, she pumped out dehydrated psychedelia for the crowd. Michelle also crooned out the first ever Frank O’Hara poem I’ve heard set to music. Very nice.
My weekend came to a close with Bruce Peninsula. The large group blended the most powerful vocal arrangement of the weekend with really lively tunesmithing. I loved their clean cut festival pop tones, and their sundrenched lyrics.
Wavelength throw a good festival. There’s no denying that. I hope they’re intending to pull campers out to Ward’s Island again next year. How else will puppets, oil lamps, and industrial get to stumble through woodland and beach sands for three lustrous days in Toronto?