The outdoors, live music and friend trips are three of my favourite things and this past weekend brought them together in the best way possible. I’m talking MUSIC FESTIVAL.
Gentlemen of the Road is a traveling festival organized by the Mumford guys that brings together a bunch of dudes (really guys?) to play music in remote places around the world. They call them “Stopovers”. In Canada, that place was Simcoe, a tiny town in Norfolk County that saw over 40k people descend on it in a two-day period.
The show was put off on the town’s fairground – a huge space boasting a giant grandstand and enough room for 50,000 people. The space was utilized really well and not once did I have to wait longer than 5 minutes to get a beer. It was much harder to get food and getting close to the two huge merch tables was just impossible. I’ve never seen such a consistently large amount of people vying to buy festival souvenirs. Weird.
Highlights from the weekend included an uplifting singalong to Dan Magnan’s “Robots”, a surprisingly awesome set by Phosphorescent, a weird high-to-low energy offering from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros that was still incredible even if a little off, Hey Rosetta! being the best, as always and stomping on ground recently covered in coloured powder to Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show. I got a little cranky when the bands came together at the end of the night to sing The Weight. They totally butchered it, or maybe it was just poor audio? All I know is, don’t mess with The Band, anyone.
We didn’t have camping so the nicest lady let us sleep on her side lawn…directly across from the venue’s main gates. Being able to go back to my tent for a beer, a change of clothes, some sunscreen – whatever- and getting back to my friends within minutes was beyond ideal.
During the day, we opted out of the town festival to hit the beach at Port Dover (mainly because we didn’t have access to showers where we were camping), and because we never camped on a site, we didn’t have the campfire experience BUT it was still perfect. We hung with the locals in the neighborhood and on Friday night, I got to spend over an hour having an impromptu singalong with a group of people who congregated around one of the many public pianos festival organizers had put in the streets.
Because the whole point is, Music.
Thanks, Simcoe. You’re a swell town for putting up with us.