Festival Lessons ’13

I just got back from TIFF and realized that since June I’ve attended 9 big festivals.  Fringe Festival, Field Trip Fest, NXNE, JazzFest, Bluesfest, Osheaga, Folk Fest, TIFF < that was my summer in a nutshell!  No wonder I don’t know where it’s gone to!  So now that the air’s getting cooler outdoor festivals are sending us indoors for intimate shows I wanted to share some of what I’ve learned.

TIFF- Swap the wellies for high-heels at TIFF and look like you belong on the red carpet when you grab cocktails after the films so you can casually bump into Taylor Swift and become her new BFF.  Or just brunch at the Drake and watch all the publicists prepare their days.  Arrive to the screenings early.

NXNE- Sleep when you’re dead. Eat well.  Skip the energy drink boosters unless at a sponsored energy-drink event or you will crash and miss the Spice Girl’s Tribute band playing at 3 a.m.  Be prepared to wake up in whatever you went out in at 8 a.m. so girl, you better wear waterproof eyeliner.  The disheveled rock star look becomes more attractive with each sleepless night that makes for perfect hair.

Field Trip- I wish this happened every year.  Arts and Crafts created the most perfect one-day festival filled with the most joyful music fans ever.  Bring Kleenex to wipe tears while watching BSS play Lover’s Spit.  Brush your teeth because infectious smiling like this happens only so often between strangers.

Fringe- Wear whatever you like and speak in whatever language you like, even if it’s a made up one only you understand and you will be embraced by everyone.  Also, wherever there is wine, you will find artists from around the world ready to tell you their life story.

JazzFest- There is no one definition of jazz.  Lawnchair viewers will not move for anyone and David Byrne will seek out cool indie rock shows in your neighbourhood the next day so if a friend tweets he’s at your show, he is!

FolkFest- Dress warmly.  Sweaters and wool blankets are always de rigeur when the leaves change colour.  You can always buy hot tea, but cold beer is best sipped cuddling under blankets.

Osheaga – Oh it’s going to rain.  Rain hard.  Rain briefly.  You’re going to get soaked.  Or you’re going to get sprayed in the face with a jet of water when it gets too hot while watching Stars.  And buy their merch early because it sells out quickly.  And accommodations. Heck, just book everything far in advance as people are coming in from all over for this killer boutique festival.

Bluesfest- If you live in Ottawa, pace yourself.  You will get a Bluesfest hangover once it is over.  You will be confused and wondering what to do when you can’t hear Axle Rose screaming from your front door.  If you do go out dancing/drinking after a day of Bluesfest you’re going to pay for it the next day.

One more word of advice applicable to the above:  eat well and work out to prepare your body for festival season, not to look hot but to be able to survive! So much yoga was done over here and snacks always tucked into festival gear.

We’re gearing up to be involved in the Ottawa International Film Festival October 2-6 as I will be a celeb judge at the Music Video Challenge on October 6 at Mansion at 8 p.m.  RSVP here.

Before the snow hits we’ll be hitting up Pop Montreal next week and Halifax Pop in October!  Say hi to us in person or on Twitter!