Volume 93, Issue 4

Wednesday, May 28, 1999


And let the festivals begin...

Larger venues shouldn't shade smaller summer concerts

Is that nostalgia or is it musical leftovers I smell?

Front Line comes into its own

Comedians pen self-help book, without the help

Top Dogg without a bone

And let the festivals begin...

Gazette File Photo

By Mark Pytlik

Gazette Staff

The coming warm weather means the advent of another seasonal ritual – the big summer concert. Not all shows have been announced, but from the preliminary line-up this upcoming roster of summer gigs looks to have something for all musical tastes.

The most popular type of summer show is the festival and this year's lineup of multi-act events promises the usual big names. The largest of these festivals is Edgefest, at Barrie's Molson Park July 1 and 2. The lineup includes Hole, Moist, Big Wreck, Silverchair and ex-I Mother Earth front man Edwin.

Charlotte Thompson, alternative media and artist relations co-ordinator at EMI Music Canada, says they are very excited about Moist being the Canadian headline for Edgefest, especially in light of the band's upcoming third release entitled Mercedes Five and Dime.

Those looking for something more subdued might find it in the Stardust Picnic, making its first appearance on the festival circuit this summer. Emmanuel Patterson, special projects head for Universal Concerts, bills the Stardust Picnic tour as everything Edgefest is not – an alternative to big stages and loud guitars. According to Patterson, the folk-tinged tour is being conducted with a grassroots, lo-fi approach and will feature smaller stages at sites oriented for a family atmosphere. Stardust Picnic stops in at Toronto's Fort York on July 10 and 11 and features Canadian favourites Blue Rodeo and Great Big Sea.

It has only taken a couple of years for Lilith Fair to become a summer staple. Boasting a lineup that includes the Indigo Girls, Dixie Chicks and perennial headliner Sarah McLachlan, Lilith Fair rolls into Toronto's Molson Amphitheatre on August 21 and 22. "The beauty of this show is that you never know who is going to come on," Thompson says. "Lots of the artists sing together, so all of a sudden Sarah McLachlan will just walk on in the middle of someone else's set. It's incredible." This year's Lilith promises to be extra special, since it may be the last one. "It is the last one for now. You can't say forever – it is such a good thing we hope it comes back, who knows. But for now Sarah says she is going to take a year off from it," Smith adds.

One last notable event on the festival circuit is the Vans Warped Tour, aiming to fill the void left by the absence of Lollapalooza. The Warped tour's unique amalgamation of bands should appeal to a wide audience and according to Patterson, provide a distinctly different festival atmosphere. "It's a lifestyle festival which is loosely based around extreme sports," he says. "There'll be a sports-based vibe that'll incorporate both a punk rock and urban appeal." This rapidly growing event, at The Docks in Toronto on July 24, features punk favourites Blink 182 and Pennywise as well as hip-hop legends Cypress Hill and Ice T. The presence of additional attractions such as skateboarding demonstrations and art shows could help cement the Warped Tour as one of the most diverse music festivals in North America today.

Of course, this summer's shows are not limited to festivals. Some of the season's biggest draws will be from a handful of hefty double bills, all rounding out the summer at the Molson Amphitheatre. The largest of these pairings is critical darling Tori Amos and mega-seller Alanis Morissette, tentatively scheduled for Sept. 7. If you missed Irish popsters The Cranberries' Toronto stint earlier this month, you can catch them August 27 with rockers Collective Soul. Lastly, in a double bill slated for August 24, American legends R.E.M. team up with the criminally obscure Wilco for a perfect evening of pop.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999