They had corn. Toronto Urban Roots Festival.

Twin Forks Photography: Kyle MacK
Twin Forks
Photography: Kyle MacK

TURF. Toronto Urban Roots Festival. I have spent the last two days at such an amazing festival surrounded by brilliant artists. This weekend I stepped away from my Netflix and took Radiant Wording to Fort York Historic Commons for the festival. I was lucky enough to be given media accreditation for Radiant Wording, and a three day festival pass. This means that I was given the opportunity to view the concert from a VIP area as well as be front row for photography at each show. Standing in the media pit looking up at such amazing performers was truly an eye opening experience, for I do not know if it was the free alcohol or the great music, but I definitely had the time of my life.

With Nat accompanying me as my photographer, we arrived at the event bright and early on Friday July 4th. With our media passes in hand, we began to scope out the event and met a few of the publicists for TURF. After a few conversations, we noticed a gated and guarded area where personelle had been walking through. With Nat and I both feeling particularly ballsy, we walked right into the back area. This is when Nat and I noticed that we were no longer in Kansas (bad joke), for we were in the backstage artist and festival personnel lounge. Looking around at the gated area surround by the trailers of some of our favourite bands, Nat and I timidly walked up towards the bar. Being our first backstage opportunity, we did not realize that free drinks were a part of the deal. Let me repeat for emphasis: We were being given drinks at this event FOR FREE. What is free anymore in this world? NOTHING! How in the world could there be this supply of wine and beer for our taking? This is where I would have started a happy dance singing about how life is good.

July Talk Leah Fay Photography: Natalie Panacci
July Talk
Leah Fay
Photography: Natalie Panacci

With alcohol coursing through my veins, and the sweet melancholic fiddle of Andrew bird playing through the loud speakers, I felt fully relaxed and at ease. Nat and I moved directly to the front to watch the Born Ruffians perform at the west stage. If you have not yet heard of the group, I must provide you with a warning that after listening to their album, you will be addicted. After their show, Nat and I were seated in the artists area having a smoke when the musical god this is Luke Lalonde walks by us. At this point we were technically breathing in the same oxygen/carcinogens. It was magical. With Nat being a die hard fan, she took the opportunity and went up to congratulate them on such a fantastic show. Lucky for Nat, after this interaction they began recognizing her throughout the day and took the time to wave or say hi. She was dying inside.

The festival itself was a gorgeous venue! With an utter lack of flower crowns, the vibe was pretty chilled. With amazing dining options and cute little booths, the event was very welcoming. The one booth in which Nat and I fully take advantage of was the corn booth. For only three dollars you could have a corn cob dipped in butter. mhmm mamma like.

What I was most excited for was the third day of the festival. This day featured two of my favourite artists: The Twin Forks, and The Paper Kites. During The Twin Forks set, I made sure to arrive bright and early to get all the way to the front. As media you are usually supposed to be pretty reserved…I feel as if I broke that rule seeing how I was obnoxiously singing their lyrics while snapping photos. The Twin Forks are a Tennessee formed band that is positively fantastic. I had the pleasure of hearing them last year at Edge Fest, where I have been a fan ever since.

Seeing as their set was over, I figured that the Twin Forks would be in the back. Seeing them sitting down having a conversation, I began to fangirl hard core. Being the last day of TURF, I felt fully compelled to go over and talk to them…and that is exactly what I did. Nat and I walked over and I immediately complimented their set. My heart was pounding. I was an arms distance away from my favourite band, and I was tasked with attempting to look somewhat cool. I could not get over how undeniably friendly they were! I think the great thing about meeting your favourite artists is how you are able to see just how real and cool they really are.

I think the best day of TURF for me would really be the last day. With Hollerado, July Talk, The Paper Kites, Neutral Milk Hotel, and The Twin Forks, the night was honestly perfect.

Lucius Photography: Natalie Panacci
Photography: Natalie Panacci

The funny thing about the whole event is how on the last day Nat and I realized that we were technically not allowed to be entering the backstage area, thereby meaning we were unlawfully receiving free drinks and apples… oops? I think one thing that you all can learn from this experience is that if you are friendly and confident, you can technically enter almost anywhere.

Once realizing that we were technically not allowed to be in there, we obviously abused our privilege of free alcohol. I am honestly not surprised if we were known as the festival alcoholics. You know it gets bad when I begin to bust out my Zoey Deschanel impression.

Apart from the free alchy and food, I met some amazing people. I met my favourite band, and even had a fantastic conversation with the lead singer of July Talk. Leah Fay was one of the nicest people that I was given the pleasure of meeting. Not only was she incredibly well travelled, but she was the type of person that you could have an amazing intellectual conversation for hours with, and it will feel as if only minutes had gone by.

The weekend was truly marvellous and magical and I am privileged to have been given the opportunity to cover such an amazing event for my blog. Make sure to check out all the artists I have spoken of throughout this post, trust me, they are really good.

Twin Forks Photography: Kyle MacK
Twin Forks
Photography: Kyle MacK
Twin Forks Photography: Kyle MacK
Twin Forks
Photography: Kyle MacK
Born Ruffians. Luke Lalonde. Photography: Natalie Panacci
Born Ruffians.
Luke Lalonde.
Photography: Natalie Panacci
Andrew Byrd Photography: Natalie Panacci
Andrew Byrd
Photography: Natalie Panacci

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