WTF Wayhome, Ouch Osheaga: Let’s Discuss Cultural Appropriation

I think it’s important for people to check themselves. Is your speech, behaviour, attire, or accessories offensive in some way? If you’re unsure, the answer is probably, Yes.

I was really fortunate this summer and I was able to experience two major music festivals, the Wayhome Music & Arts Festival in Ore Medonte, just outside Barrie, Ontario, and the Osheaga Festival of Music and Art in Montreal, Quebec. Attending these two festivals affirmed my love for my fellow Canadians and the ways in which music can be used as medium to bring people together. I met so many amazing people during my time at these festivals, like-minded individuals from all over Canada (and other parts of the world) who were looking to enjoy their favorite artists and have a good time.

On the other hand, there was one really big issue that I couldn’t get past. Keep in mind, this wasn’t a one time occurrence but several instances in which I was extremely uncomfortable, and unable to understand why those around me didn’t share the same sentiments.

What really irked me throughout the festivals was the abundance of non-POC individuals donning culturally significant items such as bindis, headdresses, cornrows, dreadlocks, dashikis, warpaint, etc. I could go on forever.

WHAT IS CULTURAL APPROPRIATION? 

The definition of cultural appropriation is pretty simple: cultural appropriation is the use of a certain culture by members of another culture wherein the meaning or significance of these cultural ties are lost, misappropriated, and is disrespectful to the culture that it is originally from. Considering this, it’s pretty simple to understand that non-POC individuals, aka white people, are taking advantage of a culture when using it as a part of their costume at a music event.

Cultural appropriation is by no means a new concept, and, this far into the year 2017, I hoped to see changes from past years in which music festivals almost seemed as though they were breeding grounds for white dudes in cornrows and white girls in bindis. It saddens me that this is still a thing.

WHY DOES CULTURAL APPROPRIATION STILL HAVE A PLACE IN OUR FESTIVAL VENUES? 

This question has plagued me for the past few years. How has there been no reform to what people are allowed to wear at these festivals? More over, who perpetuates this trend or gives a “thumbs up” to these perpetrators before heading out the door?

There is a lot to be planned before heading to a festival, and a big part of that preparation is putting together an outfit and making accessory, hair, and makeup choices. Each year, I go through my overflowing closet in hopes of pairing together some makeshift ensemble that is cute and eye-catching and, most important, hasn’t been done before. While it may be hard to find that extra detail that will help make your look standout, I can assure you, it will not be found through the use of someone else’s culture. Do better.

From Alessandra Ambrosio‘s Instagram account. The post reads, “Becoming more inspired for @coachella with this amazing Native American headpiece @jacquieaiche #feathers #festival #coachella #foreveronvacation #inspiration #cocar”
From Kylie Jenner’s Instagram account
From Vanessa Hudgens’s Instagram account. The post reads, “Coachella life. Day 2 =) xx”

Social media often becomes oversaturated with the misuse of culture by the wrong demographic of individuals around festival season, (as seen above) so if the affirmation of a celebrity wearing such items becomes a confirmation for you to do the same if you are a non-POC, that is where we run into some trouble. One may ask, “if I see Kylie Jenner wearing such things, and she looks great, why can’t I?”

There is a long weighted history and discourse behind the argument that I am posing with this article, not all in which I can include. Instead, I am hoping to instead bring light to this topic, in the hopes that it sparks a greater debate between friends.

This is one of the ways that we can make a change.

WHAT DO MUSIC FESTIVALS LIKE WAYHOME AND OSHEAGA HAVE TO SAY ABOUT CULTURAL APPROPRIATION?

I did some research to see what I could dig up about the stance that certain festivals take on the issues I mentioned earlier. There was not a whole lot of information I could find, but, rather, a lot of great articles on the subject. Like I said earlier, I am not the first person to talk about this.

In the case of Wayhome and Osheaga, specifically, here is what I found. After scrolling through an “overview of festival rules” for Wayhome,  the only mention of clothing and/or accessory was through the bullet point stating:

  • No gang clothing and/or gang support shirts.

This bullet point appeared on the list twice. I am unclear as to what this is referring to or in what context Wayhome would qualify a shirt as “gang supporting,” but, nevertheless, I didn’t find another mention of clothing, accessory, or hairstyle. After scrolling further, I did find one more interesting bullet point, under the topic of “additional rules/regs”:

  • No confederate flags.

The fact that this was added to this list sends a red flag to me and really makes me interested in what event must have happened for the organizers to feel they must mention this. In Canada. In 2017. Either I am living in a fantasy world or there are bigger issues about what individuals are bringing to music festivals than I have ever imagined.

Osheaga on the other hand, was a little bit better. In 2015, the festival put a ban on the admittance of:

  • First Nations headdress and other feather headdresses

On their website, they specify that, “The First Nations Headdresses have a spiritual and cultural meaning in the native communities and to respect and honour their people, Osheaga asks fans and artists attending the festivals to not use this symbol as a fashion accessory.” 

This was really important. Osheaga was one of the first major music festivals to take a stand on cultural appropriation and to lend support to the Indigenous community of Canada by creating this rule.

SO… WHAT NOW? 

Here, my friends, we come to our final question: “What exactly can be done?” How would a music festival enforce these rules in practice? The fact is, it is impossible to police. There is no system that will be put in place that will not admit a white person because of a hairstyle or because they chose to wear a bindi.

This brings me full circle back to my frustration, and my understanding that the policing needs to begin within. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article: everyone needs to check themselves, and better yet, check your friends.

There is just no room for excuses. We all play our part, and as tough as a the world is, it’s important that your role in all of this is one that is as unproblematic as possible. There’s too much shit going on.

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A Conversation with San Fermin at Wayhome 2017

There are certain artists that take many years to find a sure footing in the music industry and be recognized for their work. San Fermin is not one of them. A short while after getting out of university, Ellis Ludwig-Leone began composing music for his best friend, Allan. Soon after that, they gained a record deal and began writing for an entire band. Their numbers quickly grew and so did their success.

We sat down with San Fermin’s lead musician, Ellis Ludwig-Leone, who writes and composes all the music the band releases, to discuss their festival experience and San Fermin’s beginnings. 

Kimberley Drapack: How did you meet and form the band?

Ellis Ludwig Leone: Allan, one of our lead singers, and I had been close friends for a long time. We met when we were like 15, and I’d always had bands with him. I went and studied classical music in university and when I graduated I wrote this record for him to sing, and I didn’t really have any plans for it, I just thought it would be fun.

We recorded it and got a record deal and then suddenly, the record label was like, “you gotta go tour.” That changed everything, then we had to get together all the band members. It totally went in a way that I did not expect.

K: Fresh out of school you were ready for the next step, and then it found you. 

ELL: Yeah. I studied classical music and I was thinking about going that way and suddenly, we had this record that was getting attention from people who weren’t classical musicians at all and then I sort of just realized that it was a pop record. That led to touring a lot and, now, here we are.

K: Tell us about your early years. Was it easy to get your off the ground or were there other obstacles you had to overcome?

ELL: The cool thing was that we had a lot of press attention right away, which I am thankful for now because I probably didn’t realize at the time that that was fueling everything and bringing people to the shows.

That said, you can be on lists, but people still need to discover you. You still play these shows where you’re taking eight members of a band — it’s a big band — and you’re taking them to these expensive places, and the logistics are crazy.

So the big challenge for the first couple of years was making it work financially, which is kind of a boring problem, but real. Everyone kind of bought in and devoted their time to it and now we’re at a point where it feels like it’s a real, stable, good thing that everyone loves doing. We’re going on tour for half the year.

K: Touring is always fun?

ELL: Yeah, it’s great and it’s tough. I think a lot of people who don’t tour, when they hear, “oh, you’re going to Toronto this weekend, that’s great, I’d love to go there” but a lot of what we see is hotels and venues. Every now and then you have a day where you can explore a city but there isn’t a lot of downtime and travelling.

There are moments when your body hurts. You’ve gained weight because you’ve eaten like shit, and those are real sacrifices that I think people, when they talk to you, don’t really take seriously, but there are things that are downers. For the most part, I really like it.

K: What was your time like at Yale? Did you feel as though your formal education offered a guideline for your future music career?

ELL: I think so. When I was in school in classes I often felt like a little bit of an outsider. When I started an indie band, I still felt a little bit like an outsider but I think it’s sort of good to always feel outside of the paradigm. Then you are thinking about it, and you’re questioning what’s good, what draws you to it, and what doesn’t. I think that was a pretty big thing for me.

I was just writing music in a way that made sense to me and happened to make sense to other people. It helped me think about how to write for all those instruments.

K: So you write every piece for each section? 

ELL: Right. I write a score.

K: So it’s within your classical training?

ELL: You saw the show, so it’s gone away from that a little bit. Which is what happens when you’re playing festivals or rock. You’re playing these venues that are made for rock bands so you sort to push towards that. I happily did that. But there is still a lot of that classical stuff in there where parts are notated, I think about the arrangements a lot, and I’m very careful with how I divvy up the notes.

K: Was that something you kept in mind when you were writing your newest album?

ELL: The new record was kind of interesting because as I was writing it, I really knew who I was writing it for, because I’ve played a hundred shows with these guys. When I write a sax line, I really tailor it to Stephen, when I write a trumpet line, I tailor it to John. I think that’s led the live show to be more of a coherent, explosive thing.

K: So, it’s come a long way from knowing your bandmates for years now?

ELL: For the first record, I just wrote it. Whoever I could get to play it, it was great, but it was a different relationship.

K: You released your self titled album in September of 2013. Can you explain some of the emotions and backstory behind the records on this album?

ELL: That was a very exciting and weird time. A lot of stuff went really quickly — it went from a sort of bedroom project to where the third of fourth show we ever played was a Tiny Desk concert. The fifth or six show we ever played was Bowery ballroom, and suddenly we were doing this thing.

I didn’t know what keyboard to play, I was still making all these decisions. It was a really intense time because there was all this stuff coming down the pipe that I was figuring out how to respond to as it happened.

“Oh we have to make a music video?” Well, fuck… I don’t know. But that was really exciting and cool. I remember hearing Sonsick, which was our single on that record, on the radio for the first time.

K: What was that feeling like?

ELL: It was crazy! I was just driving with my girlfriend or something, and I thought, “wow… people know this song.”

K: Are there ever times where you felt like there are other songs you would rather play instead?

ELL: Yeah… let’s leave it at that. There’s a few singles that we play because the fans expect them, but we’re kind of over it.

K: Your third album, Belong, released in April of this year and your single was released through TIME magazine. What can this album teach the listener about you, or just in general?

ELL: The thing that I wanted to do with this record is that I wanted to write a record that felt both more accessible to people — just from the type of sounds, there are no interludes, it’s more direct songwriting -—but also make the lyrics more personal. In the past, I’ve hidden behind the lyrics a little bit. I think it was accomplished. I think the songs have a bit more of a glossy sheen to them. If you spend time with it, it’s stuff that comes from deep and somewhat tumultuous place in my life. Pulling off that trick, making something seem sleek but also have depth, is somewhat difficult.

San Fermin

K: Are there certain songs that you listen to in this album or earlier albums that you don’t listen to all the time, but you hear them and it brings you back to a certain moment in your life?

ELL: For earlier albums that definitely happens. There is a song on the first record called Daedalus. I was in Banff while writing it and I was thinking that the record needed a closer, something special. We were writing it and leaving the studio and thinking that I made a really good song there. Then I didn’t play it for years, and we played it the other day for the first time.

K: What is it like making a setlist for a big music festival like Wayhome?

ELL: For a festival like this you have a stripped down set, where I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily all of our best songs but in a way it’s all the songs that work the best in this setting. Some songs I really like that you just can’t play here. You can’t really play the acoustic ballads. You need an audience who is all there for you, but here you have people that are here for you and people who are walking by, and you want to be able to catch them with a festival jam.

K: In making that setlist, are you driving for that?

ELL: You think about that and you think about songs that are immediately graspable and that hit hard, and you think about the image that you want to project at that festival. Are you trying to reach new fans or are you trying to play the funnest, most party song? Or are you trying to curate this sort of thoughtful experience? When you have forty-five minutes on the main stage, you think, let’s hit them with our best. Sometimes it changes. Today I made the call to play Methuselah, which is an acoustic-chiller song from the first record, instead of No Devil, which is a big anthem, just because I wanted to do it.

K: Is that the most fun part of running a band?

ELL: The most fun part is after the shows when you get to meet people who the songs resonate with. It still feels unreal to me. If I haven’t played a show for a couple of weeks, I’ll forget that there are all these people out there who care about what I do and it makes me feel really good when I get to meet them. It hasn’t worn off yet.

K: Have you ever met a fan where you’ve had that genuine experience, where they tell you about a tough time in their life that your music has helped them through?

ELL: Totally. Our fans are really loyal and intense about that. When we go on headline tours, we’ll have a bunch of people in the front of the crowd who know the lyrics to all the songs, and that’s really cool. You’re here for a deeper experience that you had with this stuff.

I feel like I’m someone who has trouble talking to strangers a lot. I have trouble connecting, and to suddenly be like… that you can connect to someone is a special thing.

K: Was there ever any stage fright?

ELL: Weirdly, even though I write all the music, I’m probably not someone who people are watching as much on stage because I’m in front of the keyboard.

There was a little bit of stage fright at the very beginning but after that it was pretty clear that A) nobody was counting on me to do anything too much and B) shows are fun. I have a lot of great musicians with me. Even if I totally stopped playing, we’d still be a great group of people.

K: Is that the best part, being around people you have great relationships with for eight months or so at a time?

ELL: It’s a strange relationship, because in a way, it’s almost like a sibling, but then weirdly, you’ll get home and maybe you won’t see them for a couple of months. You won’t call them or anything, and then you’ll get back together and you’re closer than close, because you’re literally spending all your time together.

K: Do you feel as though your band is tailored to a festival setting, or a sort of more intimate setting?

ELL: That’s changed. At the beginning of the band, I was all about intimate spaces. We then started to have some success at festivals and I thought that was really fun. My ideal shows are at a thousand cap room but they’re all there for you. That’s the best, you get a little bit of the size. I just like playing for a receptive audience. That is what I care about the most.

K: What was it like in the first show you had where you saw an audience member singing back your lyrics?

ELL: It happened pretty early on, but the first time I really remember it was at a Lollapalooza after show in 2014 where I realized that everyone in the crowd was singing along. That was awesome. I remember getting in the van after and saying, “Guys, we’re onto something.”

K: Did this reaffirm that you needed to keep going?

ELL: Yeah. Since it’s become more routine, I take it for granted sometimes. But when we perform Sonsick and everyone sings that one part, the fact that they even took five minutes out of their life to memorize it, is more than I’ve done for them, so it makes me feel special.

K: That must be a great connection you create with people, in that, you may not know them on a personal level, but you do in a way that you didn’t know about.

ELL: They’re at least familiar with some part of me and when I talk to fans, I appreciate that we can start on some common ground.

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A Conversation with SKOTT at Wayhome 2017

I’ve often been asked what my favourite music streaming service is and I’ve never responded with a uniform answer. I’m lucky (or some would say poor) and scam off the benefits of my best friend’s Tidal account. You have the option of logging into one person’s account from a few different cellphones, so she happily has leant me this courtesy for the past year or so. We curate monthly playlists as a team and it’s the perfect balance (Tidal, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry and please don’t change you’re regulations, we are broke 23 year olds).

While at different parties or pres with friends with a dead phone (like it usually does the first half an hour of me getting there), I would often stream off their Apple music accounts. I am often the resident DJ at most outings with friends due to my apparent knowledge of music and my own pretentiousness.

Overall, my favourite music streaming service to find new artists on is Soundcloud. I connect with a lot of my other friends who are also very into music, and combing through their “likes” is one of my favourite pastimes in order to find new tracks I can bump for the remainder of the week. Usually, I ultimately get sick of them from overplaying, but I know I will return to it within a couple of months, eager as ever.

About a year ago, I was combing through Soundcloud and I stumbled upon a new artist under the same label as BANKS who goes by the name SKOTT. She has a very sultry voice, and a very interesting story about growing up in a remote village, raised by fellow musicians. I was intrigued, and after learning that she would be coming to this year’s Wayhome, I had to get to know her.

We had the opportunity to sit down with SKOTT and discuss her touring process and the importance of taking a step away from the light in order to keep creating music.

Kimberley Drapack: This was your first North American show. What was the experience like?

SKOTT: When people sing along, it’s really hard to describe…. ㄷEverything is still pretty new, it was less than a year ago that we had our first show. To come to this stage, it was huge, by far the biggest we’ve played. I was a bit nervous about the size, but the audience had so much energy. I’m really happy.

K: Although you just started your career, you are currently on tour with Phantogram in the U.S. Do you have a certain item, or something you need while touring that you can’t live without?

S: This may be nerdy, but I like to play video games as soon as we’re on an airplane, or when I can’t sleep. Right now I’m playing Faster than Light, it’s sort of like a space ship type of game. I think that helps me. It clears my mind. If I have a lot of things to think about, or things that are stressful. It’s been the same game for a while now so it’s comforting and I can zone out for awhile. 

K: Your latest single, Mermaid, dropped last week. How is now playing it live for the first time? What was the inspiration behind the single?

S: Mermaid is very special. It is the oldest song of them all, I just hadn’t released it yet. I wrote it on piano a few years ago, and, before that, I was certain that I wanted to become a songwriter.

I think I wanted to be an artist for awhile but I didn’t want to admit it to myself. When I wrote ‘Mermaid’ and recorded a basic demo, I was really feeling like I wanted to do this. I wanted to be the one to sing the song. That song made me realize admit to myself that I wanted to be an artist, and I admitted to another people as well.

After that song, I began to write with myself in mind. It’s a pretty old song but I was working on it for a long time because I wanted to make the production work. For some reason, the song always felt like it wasn’t there yet. I needed to get help with this, bring in other people and try to get it where I wanted it. In a way, it took three years to finish this song. 

K: Three years is a long time.

S: So much has happened since I wrote this song. Since it’s so old, it was extra hard to release it, because it’s been with me for so long. It’s almost easier to not get too attached to demos or have too much history with a song because you don’t dare to release it. You want it to be so perfect, that you can never achieve that. There is no way to ever be finished. It’s tricky to know when to understand that now it’s only in my head.

K: Now that you have told yourself you want to be an artist, what has that been like for you to be playing shows all over the world?

S: There’s a lot more that came with it than I expected. I didn’t have Twitter and Instagram before, a simple thing like that. I barely knew what it was. I’ve never been active with social media and I’ve been known to forget my phone.

Apparently, all artists have to have a social media platform, and not only one. My manager and our team have told me to post more often, and I had to learn that from scratch.

The touring and the interviews are new, from being in the studio, (I call it my cave) where I’m only focusing on the writing on the music, is very different from then being out in the light.

The most important thing, and the biggest challenge is to find a balance so you still have time to go into the cave sometimes, and continue writing music. All of it is because of the music, it has to be the core of everything. Sometimes I feel with companies, it feels like music is second hand. That’s a thing you have to battle, to keep that as the main priority and focus.

K: Do you feel that there are moments while you are performing that you can feel that intimate moment similar to what you had while you were in the studio writing the song?

S: You share something that can be very personal, but what I’ve found fascinating is that it kind of completes the song when you go out and perform it. The song is now in a new light when you share it with an audience. You almost rediscover your song and you understand new sides of it.

When you have something on your mind, and you talk to your friend about it and hear your own words, you understand something new about it. That’s kind of what happens when you’ve been sitting with a song and yourself and you go out and perform it. It’s almost like you understand new parts and sides of it.

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A Conversation with Charlotte Cardin at Wayhome 2017

Let’s face it: Wayhome can be an overwhelming experience. With an onslaught of new artists being featured each year, it’s often hard to know which set to choose and you can easily get lost in the chaos. Once in awhile, if you take a break from the Bacardi tent and head over to one of the three stages, you can experience something magical.

This is what I noticed when I, along with our editor-in-chief, Drew Brown, skipped a round and went over to check out Charlotte Cardin’s set. I’ve been a fan of Charlotte’s for the past year, after hearing her debut EP, Big Boy. I quickly became a fan of her soul-enriching voice, and lyrical genius. I felt I related to a lot of her music — her stories of heartbreak and love lost, and wanted to meet the genius behind the music.

We were lucky enough and had the opportunity to sit down with Charlotte for a few minutes after her Wayhome set, and learned a bit more about her process and what is next to come.

Kimberley Drapack: How is your Wayhome experience treating you so far?

Charlotte Cardin: I love it. We got here at 11. I haven’t seen anything yet, but we were the first show. I am definitely looking forward to seeing more acts. Solange, for sure.

We had a show yesterday in Quebec, and it was a two hour drive from our house, so we got home at like 2 AM and woke up at 4 AM to catch the flight, so we had no sleep.

K: You expend a lot of energy on stage. Your show is really live and fun to watch, you must be really tired afterwards.

CC: There’s a bit of a crash, but we’re going to eat and then take a nap.

K: Is this your first music festival?

CC: No, we played a few. This year we played Bonnaroo, the Montreal Jazz Fest. We also played one in Quebec, and last year we played Osheaga, and the Winnipeg fest this year.

K: Do you have any special prep you need to do before a festival performance vs. a show at home?

CC: Not really. I see both performances the same way. The only preparation I do is I go through the setlist with the band and if we have questions, we bring it up. That takes like seven seconds.

K: By now you must know your set so well.

CC: We played it a lot, so definitely. Sometimes I sort of visualize when I’m more nervous. There’s no crazy preparation.

K: I always wondered how you remembered your setlist so well, because the transitions in between songs are so seamless.

CC: Sometimes you’ll just skip one, and think, “Oh, I forgot to play that one.” The first year and a half, we always had a written setlist, but now we just know.

K: When did you first learn that you loved music and started to write your own?

CC: I started singing when I was very young. I started singing lessons at eight but I had already been singing with my mom and my sisters for fun. I started writing when I was sixteen or seventeen. I had written a few songs before that, but just to try something new. I’m twenty-two now.

K: You’ve done so much already.

CC: Yeah, it’s been really great. I’ve been working hard and a lot of really cool opportunities have presented themselves.

K: Who are some of your musical influences?

CC: I love Radiohead, very much, although we have very different genres, I just love the atmosphere they create. I love old jazz. Nina Simone, Etta James… I listen to a bunch of different stuff… Celine Dion. Those are my main influences.

K: Your EP, Big Boy, was released in 2016. Can you tell us about the prep behind it and your writing process for it?

CC: I wrote the songs over three years. It was my whole life’s work. It was six songs, but I threw a bunch away in the process.

I took the songs that I liked the most and put them on an EP and it’s sort of this story linking the songs together. I don’t always write from personal experiences. I put myself into a certain zone and sometimes it’s even a certain character that writes.

It’s not always me talking in my songs, sometimes it’s someone else. I sometimes pretend I’m a boy writing myself into a bunch of different characters, and it’s a really fun exercise to do. People always ask, “have you been heartbroken a hundred times or are you a super dirty person?” I’m a normal person, I just like putting myself into character to write songs.

K: People often assume that there is one really bad breakup in your life and that each song is about that one person.

CC: Yeah, like Adele’s ex-boyfriend. People always ask me about that. I’ve had experiences, but I don’t feel like it’s important to talk about them. I say a lot in my songs but what’s true and what’s not true is up to people to take what they want.

K: At the 2017 SOCAN Songwriting Awards, you were a nominee in the English category for “Big Boy” and in the French category for “Faufile”, becoming the first artist in the history of the award to be nominated in both categories in the same year. What was this experience like?

CC: It was really nice. I was nominated in the French category last year. It’s nice to see that people recognize what you do and it’s not the same board judging the English part of the contest and the French part, so it’s pretty cool to see that it just sort of happened, they didn’t necessarily talk to one another. I’m not sure of that information is correct but it’s really flattering.

K: Do you have a different process when you’re writing a song in English or in French?

CC: Not really, it comes out. I don’t overthink it. I just start playing and whatever comes out is French or English. I try not to limit myself and I don’t want to censor anything. I’m not able to write on command and to write all the time, so whenever something comes out I just let it.

K: Do you ever have late nights where an idea pops into your head and you write it into a journal beside your bed?

CC: In my phone, usually. That’s way less romantic. Sometimes I’ll be on the bus and write a sentence or some words that inspires me.

K: What’s coming up for you? Do you have any new music coming out?

CC: Yes, new music really soon. We have a new single coming out called Main Girl. I don’t know when it’s going to come out but we are going to release it soon. 

We’re touring with Nick Murphy, for two months, leaving in September and October so it’s going to be fun.

K: You’re a great duo because your voices really compliment each other. Do you think you’d maybe get a song out of that collab?

CC: That would be really cool. I’m not thinking about that, but I’m super grateful to be on that tour.

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Sets You Don’t Want to Miss at WayHome 2017

With WayHome Music Festival right around the corner, we have all been prepping our bodies, minds, and bank accounts for the big weekend ahead. If you’re anything like me, you’re not excited to be camping for three days, but there is nothing like the motivation one gets from seeing their favourite artist’s name printed on a lineup. I will run the risk of not having a hot shower (or a shower at all for the matter) for three days, just for the opportunity to be 10 feet away from Frank Ocean’s feet.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it will be a long 72 hours, but together, we can make things work. Below I have compiled a list of must-see sets at this year’s WayHome, along with the details of where each artist will be playing. You can thank me now, or later, but don’t forget to see these talented individuals in all their glory under the beaming sun.

FRIDAY, JULY 28th 2017

Photo by Bryan Allen Lamb

NONAME [WayHome Stage @ 3:45-4:15 PM]

Noname, otherwise known to her parents and childhood friends as Fatima Warner, is a Chicago MC first known for her cameos on Chance the Rapper’s “Acid Rap”, as well as Mick Jenkin’s mixtape, “The Waters”. Following this debut, Noname took her time and carefully detailed and executed her breakout project, Telefone, which provided hungry fans with a body of work. Noname is an up-and-comer with melodic soundscapes and lyrics that weave into poetry.

Photo by Zack Vitiello

ALLAN RAYMAN [WayBright Stage @ 4:30-5:00 PM]

Toronto native, Allan Rayman is an enigma. Fairly new to the scene, Rayman has managed to steer clear of the spotlight and keep his identity something of a mystery. His first ever interview was released in February of 2017 with Billboard. He is currently signed to Communion Records and has released two albums, Hotel Allen” and “Roadhouse 01” as well as two singles, “Much Too Much” and “All at Once“. Rayman’s vocal style is gritty and soulful, and his music crosses boundaries between genres.

Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images

DANNY BROWN [WayAway Stage @ 12:15-1:00 PM]

For those looking to end the WayHome Friday with a bang, attend Danny Brown’s closing set. This Detroit-native is no stranger to the festival circuit; he delivers high-energy through his performances without missing a beat. Danny’s shows are known for getting quite rowdy and #NSFW, to say the least, but that certainly doesn’t take away from his big finish.

SATURDAY, JULY 29TH 2017

Cover of Charlotte Cardin’s Big Boy EP

CHARLOTTE CARDIN [WayBright Stage @ 2:00-2:30 PM]

Charlotte Cardin is a pop/electro singer from Montréal who is best known for her single, “Like It Doesn’t Hurt, featuring Husser. Her smooth vocals compliment any backdrop, while her lyrics sing truths about tales of lost loves and relationships. Charlotte released her solo debut EP, “Big Boy“, in 2016 with Cult Nation Records with songs in both English and French.

Photo by Carlotta Guerrero

SOLANGE [WayBright Stage @ 8:30-9:30 PM]

One simply cannot leave out this beauty while highlighting the best-of-the-best at WayHome. Without Solange, there would be no list, and, frankly, if you take anything away from this article, let it be this one suggestion: do not miss her set.

Photo by Steven Taylor

RUSS [WayAway Stage @ 12:15-1:00 PM]

Russ is not only a singer-songwriter, but a producer, a beat-maker, and an artist who never stops grinding for his dream. Over the past decade, Russ has put out consistent singles and videos, making him a rising-star from Atlanta. Russ has released eleven “unofficial” albums before eventually signing to Columbia records and releasing his newest project, “There’s Really A Wolf“.

SUNDAY, JULY 30TH 2017

Photo by Ebru Yildiz

MITSKI [WayBright Stage @ 6:00-6:45 PM]

In 2016, Mitski released her fourth studio album, “Puberty 2” through Dead Oceans Records. The whole world applauded Mitski’s vulnerable and complex songwriting, whose subjects include love, depression, self-alienation, and racial identity. The New York Times describes “Puberty 2” as “an impressive collection of D.I.Y punk and indie rock.”

Photo by Liam MacRae & Sean Brown

DANIEL CAESAR [ WayAway Stage @ 6:45-7:30 PM]

Daniel Caesar is a singer-songwriter making waves in the Toronto music scene. Transcending the frameworks of R&B/Soul, Daniel’s music resonates with his audience and creates a moments of self-examination through his lyrics. The 21-year old Toronto native debuted in 2014 with his EP “Praise Break” and has since received attention from major music publications across the country. Daniel speaks directly to a millennial generation through ballads of love, lust, and faith.

Source: The Independent

FRANK OCEAN [WayHome Stage @ 9:45-11:15 PM]

I don’t think there is a combination of words or sentences that I can string together to explain the excitement I feel to finally see Frank Ocean live at WayHome. After a four-year hiatus, Frank has delivered with Blonde, Endless, and consistent singles we will cherish for decades to come. *cough* “Lens” *cough.* This angel sent from above needs no backstory or convincing. See his show, fall in love, and dance slowly under the moonlight, drifting away with his voice.

See the full line up for the 3 day festival here, and continue following our arts and culture coverage on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.