Tag Archives: Toronto Urban Roots Festival

Toronto Gets A Decent Outdoors Music Fest

15 Jul

Toronto doesn’t have a big, outdoors, multi-day music festival to rival Coachella, SXSW or Osheaga, but it recently put on an event that might just come close…one day.

The first ever Toronto Urban Roots Festival ran from July 4 – 7 at Fort York, with a mainly folk-indie line up including Belle and Sebastian, Camera Obscura, She & Him, The Cat Empire, Barr Brothers and my (new) Canadian faves, Whitehorse.

It was very much my musical cup of tea, so I was super happy to cover it for Torontoist.


There’s a bit of a debate raging underneath the Torontoist article as to whether She & Him’s Zooey Deschanel – yep, her off of New Girl – was being excessively diva-ish by banning photos and videos as she performed.

On balance, I probably side with “HotDang”, though I’d couch my views in slightly different terms. There’s definitely something to be said for living the moment, rather than documenting it, but it’s a difficult argument to make when you have 2.1m Instagram followers and once tweeted: “Being away from my dogs it feels my camera has no purpose.” Zooey suggests there’s a kind of purity to enjoying music “in 3D”, but isn’t above using Twitter to post links to She & Him music videos, or flog tickets to her gigs. It’s almost as if the camera ban’s just an attempt to control PR.

Ignoring all of that, it was a great festival; here’s hoping TURF becomes a permanent fixture on the Toronto summer calender.

John Howson

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