• Oliver

#GuideTo Hillside Festival 2016: Friday & Saturday's Top 10 Artists


Can you hear the thrum of the djembe echoing through the forest? The purr of the drum circle suggesting the arrival of Hillside 2016 - one of the most unique music festivals in Southern Ontario? A place where good food, amazing workshops, and influential music all collide and mingle like a hoopla of good vibrations?

Hillside Festival 2016 docks onto Guelph Lake's Island this July 22nd to 24th. Three days of camping, dancing, and jamming are paired with headline acts from the likes of Buffy Ste. Marie & The Sadies to Beatforest favourite Donovan Woods. Not only that, but the festival is notorious for bringing independent and exceptional acts to the four stages it boasts. Complementary to the theme of our blog (being an unsigned music blog), I thought it would be a great idea to highlight the top five "fairly unknown" talents performing on each day of the festival. Today I'll provide an exposé on Friday and Saturday's lineup and next week we'll have the final play detailing Sunday's top five. Without further adieu, I present Friday and Saturday's top ten!


1. "Slacks" by VALLEY

Right off the bat, I'm completely mesmerized by Toronto pop quartet VALLEY. Their sound reminisces of Australian duo Chymes, but with an ambient-folkscape complemented by unique harmonies. I honestly can't get enough. Check out their latest single Slacks in the Soundcloud player below and catch their Lake Stage performance on Friday at 8:00 PM!

2. "Men For Miles" by OUGHT

There's something about OUGHT's Men For Miles that reminds me of zoning out at an incredibly hip art gallery. Composed of four members, the Montreal band pump unadulterated noise into their music, with vocals that dip into anxious, yet artistic narratives. Catch up with OUGHT on Friday at their 9:00 PM Island Stage performance!

3. "The Magician" by Andy Shauf

Andy Shauf is that singer you crave when laying on a blanket in the sun. His voice has a retro timbre to it that's like a modern day Harry Nilsson; not to mention the production on every track being unparalleled in today's musical climate. Discover Andy Shauf at his 7:10 PM performance on Friday's Main Stage!

4. "All Wet" by Son Little

Did Son Little just capture a billion genres in one song? I think he just might have. Reggae, folk, R&B, soul, alt-rock, the list goes on. Enough said. Catch the Philadelphia-based artist at his 8:25 PM show on the Main Stage!

5. "1 (Waited Long Enough)" by Versa

Thoughtfully tuned into the neo-psychedelia movement currently on rotation in the indie rock community, Versa unlock colourful instrumentals that will make the end of Friday night feel like a kaleidoscope of sound. Get into Versa below and check out their 10:15 PM performance on Friday's Lake Stage!


1. "Home For The Weekend" by The Lifers

The Lifers' sisters (made up of Liv and Anita Cazzola) are two of Guelph's most up-and-coming musicians. Not only do their harmonies and lyrics articulate emotional maturity, but the duo maintain an acoustic soundscape rich with ukelele, percussion, and upbeat piano. I think if there's any budding duo you should check out this weekend it's The Lifers. On at 12:00 PM on Saturday's Lake Stage.

2. "Color War" by Caveboy

Another all-girl group, Caveboy have an exciting new sound filled with hard-hitting synth patterns, 80's vocal tonality, and a futuristic edge. The trio consistently pay ode to the synthpop genre of yesteryear while weaving elements of new wave and indietronica into each riff. Oh, and did I mention that their latest tune Color War was featured on season four of Orange Is The New Black? Pretty damn cool. Catch Caveboy on Saturday's Island Stage at 12:40 PM!

3. "Red Mountain Flower" - Ajinai

Hillside is well-known among the Ontario music community for bringing a hand full of talented international artists to their stages. This year, I can't wait to see Ajinai. Mongolian throat singing and morin khuur (better known as the horse-head fiddle) flow through each melody, allowing the listener to fall into a swaying trance just as modern as it is traditional. Ajinai will be gracing the Saturday Main Stage at 5:25 PM, so be sure to catch them just before you grab a bite to eat!

4. "Dead Deer" by Evening Hymns

Just as the name suggests, Evening Hymns compose soft, moving ballads with a rhythmic groove. I don't think I can sum it up better than frontman Jonas Bonnetta's bio: "The currents of his emotional poetry evoke collective memories and experiences we somehow all share." Rustic and soaring, their music is undoubtedly one to grab a beer and chill-out too. Catch them on Saturday's Lake Stage at 8:00 PM for some orchestral enchantment!

5. "Chuck Ol' Hen" by Rising Appalachia

Last but not least, Rising Appalachia. This folk-based pair imbue each verse with metrical storytelling that draws from a wide range of cultural background and musical genre-making. Each song is an adventure and I cannot wait to experience the uplifting energy Rising Appalachia have to offer. Catch the duo on Saturday's Main Stage at 8:40 PM!


Alright folks! That's a wrap for Friday and Saturday's Top Five! If you didn't catch The Beatforest's '#BeatsOf: Hillside Festival 2016' check it out here! Otherwise, be sure to grab your digital copy of the weekend lineup and stay tuned next Friday for Sunday's top five!

Hillside Festival on

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website

Keep Smiling!


(Cover Photo Credit: Ryan Price)


Related Posts

See All