Monday, August 3, 2009

Show Stopper: Hillside Festival (Sunday)

Sunday started much like Saturday...with a giant hangover. We laid in our tents throughout most of the afternoon, listening to the sound of nearby shows. Clues, Winter Gloves, and Gentleman Reg all sounded wonderful (except when I couldn't hear them due to the raging thunderstorm). It was a relaxing, if somewhat painful, way to spend a lazy Hillside Sunday.

Our final volunteer shift began at six o'clock, and it ended up being by far my least productive. As soon as we got on, we were told that the Lake Stage vendors were running severely short on dishes. The problem was that there were no dishes to give them, as the dishwashers were also behind. So Sunni and I jumped into the dishwashing area and began feverishly cleaning. The best part about this was being right next to the Great Lake Swimmers show, so it's almost like we got to see it by default.

The second half of my shift consisted of a lot of wandering between different shows. My job was supposed to be to watch a freezer truck near the Lake Stage, but since no one was even using it, I was able to discreetly catch some performers. Sadly I missed the Rural Alberta Advantage, but Patrick Watson sounded grand as usual. I headed in briefly and watched Ambre McLean, a Guelph local artist with a stunning voice.

What followed at nine, though, was what made this a weekend I'll remember for the rest of my life.

When Final Fantasy came on stage, there was a storm looming on the horizon. It looked dark and ominous, but the show began on schedule. He was playing a lot of new material, all of which sounded unbelievable.

Final Fantasy - "Do You Love" (Download) (this isn't actually the song in the video; that song is as of yet unreleased, as far as I know)

And then the rain started.

It poured and poured. Thunder and lightning were crashing all around. He began playing a song called "Lewis Takes Off His Shirt", and about half way through the stage crew attempted to shut him down for fear of the stage getting hit by lightning. But he wouldn't stop, and no one went to find cover. As the sky poured buckets over everyone, the song climaxed and the lightning began acting as another instrument; with each flash the crowd cheered and yelled in pure joy. When the song was over, everyone kind of just stood there, in complete awe of what we had just witnessed. We were wet and muddy, but no one cared.

Thankfully, someone took a very high quality video of it.

With my life fulfilled, the festival came to a close. See you next year, Hillside.

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