July 24- July 26, 2015 marks the first ever Way Home Festival to hit Canada. The festival drew 35,000 people from all over North America spending a magical weekend together. The festival including over 60 artists throughout the weekend including headliners Neil Young + Promise of the Real, Kendrick Lamar, Sam Smith, Alt-J, Hozier, Brandon Flowers, and more! In additional to the amazing performances, the festival offered four stages each with its own unique theme. Way Home is not just about the music. It’s about bringing people together and boding over arts and culture.
Day one of the festival began with indie band Alt-J brightening up the WayBright stage. With mellow music tones with the mix of an electronic artsy sound, most of the crowd was laying on the grass relaxing to the sound of swirling piano keys.
At the same time, over at the WayBold stage, Newfoundland’s own Hey Rosetta had the whole crowd on their feet dancing along to Tim Baker’s soul voice along with busy instrumentals. Most of the set came from their latest album “Second Sight”. We must say, Baker is quite the charmer and knew how to get the crowd pumped.
Most people are familiar with Canadian actor Tyler Kyte (Popular Mechanics for Kids), who is now a musician and lead singer for the band Dwayne Gretzky. Being the last set to preform for the night at the WayAway stage, the band made sure the audience ended the night with smiles.
Most of the crowd was gathered at the WayHome stage to capture Neil Young + Promise of the Real performing. The rest of the night was a more relaxed vibe, with people setting up their blankets and peacefully relaxing to the sound of the piano waves, this was truly a beautiful way to end day one of WayHome.
As the sun started rising, and the crowd gathering through out the four stages, we caught indie band Alvvays performing on the WayBright stage. Alvvays’ fan base has grown quite large since the last time they played in Toronto for The SiriusXM Indie Awards. Lead singer Molly Rankin‘s dreamy voice caught the attention of the whole crowd, and when the band performed hit song “Archie, Marry Me,” all the passerby stopped and listened.
The next act we caught at the WayBright stage was american rapper Danny Brown. We were taken by surprise by the amount of people that came to watch his set. The audience was super hyped during this set, and that’s because Brown knew how to work the crowd. Brown was jumping everyone and even had a fan sneak up on the stage to grab him. Then fans started tossing drugs and items at the rapper, and he seemed to be quite enjoying. Truly a different but entertaining performance.
It was no doubt, majority of the crowd was gathered at the WayHome stage to catch Modest Mouse. The band took quite some time to release their newest album ” Strangers to Ourselves“, and to hear them perform some of their newer songs was worth the long wait. Performing songs like “Lampshades On Fire” the harmonic guitar bends had the whole crowd on their feet cheering the band on. From their last album, the band has transitioned to a more rock-indie sound, still leaving the crowd excited none the less!
Another act which won our hearts over was rapper G-Eazy, who probably had one of the loudest most hyped up audience at the WayBold stage. It was no surprise to see why the rapper had so many devoted fans, his lyrics are real with no limits. Performing songs from his latest album “These Things Happen”. They are very personal and aggressive but with catchy beats. Being a white rapper, most would compare him to Macklemore, but they are actually quite different. G-Eazy‘s confidence and melodic sounds are more relatable to Eminem and Drake. He is definitely worth a listen, and by the looks of it, G-Eazy is already winning hundreds of hearts.
A lot of fans over at the WayBright stage was upset about the cancellation of Passion Pit. Sleeping with Sirens was the last minute replacement, and they managed to keep the crowd excited for the next act that was about to come.
The headliner of the night was none other than Kendrick Lamar. All 35,000 people were on site at the WayHome stage to see the hip-hop artist. With a live band behind him, every song Lamar played was full of power and energy. Everyone in the crowd knew the lyrics to each song and was rapping alongside Lamar. When Lamar started singing “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” even security started to rap along with the crowd. Ending his set with crazy fireworks, the night couldn’t have ended any better!
While the night ended for some, for others it was just getting started. How to Dress Well started performing at the WayBright stage. A more smoother vibe with Tom Krell’s soulful voice which calmed the audience down after an exhausting night.
The festival isn’t just about the performances. For guests who weren’t into the whole EDM/rap scene, the festival set up a Silent Disco. The Silent Disco is a unique but fun way of experiencing live music. Guests had wireless headphones where everything instantly transforms into a high energy area. Observers who never been inside were confused and intrigued on the amount of energy inside when there is no music playing. Even when we went inside, and took off our headphones, and it was crazy to see how many people were jumping up and down to no sound. But once you put the headphones back on, that whole energy feels alive again.
At 12: 30 am, the last two major acts of the night were Odesza and Bassnectar. Both EDM acts at two different stages was quite hectic. People didn’t know which act to see, we went back and forth between the two sets to capture a bit of each performance. Bassnectar‘s set was full of fun beats and the bass dropping every second, while Odesza‘s set included a lot of mash ups with exotic vocal samples mixed with fun beats.
The third and final day of WayHome started off with St.Vincent. Beautiful voice, but very bland performance. Most of the crowd was lying down on their blankets, we walked by some people who were sleeping!
The crowd quickly woke up and went back on their feet as soon as Brandon Flowers hit the stage. Being a fan since The Killers, Flowers still had the same charm and even sang some older hit songs such as “Mr.Brightside” and “Somebody Told Me.” Fans were in for a treat, as Flowers sang some of his newer singles such as “Still Want You” and “Can’t Deny My Love”.
The final act of night was Sam Smith. Most people came to only see the singer, and with his perfect voice and singing most of his select tunes from Grammy-award winning debut “In the Lonely Hour”, this was the perfect way to end a marvellous weekend.
Thank you to Republic Live for making this possible and see you next year!