Words by Sebastian Leck, Lauren Luchenski, Anisa Rawhani and Ramna Safeer
ruben kalaichandran
kia kortelainen
sebastian leck
lauren luchenski
mishal omar
krishna patel
anisa rawhani
ramna safeer
kayla thomson © The Queen's Journal 2015
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With the gates to the festival officially open, the main stage was ready for its first act on 
Friday night. The Attic Kids opened the festival with the perfect amount of energy — not sleepy, but certainly not loud — for festival-goers trickling in. Vocalist Nick Castel kept the growing crowd comfortable as he danced to the music. The band seemed at home on stage, as if they were seasoned performers instead of a fresh student band playing their first festival. At 8:50 p.m., Daniel Romano took the stage just as the sun was dipping behind the ferry docks. With an accompanying band that smiled warmly as they played, the crowd stood and swayed to the music. Complete with dark sunglasses and curly hair, Romano’s mellow, folksy sound was reminiscent of an early Bob Dylan. As darkness fell, the stage lit up with bright green and red lights, which illuminated the musicians and the dancing crowd. Elliot Brood was the last act to command the main stage, as three other venues — St. Margaret's Hall, The Wolfe Island Grill and General Wolfe Hotel — opened up to showcase separate lineups of musicians for the rest of the night.
DAY 1: ST. MARGARET'S HALL The sounds of three extraordinary musicians filled Wolfe Island’s St. Margaret’s Hall on Friday night. While the main stage festivities wrapped up, festival organizers invited the audience to a more relaxed venue five minutes away at St. Margaret’s Hall. Megan Hamilton opened the performances at 10 p.m. Accompanied by a violinist, Hamilton’s acoustic guitar and strong voice sounded rich and full in the small venue. Hamilton cracked jokes about politics and dedicated songs to friends in the crowd, which broke down the barrier between audience and performer. After Hamilton’s soothing music came strange-folk guitar player Wax Mannequin. His loud guitar and unconventional lyrics seemed to shock the audience initially. However, his energetic perform held the audience’s attention and they danced throughout his set. Mo Kenney closed the events at St. Margaret’s Hall. The venue filled for Kenney’s arrival, and the entire audience rose to their feet for her performance. After a quick sound check, Kenney opened her set with her song “I Faked It” from her first album, Mo Kenney. Kenney looked comfortable on stage. Between songs, she spoke with the audience and shared the stories that inspired each of the songs in her set. Kenney was honest and personable, and the audience responded well, laughing with her throughout her performance.
Mo Kenney performing in St. Margaret's Hall.
Photo by Krishna Patel of Studio Q DAY 1: THE ISLAND GRILL The Island Grill was one of the best venues for the festival, with an intimate atmosphere minus the claustrophobia of smaller spaces. Audiences engaged with the performance as much as they liked, either dancing in front of the band, or casually overlooking the stage while munching on the restaurant’s food — which was pretty expensive, but you can’t get it all. The lineup was diverse, including a dream pop band, a country folk musician and an indie R&B soloist. Elsa was the first act of the night. For many audience members it was their first time hearing the five-piece outfit, but their dreamy sound had the somewhat intoxicated audience on their feet and dancing within minutes. The dancing was a first for the band, frontman Jonathon Rogers said, but they were glad people were enjoying themselves. One of band’s guitarists, Andrew, had only joined the group two weeks earlier, but held his own. Elsa was followed by Spencer Burton who played a country folk set. Between tunes, Burton told funny and charming stories about his travels and kids, and later led the audience through a well-received cover. Brendan Philip, the last act, provided a break in the festival’s indie rock and alternative lineup. His unique sound, a combination of vocals and an electro-ambient soul-funk beat, was mesmerizing.
DAY 1: GENERAL WOLFE HOTEL Despite being booked at a venue that left much to be desired, the fresh-faced Kodeines and veteran band Limblifter gave energetic performances at the General Wolfe. The General Wolfe is a hotel with a stage for live music, not a concert venue — and it shows. The dance floor area next to the stage obscured the bands from the view of most of the audience. It didn’t help that the Kodeines’ performance was moved forward from their 11:15 p.m. spot to 10:30 p.m., and then delayed back to around 10:45, possibly because an audience failed to materialize for the earlier slot. That aside, once the Kodeines finally performed, their stage presence was thrilling. While their rock music tunes weren’t particularly notable, they did well for a relatively new band yet to release an album. Music fans in Kingston should look out for more performances to come. It was Limblifter that ultimately stole the show. Throughout their playful performance, they played fan favourites from their latest album, Pacific Milk. By the time their set was underway, the hotel was filled to the brim with festival-goers. Although it was difficult to see the band’s performance through the dancing crowd – many of whom were within reaching distance of the performers – their renditions of “Dopamine” and other Limblifter songs were lively and strikingly close to their respective album versions. In one memorable moment, Ryan Dahle, the band’s frontman, told the audience they were leaving immediately after their set to drive to the Toronto airport. The band had scheduled a concert in British Columbia the next day, forcing them to fly overnight. “If I miss the ferry, I’m fucked,” he said, before launching into the next song.
The Kodeines.
Photo by Sebastian Leck DAY 2 Vintage clothing vendors, food trucks and an outdoor bar circled the field in front of the main stage, which featured Saturday’s lineup of local and nationally recognized musicians from noon to midnight. Eleven bands performed on the festival’s second day, and the crowd grew steadily as the day wore on. Sunset saw the field brimming with people. Many danced in front of the stage, while others just laid back on the grass and enjoyed the atmosphere. The day’s lineup opened with the Kingston-based four-piece Lost Cousins. Their energetic and upbeat sound was a perfect way to whet the appetite for the bands 
to follow. Nearly every act that day took the time to thank the festival and its organizers and recognize the other musicians. This seemed to strengthen the festival’s intimate and friendly atmosphere, especially as these musicians wandered through the field and enjoyed the music alongside the festival-goers, erasing any gap between audience and artist. The vendors and stalls were stationed in a curve surrounding the field, and sold vintage clothes, festival merchandise, handmade art prints. They also advertised local and campus businesses. Several times during the day, a band’s sound check took unexpectedly long. This made for perfect opportunities to wander amongst the vendors and speak to the friendly people at each stall. Two food trucks were parked just outside the fence that encircled the main stage’s field. The trucks, Burrito Bunker and Mission Street North, both sold burritos and tacos. The street food, which had the potential to be a highlight, lacked in diversity. Several of the bands that took the stage interacted heavily with the crowd. Lowell, for example, joked and laughed with the crowed in between her songs. Her voice seemed out of place at certain points, but the drums and electric guitar attracted a growing crowd of dancing people in front of the stage. Between hilarious banter with his fellow musicians, and a solid cover of Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane's Last Dance”, Hayden did not disappoint. Near the end of his performance he made a sweet shout out to his wife, who he said rarely came to performances, but was in attendance that night. On the drums for Hayden was Taylor Knox, who’d performed just hours earlier with his own band. Hayden, Knox and the rest of the band concluded their performance with a strong and long-lasting improvisation that enthralled. The Operators were a break from the acoustic indie scene, as they added an electronic twist. As the second last act of the night, they were extremely well-received by the dancing mob. Closing the festival was a much anticipated performance from indie-rock group Constantines. The band had recently regrouped in 2014, after a four-year break from music. Their performance reached high volumes — both from their music and the audience’s cheers. A large group of die-hard fans pushed themselves through the large crowd to get close to the stage and to sang along to every word. Constantines exciting performance gave the audience one final rush of energy before the last ferry came to take everyone back to Kingston.
Photos by Ruben Kalaichandran of Studio Q