Wayhome Music Festival. I feel like that should be enough to describe three days spent in Oro-Medonte. And don’t worry if you don’t know where that is – no one does. So much so that every artist either said, HOW YOU DOING CANADA? Or WHAT’S UP ONTARIO? Because, really, what is there to say about Oro-Medonte besides that it is a tiny town off the 416 and that is the perfect location for a three-day music festival.
This was the first year. The inaugural year. My brother and I decided to go when we found out Hozier was going to be there. Hozier, if you have been living under a rock, is everything. A gorgeous Irishman who sings with the voice of an angel, the hair of a god, and the guitar skills of that hot musician you always wanted to bang but could never get to.
Where was I? Right. Wayhome. So my brother, his best friend and I loaded up the car and headed out to see them. Funny story happened as we were driving in. Courtney and I had made the very wise decision of getting beer cans – since no glass was allowed whatsoever. And we never thought to check my brother’s packing skills. Now, my brother is a gourmet chef – seriously, he is the best chef I know. He comes up with crazy concoctions that taste amazing and are stellar for you. He introduced me to nutrition and to really think about where your food comes from and what you are putting in your body. But I digress as per usual. So, we get to the check-in and we realize what’s in the car. A giant glass water jug. Cue our panic and prayers that they don’t find it. But of course they did. And of course they made a spectacle. Most people would assume we had to try smuggle in a shit-load of vodka. But no. It was just spring water from Wakefield. So, as we tried to beg and plead our way into allowing them to enter with our water jug, the security guards laughed and emptied out that water. And we couldn’t stop laughing as we assigned each other blame. This was the game we played all weekend. 20% blame for us because we didn’t realize that Courtney hadn’t brought a pillow and sleeping bag. 80% for my brother for bringing olive oil, apple cider vinegar and a GIANT GLAS JAR!
Our first day, we set up our tent and surveyed our surroundings, made friends with girls beside us, and headed out to the grounds. As nerdy as we both are, Courtney and I couldn’t get over how well-organized this event was. Please bear with me while I discuss this: the tents and cars were set up in a way that allowed. you to leave whenever you want; our section had three huge tanks of water that kept getting filled; and four rows of portable toilets. Toilets that were cleaned twice a day. GUYS THIS IS IMPORTANT IN A MUSIC FESTIVAL!
The grounds were just a short walk away. We passed by a pizza pizza place, a stand of vitamin water and a phone-charging station. I am well-known for my phone always dying, something that happens all the time. We checked our ID’s, got some 19+ bracelets and headed to the concert grounds. Upon entering, to your direct left, there were rows of food trucks. We explored those on our last day. Our first concert that we saw were the Decemberists, where I conveniently and scarily bumped into my coworker. I say scarily because the place was huge. Ginamormous. Thousands upon thousands of people. So bumping into someone unplanned was major.
Then the moment we had all been waiting for. Hozier. There are no words. When he started singing Jackie and Wilson, From Eden, Someone New, and Work Song, we just danced and melted.
I think we checked out a few other bands and headed back to the tent. We also passed out! I am almost ashamed to admit that. Note to future Wayhome Music Festival-going-Izzy: arrive on Thursday.
The next day was spent relaxing. We ate pancakes (thanks bro!) and headed out of the sun into the shade of the trees, playing cards, softly chatting and napping. We checked out quite a few other bands that day, finding some really good ones to follow along to. There was even a section of Etsy shops, having created an online-store on the grounds. What a neat concept. We walked around the shops and looking at all the merchandise. I made a mental note of a few good shops to check out when I get home, including one from my hometown of Gatineau!
We also stopped to watch the Beaches, this all-girl punk band from Toronto. The lead singer was so insane. She had the craziest dance moves and the most insane facial expressions. But it was such good music! Hey Rosetta was also phenomenal.
That night we headed out to see Kendrick Lamar. Can I admit something to you guys? Please don’t judge. I only knew of one Kendrick Lamar song. Can you take a guess as to what it is?
It’s Bad Blood.
The concert was actually amazing. I danced along, pretended to be so much hipper than I was and made another mental note to check out his albums. Also, so many mental notes that weekend that I don’t remember most of them.
Carrying on, we went back to the tent, drank so more liquids, changed into new outfits and headed out to see some deejays. My brother and Courtney headed on way and I was off to see Odessa to join a friend of mine. When our concert ended, we headed to the one next door to us. The stages were amazing, and so well set-up. And oh my god, some people really wanted to carry some crazy looking flags. Here is the last text message I sent to my colleague: I’m next to the home hardware flag. Like, you would think that would be such an obscure direction but it was actually a really helpful one – it’s how I found my guy.
When that was over, we tried to find a way to keep the fun going. There was a little shack in the middle of the grounds with a piano in it. So many talented people kept taking their turns and so much drunks tried to sing off-key and missing half the lyrics to it. It was amazing!
The third day started off with another breakfast and watching tons of concert-goers pack up their cars. They were ready to head out that day. We had more concerts to go to. And some major humiliation to experience. You see, Courtney and I had assumed that once you had your 19+ bracelet, you wouldn’t need to show ID again. How wrong we were. As we pleaded with the guy behind the table, he offered to let us get our new 19+ bracelets if Courtney did cartwheels and I did jumping jacks. Humiliating.
The Sloans. Modest Mouse. Lone Bellow. Michael Flowers. Vance Joy. And Sam Smith to close out the festival. He put on an amazing performance. Yes, you might think that Sam Smith only sings music that would put you to sleep; to cry; to cry some more and to hope that the perfect man for you is on your way. I think he realized that because his performance showcases his back-up singers, popular up-beat cover songs and his classics. It was well worth the price of admission let me tell you. And of course, there were tears. HE WAS JUST SO GOOD! It was his first headlining festival. And I am beyond thrilled we got to see it.
I think what happened next was my favorite part. We had decided to stay an extra night so we could watch Sam Smith. We watched thousands of people tried to leave the concert grounds without any luck. We watched them idle for about an hour without any movement before we decided to head to bed. When we woke up, the grounds were nearly empty and we just sailed out of there to head home.We packed up our tents, and tried to see if we can get our glass jar back. No luck. Bye Wayhome!
BUT FIRST. A quick stop to the Big Apple. Yes, literally just a big apple in the middle of a highway stop. We bought apple pie, cider and a few other things. Hey, sometimes you just need pie.
Home sweet home. Our bracelets finally came off. We kept maps. We made notes. I texted all my friends that next year, Wayhome was an absolute must. July 22-23-24 2016. Are you ready?
*Courtney took about half these photos – what can I say? My phone died*