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June 26, 2016

NXNE Port Lands: Recap

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Written by: CT
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By Riley Mackinnon

 Friday, June 17, and Saturday, June 18, NXNE began wrapping up their week-long music and arts festival with Port Lands, a two-day music festival held in the ports of Toronto. Luckily, the weather played its nice card, with beautiful blue skies and a cool breeze felt throughout the grounds.

Over the course of two days, two fantastic bills of musicians took to two stages in the area, on opposite ends of the massive parking lot that was converted into a festival. Fans walked throughout, stopping at the faux-Coachella set up in the middle, getting some delicious food at the few food trucks on site, or playing a Q & A game put on by Texas tourism.

NXNE has been known to dedicate one day to hip hop, and one day to rap, with this year being no exception. Day One featured various rap, R&B, and hip hop artists, from Canada and afar. Toronto native Tasha the Amazon kicked things off early, playing to a smaller crowd but treating it like a stadium. Her exuberant energy brought smiles to the fans, and started off the weekend right. Mick Jenkins shook things up on the other side of venue at the other stage, before the crowd bounced back to the main stage to hear the groovy sound of Shamir.

The final three acts on Day One drew a much larger crowd. Ghostface Killah kicked things into high gear as the sun started going down, asking for fan involvement as he spun off verses, or shared the stage with many of the female fans in the crowd. The crowd once again took off towards the other stage to hear Canadian Daniel Caesar, and then returned one last time for the headliner, Schoolboy Q.  A great first day to the festival.

Day Two drew a bigger crowd from the start, most likely due to the nature of the music. Much more in line with traditional music festivals, Day Two had a more relaxed atmosphere. Many people hung around, listening from the sitting area in the middle of the venue, trying to stay hydrated in the blistering heat. Devin Cuddy Band started things off, and brought a very familiar guest: father to Devin, and Blue Rodeo member Jim CuddyLand of Talk and Highs continued to build momentum for the next two sets as the temperatures rose, before Dan Mangan took the stage with a more chilled-out set that brought a smile to everyone’s face.

The Zolas once again turned things up a notch down on the other end of the venue, dancing along with everyone in the crowd. Mother Mother kicked off the last three sets with a pumped up set that drew laughter and dancing from everyone watching. Born Ruffians were the final performance on the second stage, playing some cool songs as the sun went down, before everyone returned for the final act of the festival: Father John Misty. Poking fun at the Budweiser truck, Father John Misty drew many laughs from the crowd before entertaining them with a fun set to finish the festival.

All in all, Port Lands brought a great variety of acts sure to please any crowd. In the future, though, more shelter should be available. Many of the fans were feeling the heat, which reached around 30 degrees Celsius, and many wished for a refillable water station. Small fixes like this would be sure to create a more comfortable environment for the many concert-goers that attended this year’s NXNE Port Lands. On to next year’s!

For more photos of the event, click here.






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