The last of its kind: All Caps Festival

by Richard Moore

It was my first time heading back to Toronto Islands since I was 7. As you look out from the ferry the landscape of the towering city has changed dramatically since my last visit.  No longer the “Sky Dome” (now Rogers Centre) and the CN Tower are the main focal point as half-built condos paint a smear over a classic city skyline. Fortunately, and unfortunately, it’s the fifth and final time to experience All Caps Festival. Hosted by Wavelength and Artscape, located at Gibraltar Point, All Caps is an island music festival that lasts two days and two nights, the two nights you could spend camping out on the festival grounds.

Unfinished Business, Most People, Vancouver’s Beekeeper, and Ev Ree Wuhn, one of the newest Toronto Radiohead inspired bands, started off the afternoon with some solid tent pitching music for the more punctual fans. As the night went on, more and more people wondered in for Shotgun Jimmie, Bizzarh, Hooded Fang, and The Blow. Bizzarh, a soul/rap group that sounds like a mix of Erykah Badu and Missy Elliot, were hands down my favorite performance for day one. Their artful combination of vocals and nearly free-styled rap was coming together in some solid tunes.

After the sunset most of the trees on the festival grounds were lit up by white holiday lights turning the camping ground into a small kind of Wonderland. The party started with DJ Spadafora, followed by mathematically designed beats by Algorave and a more relaxed set by Eytan Tobin, sending the kids off to their sleeping bags.

On day two the tents had to be taken down by the first show which made it into a fairly uneventful morning. Only a handful of people wondered in to see Watershed Hour, while the rest of the attendees were exploring the island or soaking in the sun on the beach. The festival’s slow point carried over into the afternoon with people playing ping-pong and Jenga around a fire pit for most of the day. Magneta Lane got the ball rolling again, bringing people back into the performance area to get a little dance on. Most of the people seemed to stick around for Rich Aucoin, an indie rock musician from Halifax. “I hope there is confetti” I hear to my left, and sure enough, during the last song the crowd was showered with a thousand pieces of metallic confetti chunks glittering in the sun.

All Caps left the best for last.