Hillside Summer Festival 2018

July 13 – 15

Counter Hate with Beauty

2018 Theme: Counter Hate with Beauty

Hillside Festival has a rich history that stretches more than thirty-five years. It was founded in 1984 by a group of Guelph residents who wanted to celebrate music in a way that respected the environment and encouraged community building and altruism.

Since its inception, Environmental Sustainability, has been a core principle of The Hillside Festival with a no-trace policy. With this, the Festival is proud to be one of the first festivals in Canada that started a zero-waste dishwashing program that removed the need for environmentally destructive styrofoam and/or plastic plates and utensils.

The need for plastic water bottles was eliminated from Hillside through several initiatives. First, reusable collectable mugs are the item of the Festival and come with a handy clip so attendees can easily clip their unused cup to their backpack or belt. Second, a massive water tanker is on site for all attendees to fill up those resuable cups with local tasty water! 

Further, a permanent stage was built on the Festival grounds and to offset the lost green space, the roof of the stage was made into a living roof, with a thriving native plant ecosystem.


Hillside has over 1,500 volunteers and one of the strongest volunteer retention initiatives in the province, with many volunteers celebrating their 20, 25 and 30 year anniversaries. The Festival would not be able to run without the tireless work of our volunteers. 

Countering Hate with Beauty

Hillside 2018's lineup features a talented and ambitious collection of artists and performers who challenge the status quo, push boundaries with new ideas, and create art that inspires others. We have over 65 performers representing a wide variety of genres, including Indie Rock, Folk, Electropop, R&B, Hip Hop, Dub/Punk, and World music.

This year, Hillside is championing the theme of countering hate with beauty, taking Rev. Sekou’s words as our collective flag:

"Artists are legislators of hope…and architects of being, building communities where there are no strangers – only neighbours."

In many ways, the artists performing at Hillside this year have responded to animosity in their lives by creating beauty with their music. This year will be no different, as Hillside 2018 will celebrate these expressions of positive creativity, affirmative resistance and belonging by offering artists who shine light instead of shame and revel in beauty instead of hostility.

In the words of Marie Zimmerman, Hillside's Executive Director:

“We’re arguing that (art) is a lighthouse. It just reminds us of our humanity, our duty to protect other people and to love, and it stops us from crashing up against the rocks of our own egos, our callousness, our pride. We forget that that’s the function of art.”

Read the entire article from the Guelph Mercury Tribune HERE.


Bar 89 podcast logo

Dive into three captivating podcast discussions surrounding the notion of Countering Hate with Beauty, with our new friends Ryan, Dan, and Steven at the Bar 89 Podcast.


Ryan Hanes, Marketing Manager at Hillside Festival This “Part 1” episode features Hillside's Marketing Manager, Ryan Hanes, and explores this year’s momentous theme of Countering Hate with Beauty. Mentioned in the podcast:  A Tribe Called Red Five Alarm Funk Iskwé & Rev. Sekou.


Annie Sumi 2018 (social)

This “Part 2" episode features another discussion on this year's theme of Countering Hate with Beauty by Guelph's own Annie Sumi! Annie will be performing on Sunday of Hillside 2018.


Bar 89 - Hillside 2018 Interviewees

In this final “Part 3" episode that takes place at Hillside 2018, our friends at the podcast explored the notion of Countering Hate with Beauty (among other things) by picking the brains of Hillside 2018 artists Adrian Underhill, Cadence Weapon, and Birds of Bellwoods as well as Hillside's Marketing Manager, Ryan Hanes - all in separate interviews - and all taking place directly under main stage in the area affectionately referred to as "The Bunker".

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