News Bites

What does protest music look like in 2017? 

When we think of protest music, images of the radical American 1960s come to mind, with the sexual revolution and anti-war rhetoric that was sweeping the continent. But it's been more than five decades since that period and while the words of Woody Guthrie, Buffy Saint Marie, Bob Dylan, and Jimi Hendrix will always remain powerful calls, they were written about a time and place that is not what the world is today.

Protest music is inherently contextual, meaning it is rooted in the time, place and communities in which it was created. Protest music is a response to what is going on in the moment. And right now, with the rise of populism and fascism, the ever-widening gap between the rich 1% and the other 99%, and the continued degradation to our natural environment, the need for music of resistance is just as strong as ever.

But what does it look like today? Protest songs have their roots in folk and blues music, but we're lucky to live in a time with such a wide array of genres within which protest music lives. Hip-hop and rap were born from resistance music and artists like MissingLinx continue that tradition; electronica, such as with DJ Shub, is challenging the status quo through absolutely brilliant blending of sounds and tradition, and spoken word, which has exploded in the past decade with artists such as Yes and Denise Frohman, takes the visceral passion of protest and puts it to a poetic beat.

We also have the classic folk/blues/country genres being represented, with breakthrough artists like Leonard Sumner and NEFE creating a new vibe and generation, whilst standing proud against those who helped shape the genre, like Sarah Harmer and Billy Bragg.

So what does protest music look like in 2017? It looks like the absolute best blend of tradition and change, of classic and fresh. It is disruptive and subversive. It is the celebration of voices from all walks of life and from all types of people.

It looks like the voice of change. It looks like the future.

 

Leonard Sumner is an Anishnaabe singer who was on the forefront of #IdleNoMore and who confronts traditional heirarchies through his music.

 
 
 

Billy Bragg is one of the legends of protest music. Joe Henry joins him for an exploration of communities across geography and the ties that bind and divide. 

 
 
 

One of the strongest voices of her generation, Sarah Harmer infuses social justice into all of her music, from her environmental passion to human rights. 

 
 

The Jerry Cans hail from Nunavut and strive to bring the power of the North wherever they go, infusing traditional Inuit music and themes with a contemporary feel. 

 
 
 

One of the founding members of A Tribe Called Red, DJ Shub is brilliant in his solo work. He actively challenges the white Eurocentrism of the Canadian identity and tirelessly works for the Indigenous community.

 
 
 

Up-and-comer NEFE challenges the harmful socializations surrounding gender, sexuality, and race for today's internet generation.

 
 

William Prince is an award-winning performer from the Peguis First Nation. He will forever change your appreciation of music. He has the kind of voice that only comes around once in a generation and it will move you to tears.

 
 
 

Lindy Vopnfjörd uses his gifts as a storyteller to share true stories of resistance from around the world, such as escaping political dissidents in Korea and imprisoned activists in India. 

 
 
 

Denice Frohman is an award-winning poet who has performed across the world, including for President Obama. She uses her platform to challenge race, gender, and sexuality. 

 
 

This hiphop crew, MissingLinX has roots all over the world and they use energetic beats to explores topics of freedom, justice, redemption and love.

 
 
 

Yes is a queer feminist and migrant based in Toronto. She believes in the destruction of the heteropatriarchy, borders, and the police state, which can be seen throughout her work.

 
 
 

The children of Mexican immigrants, Las Cafeteras  optimistically challenge ideas of nationalism, race, and borders in today's globalized world

Routes/Roots: Maps & Resistance

July 13, 2017

Maps wield a significant amount of power. They construct our very lives, tell us where to go, how to get there, and determine our engagement with our surroundings. Maps construct what you care about as they structure the communities we live in, the people we interact with. There are layers within maps, they are an archive of our past, and we can trace the evolution of our communities like the rings in a tree, as line were drawn, redrawn, added, altered. Read on to explore how maps have a power to control, to destroy, but also to liberate.

On this, National Aboriginal Day...

June 21, 2017

Did you know that today is a Statutory Holiday in both the Northwest Territories (since 2001) and in the Yukon (as of May 2017). That leaves ten provinces and a territory, not to mention the federal goverment, which have not made it a holiday. What are you doing today? Chances are that you are going to work and you're not going to think much more about it past this newsletter. Which is kind of the problem isn't it?

Workshop Sneak Peek!

May 27, 2017

This weekend we're going to give you a little peak into the workshops being offered at this year's festival. There are more than fifty workshops, dance classes, drumming circles, discussi...

Reasons to See: NEFE

May 23, 2017

Reasons to See is a feature where we highlight a different Hillside act and tell you why you should come see them. NEFE gets her namesake from Queen Nefertiti of Egypt, a woman who dared to defy ...

Waterstock! June 11, 2017

May 17, 2017

After 10 years of diligent work to protect source water in Ontario, Waterstock is the rallying point to send a strong message to Premier Wynne to protect our water against corporate control ...

I ♥ Beer Festival

April 28, 2017

Come join us this Saturday afternoon, 3-10 PM, for the I ♥ Beer Festival taking place at the Sleeman Center in downtown Guelph. Hillside will be there giving you an exclusive sneak pe...

Member in Focus : Rachel Tomlinson

April 28, 2017

  Hillside Festival: What drew you to Hillside in the first place?  Rachel Tomlinson: My parents started taking me to Hillside as a little one and I have so many great memories of runn...

Monica Lalas on her 2017 Artwork!

April 20, 2017

Every year we send out a call for artists to submit ideas for our summer festival artwork. This year we were delighted by Monica Lalas's submission of a beautiful green and blue dragon, but we wer...

2017 Guelph Fab Five

March 20, 2017

Guelph Ontario, a city of vibrant culture, is home to five cutting-edge arts festivals. Be sure to check them out throughout 2017: Guelph Dance Festival - June 1-4 Hillside Festival - July ...

Q&A: Le Trouble

February 8, 2017

Montreal-based five-piece Le Trouble is made up of twenty percent jamming and eighty percent hanging out. They're  five introverts who just happen to love making well-crafted pop mu...

Q&A: Murder Murder

February 8, 2017

Northern Ontario’s Murder Murder are a six-piece string band with suitcase percussion who create a unique blend of bluegrass and outlaw country. Their virtuosic musicianship and evocat...

Terra Lightfoot joins BROS bill!

February 8, 2017

Hey hey, we still have some tricks up our sleeves.  We're pleased to announce that Hamilton guitar-slinger Terra Lightfoot has just been added as an opener for the BROS show...

Q + A with Steve Poltz

February 1, 2017

One of our all-time favourites, Steve Poltz has made a huge impression on Hillside audiences. He's a little bit wild and a little bit sweet and one of the most accomplished contemporary ...

#HillsideHoliday!

December 9, 2016

We love talking about and implementing Green Initiatives, not just at Hillside, but also in our everyday lives, year-round. Show us the sustainable ways you're celebrating this festive month and y...

We're a Registered Charity Now

December 7, 2016

We’re proud to officially announce Hillside Community Festival became a registered charity this year. We are graciously asking friends of the festival to Help Hillside Flourish this holiday seas...

Our Annual 2016 Holiday Sale!

December 7, 2016

Our annual Holiday Sale is underway! We've got 2017 weekend passes on sale right now at a very special price of $125, but only until January 2nd. These weekend passes are over 15% off the fin...

Rent Our Community Space

December 6, 2016

The Community Room in our office, located at 341 Woolwich Street in Guelph, is now available to rent. With your rental fee, you have access to:  Our accessible main floor  An accessi...

End Violence Against Women and Children

December 2, 2016

Give voice and honour to the women who lost their lived in Montreal on December 6th, 2989. Remember and reflect upon the lost lives of woman and children as a result of violence. The prevention of vio...

2016 Guelph Film Festival

October 17, 2016

The Guelph Film Festival is running November 3-6, 2016 and Hillside Festival is co-presenting Spirit Unforgettable on Friday, November 4th at 7pm at the Guelph Youth Music Centre. Producer, ...

2016 Annual General Meeting Notice

October 12, 2016

All Hillside members are invited to our Annual General Meeting, Wednesday, November 23rd at the Hillside Festival office, 341 Woolwich St. Start off the evening with a little drumming at ...

Holy, Holy F**k

July 21, 2016

Holy F*ck! They’re back. After lying dormant for six years, the band Holy F*ck has released a new album titled Congrats.  They first exploded on the scene after the release of their 2005 d...

PUP and the Dark

July 15, 2016

“The dream is over.” Four words that no singer wants to hear when seeking medical attention for damaged vocal chords. This was the unfortunate reality for the band PUP when lead vocalist S...

[email protected] Call For Entry - HAPPY HILLSIDE

June 21, 2016

HAPPY HILLSIDE! A Visual Celebration of Guelph’s favourite Festival of Music and Community. [email protected] and the Hillside Festival executive present a History Mix of over 20 y...

Sending Love to our LGBTQ community

June 13, 2016

We are sending love to our LGBTQ community and the people of Orlando, Florida, who are suffering such sorrow and pain—we are sending abundant love of difference, love of spirit, love of imaginat...

The Milk Carton Kids turn heads

June 10, 2016

The two voices of The Milk Carton Kids in perfect close harmony fade into the background like a ghost, as the final hand-picked notes of a folk song ring out from vintage acoustic guitars. Even throug...

Taking the Hillside Bus

June 10, 2016

Hillside provides free shuttle bus service for patrons and volunteers. The bus leaves downtown Guelph from St. George’s Square on Quebec St. at Wyndham. If you have your Hillside ticket ...

Sneak peek at our 2016 schedule

June 10, 2016

Here is a peek at the scheduled days/primary sets for the following artists as the schedule takes shape: FRIDAY Youth Showcase Andy Shauf Ought PUP Son Little The Milk Carton Kids...

Hillside Receives Three Awards for 2014!

July 22, 2014

We were lucky enough to receive a Festival of Distinction award from Festivals and Events Ontario this year. It was an award given to “a select group of 23 Ontario festivals,” including Lu...