Hillside mourns the passing of a loyal, longtime volunteer and treasured member of the Guelph musical community. Nick Taylor, fondly known as “Nicky Dread,” contributed widely and valuably to the festival as a member of the board of directors in the early 2000’s, as an MC, and as our beloved MC coordinator for so many years. In that role, many of us got to know Nick as an organized and funny person who spoke eloquently from his heart and from his encyclopedic brain when he took the mic to the stage. A formidable DJ and radio host at CFRU with his legendary reggae show, “The Crooked Beat,” Nick was an OG – he set a standard for being fully immersed in the art, science, and heart of reggae music and he taught us all so much.

Nick loved all kinds of music and live performance and often waxed philosophic about its power. He also collected LOTS of records!
One of our fondest memories is of Nick’s annual reaction to our line-up announcements, particularly how he would act like a kid in a candy store, poring over the festival schedule with his pen, frowning and smiling at the same time, as he carefully circled what he would introduce and what the other MCs would introduce. He also did this quiet two-step reggae dance backstage that seemed like his way of idling.

Nick’s beautiful smile, which made his eyes go all crinkly, always communicated his love for the festival, the audience, the performers, and the volunteers at Hillside. We will miss him dearly this July as we return to the Island without him; but we know that Nicky Dread will always be there backstage and on the stage, helping to keep us rock-steady forever.
We send our love and condolences to Karin, Nick’s family and friends.


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