The Now & Then project builds on an extensive library of archival video and audio footage from our festival that includes multiple camera angles and high-resolution recording. We have seldom used this footage because our focus is on live events where the press of bodies and the enchantment of the performer is exhilarating in the present. A live performance is a memory stored in the body but not revisited on film because we keep our sights trained on the next festival when we will have an even better experience. But, we do have at least 15 years of high-quality footage, and 37 years of showcasing brilliant artists, quirky personalities, and wild improvisational sets between performers from different cultures, traditions and generations. And the pandemic has given us a compelling reason to revisit our film archives. For our 2020 summer festival, Hillside Homeside, we selected some of the more epic or remarkable footage from the past and then interviewed the artists in question about their view of their past performances and how their careers or lives have since changed. Many of these performances were beloved “Hillside moments” for our audience members: Owen Pallett’s 2009 rainstorm performance; Leonard Sumner’s 2017 standing-ovation performances; the Skydiggers’ performances with Paul Langlois and their tribute to Gord Downie; and Stuart McLean’s memorable 2008 performance. For the latter, we interviewed Jess Milton, Stuart’s producer, and Danny Michel, who was one of the artists Stuart McLean showcased on his tours.
For Hillside Inside, we interviewed DakhaBrakha, the world-music quartet from Kyiv, Ukraine known for their theatrical “ethnic chaos,” their contemporary rhythms woven with Ukrainian folklore, and their startlingly tall hats. With them, we reviewed their performances at St. George’s Church in the winter of 2016 as well as their summer festival performance in 2015. DakhaBrakha will also perform a brand-new set for Hillside Inside, which we will showcase here. We hope this Now & Then project grounds you in sweet memories of past festivals and gives you hope as we move into the uncertain future.
Click on DakhaBrakha below to find out more about the artists and to view the video during the Hillside Inside weekend.