Now & Then: Marmalade Skies

Marmalade Skies (ft. Royal Canoe & Hey Rosetta!)  Lake Stage, July 27, 2014

A Sunday morning workshop can be unpredictable for a lot of reasons, but when we asked these two stellar Canadian bands to perform together under the session titled “Marmalade Skies,” we were not sure what to expect.  In fact, Winnipeg’s Royal Canoe and St. John’s Hey Rosetta! actually met for the first time when they assembled for their 2014 Hillside workshop.  We were half thinking that the Marmalade Skies title could be quite appropriate for the sweeping sunset-coloured skies we get out at Guelph Lake in July.  We didn’t direct the bands to play Beatles songs, only to interpret the title as they saw fit.  As it turned out, the reference to “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was vaguely appropriate for their plans that day, all of which were hashed out over a few emails and a phone call between respective team leaders, Matt Peters and Tim Baker. The plan: take on a classic album side together without one rehearsal. And in the end? One of the most crowd-pleasing displays of musicianship in Hillside history. Peters and Baker recall that majestic day.

About Now & Then
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us to fulfill our mission and to stay relevant at a time when our raison d’être, to present live arts events to our community, has been nullified.  When we couldn’t showcase artists in person, we turned to  an extensive library of archival video and audio footage from our festival that includes multiple camera angles and high-resolution recording.  We have never used this footage because our focus is always on the future—the next artist we will showcase live, the next workshop that will blow people away.  And though we don’t think of ourselves as hoarders, we do have at least 15 years of high-quality footage that we keep and rarely touch.  So, for this special project series, we have asked some of the artists whose performances were beloved by our audience, unusual in some way, even epic, to sit with us to talk about their Hillside experience, their music, the sets we recorded in the past, and the paths they have followed since in their careers.  This interview will be interwoven with the archival footage in such a way that they comment, both directly and indirectly, on each other.  Some artists we interview will perform a couple of songs for us in the here and now, which will round out the documentary about them.  It is our hope that each facet of this documentary exploration teases out the individuality of the artist and prompts us all to reflect on the trajectories of creative lives and the inspirational role festivals play in showcasing brilliant artists, quirky personalities, and wild improvisational sets between performers from different cultures, traditions and generations.  We also hope this Now & Then project grounds you in sweet memories of past festivals and gives you hope as we move into the uncertain future.

Scroll to Top