Warm Greetings from Hillside!


This festival is dedicated to Michael Brighton and Vicki Fraser

“When I hear music I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest
times, and to the latest.” ― Henry David Thoreau

Welcome to our 40th festival. If this is your first time at Hillside, you’re in for a treat. If you are a committed Hillsider, thank you for your support over the years. Our vision and mission haven’t changed over the last four decades: we’re still in love with creativity, music, the earth, and the beauty that a collective of people can create. This year, we are accenting one of our core values, peacemaking, hoping to start conversations about peace as an active, not passive state, that requires us to square ourselves to conflict and to commit to finding non-violent ways to respond. At this year’s festival, we are showcasing several artists whose lives have been immeasurably affected by war—DakhaBrakha and Balaklava Blues from Ukraine, for instance, and Emmanuel Jal from Sudan. As you will see and hear, their art cannot help but be a response to the brutality of cultural supremacy and clashes over control. As so many artists at this year’s festival have intimated, the problem of peacebuilding is not conflict, but violence; and the iceberg underneath conflict is the structural violence of laws, traditions, and invisible power relations, which house the cultural violence of prejudices and discrimination that get transformed into rules, habits, and traditions. Against the tide that tells us war is “inevitable,” we assert the power of music and art to legislate a humanity that softens us, strengthens us, and recommits us to life-affirming values. As Jimi Hendrix reminds us, “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”

We extend a warm gesture of welcome to all of the recently-arrived Ukrainians at the festival this weekend. Happy Hillside, everyone. Here’s to another 40 years of collective joy.

Happy Hillside!
The Board, Staff, Volunteers, and Committee members of Hillside

As MPP for Guelph, I would like to welcome everyone to the 2023 Hillside Festival! This is a very special event every year for our community, especially this year since Hillside celebrates its 40th anniversary! I would also like to congratulate the festival for being awarded the Festival of the Year for Green Operations from Canadian Music Week as well as 13 provincial awards for greening, 1 local GRCA award, and 1 international award for greening and environmental stewardship. Hillside is one of the highlights of my summer. I love volunteering at Hillside and enjoy the fantastic performances, community spirit, and commitment to environmental sustainability. Hillside exemplifies the spirit of our community. I want to thank the staff, board members, and many volunteers who are dedicated to making Hillside a place to come together to share in music, community, and friendship. Hillside has given opportunities to many artists and has inspired creativity within our city and beyond. I hope that everyone enjoys this year’s event. Have fun and be safe!
Happy Hillside!


MPP Mike Schriener

On behalf of the Council of the Township of Guelph/Eramosa, it is my absolute pleasure to welcome everyone back to the Hillside Festival on beautiful Guelph Lake Island. While attending this weekend’s events, be sure to participate in the Sunday night festivities to
celebrate the festival’s 40th anniversary; they will feature a song that Hillside students wrote over the winter in two online courses: the first was Collective Songwriting with Katherine Wheatley; the second was Harmonizing with Jane Lewis. This song will be performed on the Main Stage with accompaniment from the Guelph Symphony Orchestra! We would also like to take this opportunity to extend our congratulations to the Hillside Festival on being the receipt of the national award for Festival of the Year for Green Operations from
Canadian Music Week. This award now accompanies the festival’s 13 provincial awards for greening, 1 local GRCA Award, and 1 international award for greening and environmental stewardship. We are extremely proud of Hillside’s continued contributions
within our municipality to music programming, accessibility, the environment, and volunteerism. This year, the festival will also be celebrating Peace-building, a feature of their vision and mission at Hillside. The aim is to include everyone in a conversation about how you can take action every day to build peace. They will be featuring DakhaBrakha from Ukraine, Balaklava Blues from Ukraine/Toronto, and Emmanuel Jal (Sudan/Toronto) at this year’s festival. Bringing people together to experience the collective joy of being transported beyond yourself and lifted by art and kind people is what Hillside is all about. Over the years, Hillside Festival has provided us with an incredible opportunity to celebrate music and artistic expression, while supporting an event that promotes environmental
leadership, accessibility, and cutting-edge arts. The success of this event can be attributed to its many dedicated organizers and over 1,300 volunteers. Thank you to everyone who works tirelessly to provide amazing entertainers, attractions, and a safe family-friendly experience each year! We wish to welcome musicians and music lovers alike to our wonderful community. Whether
you are getting lost in the music at Hillside, visiting a country market, or taking a hike through our scenic parks, Guelph/Eramosa is the place to be! If you’re here for the whole festival, or just joining us for a day – we hope you have a fabulous experience and that you come back to visit us again soon!

Yours truly,

Chris White
Mayor, Township of Guelph/Eramosa

Dear Hillside attendees,
On behalf of the Government of Canada, I wish you a warm welcome to the 2023 Hillside Festival! As Guelphites, we take great pride in our strong connection to the arts and this incredible annual weekend festival that celebrates amazing Canadian and international talent.
Over the festival weekend, immerse yourself in the rich conversations around peacebuilding, performances, and the joy that music brings as you share in the extraordinary and diverse Hillside experience. Each year, I look forward to this weekend at Hillside as a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the best of our musical community and so much more. As a community that prides itself on our sustainability, it is wonderful to see that Hillside Festival has been acknowledged as the Festival of the Year for Green Operations by the Canadian
Music Week. From pedal power and bike partnerships to solar power and trash turnarounds, the remarkable team behind Hillside Festival are truly leaders in green initiatives. Thank you for encouraging and setting an example for our country in how to protect and respect the
environment. My sincere thanks to the organizers who have emphasized the importance of meaningful reconciliation, equality, diversity, and inclusiveness. Music and the arts have such a unique role to play in our lives and I encourage you to enjoy the best of Hillside as they celebrate their 40th year. Congratulations!


Lloyd Longfield
Member of Parliament – Guelph

Welcome back Hillsiders!

This year, the Hillside Festival is celebrating the 40th anniversary of musical festivities, including world-class music, spoken word artists, workshops, and more. Music and the arts enrich our hearts and minds and help create a sense of community. This year’s festival theme, Peace-building, aims to include everyone in a conversation about how we can take action every day to build peace. To that end, Hillside is featuring artists from Ukraine and Sudan, who personally suffered through war. Bringing people together to experience the collective joy of being uplifted by music, art, and kind people is what Hillside is all about. Thanks to everyone who make this amazing festival possible, including the Hillside board, staff, and legions of volunteers. Thank you and welcome to the talented performers who will be gracing Hillside’s multiple stages. Last but not least, thank you to festival-goers for your support of live music. I hope you all enjoy the incredible lineup of musical performers and the amazing community vibe that is distinctly Hillside.


Cam Guthrie

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