Feeling Festive

by Natalie P.

September 9, 2007 | Filed Under Lifestyles of the Heartlessly Bitchy, Music, Popculture | 1 Comment

This weekend I’m attending VirginFest, and no, it’s not some pagan festival for the deflowering of gorgeous young nubile virgins (*sigh*). It’s Virgin Mobile’s 2-day music festival on Toronto’s Center Island. 

We just finished day 1, and while the music has been great, I have to admit that I am spoiled by the Ottawa Bluesfest. This is year 2 for Virginfest and they still haven’t worked out the kinks. For example, at Bluesfest I can buy a beer or a cooler or a decent glass of wine and take it back to where we are sitting and enjoy my drink and the music at the same time. At VirginFest, there are designated ‘Beer Gardens’ which will not allow you to enter with anything bigger than a small purse – all bags must be “checked”.  So you’d think the organizers would actually have prepared for this, but you’d be wrong. The poor “bag check” people were writing numbers on paper and tearing it in pieces to hand to those of us who had to check a bag.  Outside the b-live lounge it wasn’t even that organized. They had an area where you could leave a bag while you went inside for a drink. There was no mechanism and no assurances that your bag would be there when you got back.  

After all that, we found out that the only beverages in the beer garden were Bud and Bud Light. Yech!  Then, as if  the lousy beer and lack of planning for bag check wasn’t bad enough, the beer garden for the main “Virgin” stage was next to, and pretty much behind the stage. Unless you were at one small corner of the very large beer garden, you couldn’t see the bands play and couldn’t really hear them either.

I was also disappointed at the miniscule size of the screens on the main stage. You’d think a company like Virgin Mobile could spring for decent sized screens – again, I’m spoiled by Bluesfest – the screens are double the size of the ones at VirginFest.

My other major complaint is the requirement to have to purchase “tickets” for most food and all beverages.  I can understand the reasons for taking this approach, but then fer chrissakes STAFF the ticket selling booths adequately. The lineups were often obscene.

At the Ottawa Bluesfest, you just walk up and buy your beer (or wine) directly from the beverage tent. You walk up and buy your food directly from the vendor (and there was way more selection). Yes, sometimes there are lines, but not like the hour-long lineups to get “tickets” at VirginFest.

Organizational fiascos aside, there were some good aspects to the festival, like the Bacardi B-Live Lounge – the drinks were fabulous and the same price as the crappy beer.  I’ll take a Mojito over a Bud Light ANY day.  The music and club atmosphere was fun too.

And as I said earlier the bands we went to see were great.  Arctic Monkeys, MIA, Bjork and Interpol were all fabulous, but the real treat was Mute Math. They put on the best show! It’s just too cool when a rock band uses a Stand-up Bass!  The lead singer (Paul Meany) was over-the-top energetic, and Darren King’s drum theatrics were nothing short of amazing. The bf thinks that Meany looks like Mr. Bean but I think he’s kinda cute – then again, I like the geeky look.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow because I really want to see Stars, Metric and the Killers. Unfortunately I’d also like to see Dirty Vegas but they are up against the Killers so it’s going to be tough. What will be tougher is trying to work the next day when I have to drive home (4 hours) after the concert ends at 11pm…

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1 comment so far
  1. Maddy (miasbo) September 14, 2007 9:28 pm

    Ah! I so wanted to go to Virginfest, but it didn’t fit my budget/schedule. The lineup for the Stars, Metric, the Killers and the Smashing Pumpkins must’ve been amazing!


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