This past weekend was an exciting one if you spent it dividing your time between Pride and NXNE.
The new outdoor venue for NXNE this year was in the Toronto Port Lands, near Commissioners St. and Cherry St. Normally NXNE shows are in various bars and venues across the city, so it was a bold move to transition to a solo venue.
Photos by Heather McNiece
It was the best thing they could have done. Not only does it allow you to see more bands, but you are immersed in the experience. This year’s NXNE had a real festival vibe–the kind that gives you a contact high just being there. Featuring a few midway rides like a ferris wheel, food trucks and giving away free water (OMG not $3)! Not only that, you could pretty much walk around smoking whatever–with drink in hand–and no one cared.
What was shocking about this year’s festival was the lack of attendance and the disappointed faces that were there. Typically Torontonians are hard to impress and it wasn’t until sundown until people started loosening up and dancing.
As for me, I had the best time EVER and danced my ass off to some really great music by River Tiber, Yukon Blonde, Talib Kweli and Passion Pit. I thought it was the best party that no one came to!
It was nice that there were no lines for the bar and you had room to stretch out and dance. But why didn’t anyone come?
NXNE used to be great, I saw The National at Dundas Square back when I was really into them–but the last few years have been much quieter. Cutbacks to the festival budget is likely a factor; drawing less big acts headlining this year. A move to the east-end is another likely factor. I think some west-enders think they will melt if they go east of Yonge St. Sharing the dates with Pride weekend can be a tough sell as well.
But kudos to you NXNE for actually doing something cool, let’s hope you bring bigger names next year and the crowds will come.