Pat Blythe – Bestival, Patios, a Book and a Celebration….


Tuesdays are my “writing days” but as hard as I try I am easily distracted (squirrel!!). Today is apparently no different. As I complete my morning troll through FB, I discover all sorts of interesting (and not so interesting, in fact quite wasteful) trivia….but every once in awhile, a gem emerges….like this. Haunting yet peaceful, I’m so glad my friend Donna shared one of these videos on FB.

Native Americans Photo Music

One YouTube comment I noticed…. As beautiful as the music may be, it saddens me to see people having to sell their culture in stereotypical bits to tourists.” That’s one person’s perspective. However, I like to think whomever is performing the music is also educating those around them, introducing audiences to beautiful music, any way it is performed or recorded. We can’t go back, we can only go forward. Music is meant to be shared across all cultures and knows no boundaries.

So now it’s Wednesday morning……..

Black to Gold – Dear Rouge

Roaming around our fair Music City, I attended the Festival d’été de Quebec hosting a promo party at the Horseshoe Tavern June 9. The band, Dear Rouge, had taken over the patio and performed a surprise pop-up, 25-minute set, under glorious sunny skies. I’ve only just seen their videos have been fascinated by this group for some time. It was a pleasure to catch them live however briefly. The drummer just snapped. I nipped into the backroom to say hello to Jeff Woods who was signing his copies of his new book, Radio, Records and Rockstars. Woods, former host of the hit radio show The Legends of Classic Rock, has written a behind-the-scenes accounting of his first 30 years in rock ‘n’ roll. Currently living in Canmore, B.C. Woods is coming back “home” to Toronto later this summer. “A great place to write a book but Toronto is where the action is”. Later that evening was a Q&A with Rick Derringer but by that time I moved on to another location. It really was much to lovely outside to remain indoors.


Jeff Woods

Increase the Peace – The Bestival Festival


The weekend has arrived and Bestival is here. Five minutes from my doorstep (no porta potties for me). Located in Woodbine Park near the lake, this is the first time Bestival has come to the east end of Toronto and the only the second time in Toronto. Saturday was brutal weather wise. Hot, hot, hot and the EDM tent was huge and stifling with nary a breeze. However, people were dancing around enjoying the music and the giant screen was pulsating with a kaleidoscope of pictures. I’ve always called it “thumpa thumpa music” as the bass and the beat drive it home. It certainly gets your toes tapping. Thank you wind gods for the air movement outside.

This year’s “theme” was Increase The Peace and everywhere were reminders of the Summer of Love. Peace signs and flowers (The Cosmic Commune), the artwork, costumed greeters, giant mushrooms acting as protective (from the sun) tents. The entire park was laid out with fun, food and love. Kudos to the designers and organizers. The festival was well co-ordinated, well designed, well thought out, considerate (they turned the park’s stage into a shaded, put-your-feet-up area with ample seating, refreshments and nibbles), provided loads of food choices and, it was easy to navigate the grounds.

Background time…..

c8wHHTLyBestival is the creative vision of Rob da Bank and his wife, Josie (she’s the creative). Starting as a weekly Sunday night gig in 1995, da Bank hosted a BBC Radio 1 show called Sunday Best. Two years later it morphed into a music label  producing artists such as Dub Pistols, New Order and David Lynch. Eventually, in 2004, Bestival was launched on the Isle of Wight, “a long-held dream to create the perfect modern day festival” ….and so it began. Now celebrating 12 years of music, culture, food and general good will… Bestival headed to North America for the first time in 2015, its eye on Toronto. Held on our Islands, Florence and the Machine along with Nas were the headliners. For 2016, Woodbine Park was the destination. Eclectic music, boutiques, Bollywood Cocktail Bar, costume parties, the inflatable church (where actual marriage ceremonies can be performed) yarn bombing, circus troupes and so much more. “It’s this uniqueness that makes Bestival a wondrous world of discovery and adventure that will inspire peace, love and dancing all year round.”

I will add this from Wikipedia, “The initial Bestival attracted 10,000 people, growing to 55,000 in 2010. Bestival won ‘Best Major Festival’ at the 2015 UK Festival Awards, having won ‘Best Medium-Sized Festival’ in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009, ‘Best Major Festival in 2010 and 2012,” and a number of other awards. In addition to its strong support of the arts, Bestival is also socially conscious, supporting both social and environmental causes including recycling and waste management, monitoring power usage, youth organizations and various charities. Bestival is also a founding member of the Greener Festival Alliance.

….and now for a few Bestival pics

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Dance like nobody’s watching…..

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The STAGE… was fricking HUGE….. and sounded amazing!

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The decorations, weird, wonderful, fun…

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Self explanatory….

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The Silver Elvis

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A few performances….I missed The Cure (for a very good reason as you’ll find out)

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Jeff Burke performing on the bassoon

….and on the big stage

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Hoping Bestival is back next year. Wouldn’t want to miss it.

Saturday evening was spent with the Yeah Yeah Yeah band at their annual summer party. Always a huge dance event, revelers boogie the night away to a evening full of Beatles’ songs. The foundation of the ONES show, the band played to two sold-out shows in Keswick and Cobourg, even getting the Cobourg audience out of their seats during the encore (which, according to a close friend, they NEVER do). Working on other projects during the summer, the 11-piece ONES show picks up steam in the fall with several more performances. To find out more go to Producer Frank Zirone is continually perfecting all the small details and nuances of The Beatles song and Jain McMillian is always discovering more information and pics to pop into her A/V show.

ONES Sizzle Reel — ONES with the Yeah Yeah Yeah Band

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Frank Zirone playing the harmonica

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L-R – David Love and Kevin Ralston

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Bruce Nasmith

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L-R Bruce Nasmith, Frank Zirone, David Love

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L-R – Kevin Ralson, David Love, Frank Russell (on drums), Frank Zirone, Bruce Nasmith

Now, for the celebration….

I was invited to the Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA) awards by friend and business associate Sandy Graham. The gala event was held this past Monday at the Berkeley Church in Toronto. For those of you who are not familiar, CIMA, the Canadian association was created to advocate on behalf of the Canadian independent music industry. According to their website, “Canadian Independent music, created and produced right here in Canada, is an important national asset, and like our natural resource based industries, requires investment and support in order to thrive”. I had a chance to meet up again with Al Mair and Tom Williams of Attic Records. It was a pleasure to see you both and congrats on your award Al. Well deserved (even if you didn’t hire me back in 1979). Neil Dixon was also an award recipient and it was nice to see him and chat with him away from CMW. Much more Bottlesrelaxing. Your leadership at the helm of CMW has not given us one of North America’s greatest music events, but provided thousands of opportunities for the many Indie bands to strut their stuff on the hundreds of stages across Toronto and the GTA. It was a thrill to listen to Rik Emmett. You sir have not lost it, not one iota. Fantastic performance. Donnie “Mr. Downchild” Walsh on harp blew the socks off the audience. I am so very glad I had the opportunity to hear him once again. Congratulations to everyone, on off the stage. The show was beautifully timed, on time and sequences segued smoothly. The food was deelish (I managed to avoid dessert) and I loved the way the alcoholic beverages were “labeled”.


Here’s a list of the award recipients….

Builder Award: Al Mair (Attic Records)

Brian Chater Leadership Award: Neill Dixon (Canadian Music Week)

Entrepreneur Award: Joel Carriere (Dine Alone Records & Bedlam Music Management)

Unsung Hero Award: Richard Flohil (Richard Flohil & Associates)

Marketing Award: Coalition Music for USS’s Advanced Basics

…..and the evening’s performers

Rik Emmett

Donnie “Mr. Downchild” Walsh

Shakura S’Aida

The Sheepdogs

Jessica Mitchell

…..and a few pics (but of course)

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Rik Emmett

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Neil Dixon

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Richard Flohil

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The Sheepdogs accepting their award

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…..and performing

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L-R – Tom Williams, Sandy Graham, Al Mair

Finally, what prevented me from seeing The Cure at Bestival, this man at Taste of Colombia El Salon on Sunday night. A fantastic performance as always.

IMG_6855 (3)Julian Taylor


All photos by Pat Blythe, A Girl With A Camera “The Picture Taker”


Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

Contact us at:

dbawis-buttonIn “real” life Pat Blythe has spent the past 32 years as a consultant and design specialist in the telecommunications industry. After an extended absence Pat is now heading back to the GTA clubs, immersing herself in the local music scene, tasting what’s on offer, talking to people and writing once again — sharing her passions and her deep love of music. Together for 34 years, Pat also workedpblythealongside her late husband Christopher Blythe, The PictureTaker©, who shot much  of the local talent (think Goddo, Frank Soda and the Imps, Plateau, Buzzsaw, Hellfield….) as well as national and international acts,  Currently making her way through 40 years of Chris’s archives, Pat is currently compiling a photographic history of the local GTA music scene from 1975 to 1985. It continues to be a work in progress. Oh…..and she LOVES to dance!

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