In case you haven’t heard, this weekend will be the inaugural launch of WayHome, a three-day music and arts festival set in 500 acres of Oro-Medonte farmland. It’s Ontario’s answer to Bonnaroo and features musical headliners such as Neil Young, Kendrick Lamar and St. Vincent. The festival will feature four stages, 15 visual artists, 72 bands and 30,000 attendees.
The word is that this isn’t your average musical festival, but instead a genuine experience that merges music and art more ambitiously and more successfully than other festivals of the same nature. While it’s easy to remain skeptical (as with every new festival, comes the promise of some defining feature that remains to be seen), the engagement with the Canadian, and specifically Toronto art scene is intriguing.
To curate the show, WayHome enlisted Toronto painter Charlie Bierk. He’s commissioned an impressive roster of artists to make work that will complement the festival atmosphere.
“I wasn’t trying to break the music festival mould,” said Bierk. “I needed to make sure we would have big bold installations and trippy colourful spectacles, but I wanted them to come from studio artists, not production companies.”
These artists and their subsequent works have been carefully curated to cater to the infamous musical festival audience, i.e. to engage with light, sound and environment in order to create a space that excites and creates awe. This is a transition for most of these artists who create work primarily for a gallery setting. As Bierk points out, “Most importantly, everything is approachable and in many cases, draws you in. The sometimes intimidating feeling of walking into a gallery is gone. There is less to ‘get’ and more to experience.”
Every artist on this outstanding, if not a little overwhelming, list is guaranteed to produce something remarkable to entertain the wide-eyed (and likely intoxicated) crowd. Here’s a quick overview of some our favourite featured artists:
Camille Jodoin-Eng is known for her precisely crafted sculptures that utilize light, mirrors and shapes to create small portals into infinity.
Phillippe Blanchard is known for cultivating sensory experiences through constructed environments that use sound, light and pattern. Utilizing geometric shapes installed like stalagmites and stalactites, he cultivates environments with various patterns onto the surfaces and uses flashing RGB lights to create the effect of real-time gif’s set to trippy electronic music.
Aaron Li-Hill is a painter/installation artist whose work focuses on depicting movement.
Trevor Wheatley creates large scale physical text to spell out truisms on various landscapes will be teaming together their mutual fondness for scrap wood to comment on contemporary forms of communication.
Nathan Whitford‘s large-scale installations utilize sound, light and landscape to create all encompassing ethereal experiences. He’ll be adapting his acclaimed piece 125 Steps for WayHome.
VSVSVS is an eclectic collective of seven artists who work together to, among other things, build funhouse type environments to explore, full of multiple levels and bizarre rooms.
Team Blockhead was the winner of the OCADU X WayHome contest. They will be constructing bendable giant block figures that the crowd can play with and on.
Alex McLeod is known for his motion graphics, rendering and rapid prototyping works.