Series: Edenfest 1996 – Introduction
Inspired by my recent search for the Spirit Of The West concert information from 1996, and my discovery of the full lists of performers at the Edenfest festival on Wikipedia, my brain has started coughing up occasional memories of attending that show. So, lucky you, I’m offering up a short series of my memories of that weekend. Cool?
Let’s GIVE ‘ER!
Edenfest was a three-day festival held out at Mosport Park, in the Bowmanville area, in July of 1996. According to Wiki, 70,000 tickets were sold for the weekend, with another 20,000 just walking in after outside security failed. Sounds kind of like Woodstock, in that way, yeah? That’s about where the similarities end, though.
Wiki also says this was one of the first major concerts to be streamed live over the internet. If anyone has an .mp3 of this, I would LOVE to have it! Let me know, in the comments. This was also, apparently, the largest rock festival held in Canada to date. Cool!
The promoter of the event intended this to be the first of ten years of the show, but several things out of his control, like the security failure (amongst other things, more on those later in the series) bankrupted him and this turned out to be a single event.
I was given tickets as an early birthday gift from my (then) girlfriend and my good buddy Brian. My (then) girlfriend did not attend. It was not her music – she liked the new country. Brian’s friend Janet did the driving, in a pick up truck that probably shouldn’t have been taken short blocks from home, let alone the hours east to Mosport. Definitely a wing and a prayer, but the three of us (myself, Brian and Janet) arrived alive. The truck had a name, but I cannot recall it now. Shame, that.
We’d brought one big tent with two rooms, me on one side, the others next door. With the provisions I’d procurred for the weekend, I’d bought a huge jug of water, the kind with a spigot and which is so big you can barely lift it. My reasoning was that water inside the venue would be expensive, and I was right. It was totally worth carrying that heavy bastard into the camp site from the truck. On top of his contributions to the food we carried in, Brian brought the largest bag of shelled peanuts I have ever seen, before or since. And good thing, too – those things probably kept us alive. None of us drank alcohol then, so we didn’t need to worry about the booze limits.
We got to the gates early, which was great for not having to wait long in line, as well as for good parking and getting a campsite on top of the hill. If it rained, a tent on the slope or at the bottom was, of course, not optimal. And as you’ll learn later, there were other reasons it was wise that our tent was out of the way. But more on that later.
Set-up took almost no time at all and we were free to wander the grounds. There was a village set up, all sorts of the vendors you’d expect there, for food, water, concert t-shirts, hemp products, you know the deal. There was also a label tent set up, selling CDs. I bought the Bush X Sixteen Stone CD, as that copy came with a second disc containing extra songs. I have no idea where that edition is now, and my current copy is the single disc version, so apparently I either ditched or lost it at some point. But the real draw was the inclusion of a free compilation of festival bands with any CD purchase, called Campsongs. I’ll be reviewing that CD in this series too.
It was super-hot. The main stage was at one end of a huge bowl of land (the second stage at the other), and the ground between was mostly dust. There were few trees for shade. Any grass clinging to tenuous life would not survive the weekend.
I was quite excited about the whole thing, as is my wont. I love going to live shows, and I had never been to such a festival before. I greatly anticipated immersing myself into the music for three solid days, especially for Sloan and the Tragically Hip (the latter I had not seen before). Brian and Janet felt the same. It was gonna be good times.
Tomorrow: Day One!