Series: Edenfest – Day Three

Edenfest Day Three
Sunday, 1996-07-14
Mosport Park

This is the day things fell off the rails. We were all tired, hot, dirty, and many people were likely hung over. Besides, how could any day compete after the hugeness of Day Two, with Live and the Hip (and Skydiggers and Buzzcocks, though I’ll never know) and all the other great bands taking us out on such a huge high?

Rumours continued to escalate about the Special Guest, as this was THE day it was gonna happen! It’ll be Beck! It’ll be Alanis Morissette! It’ll be WEEZER! No one knew, but lots of people had an opinion on it. Myself, I had no guesses. I’d wait and see.

This is also the day I recall the least, in some ways. I have a text out to Brian regarding whether some of the bands listed on this day even played. I’ll write-up what I can though (please forgive my shoddy memory).

Let’s give ‘er!

 

Main Stage:

Doughboys

I really don’t remember these guys playing. They would have been playing for the Turn Me On record, but 1996 was the year they split up so… were they even there?

In 1998, we saw Pearl Jam in Barrie, and the band that rose out of the ashes of the Doughboys, All Systems Go, played at that gig.

James Hall

We missed this set, if he actually was on stage, because we had taken a look at the sky, saw the impending rain, and decided it would be judicious to take the tent down early and lug the remains of our stuff out to the truck. This seemed to take longer than the set-up did, but that’s always the case.

Spin Doctors

We heard some of this set as we walked out (and back in) with our stuff. From what I heard, it sounded good – just like the album. Well, it was You’ve Got To Believe In Something, their third record, that was current. But I’m pretty sure everyone was just waiting for them to play the hits off of Pocket Full Of Kryptonite. I remember hearing Two Princes from afar, because of course they would play that. Anyway, we were nowhere near the stage while this was going on.

Mighty Mighty Bosstones

I truly don’t remember these guys playing. I think I would remember it, as I was a fan at the time. 1994’s Question The Answers was a big CD for me, but Let’s Face It (with The Impression That I Get on it) wouldn’t come out until the next year. I truly would remember this set. Wouldn’t I?

Howard Jones

I do remember seeing this guy. Remember the song No One Is To Blame? That hit from the 80s? Yup, it was that guy. He sat at a piano and sang. His band was good, he did fine. At the time I thought it was an odd inclusion in the line-up, and looking back on it now, I still say the same thing. Good on him for showing up and doing his thing, but it wasn’t really his crowd (one would think). Maybe that could have been second stage and let the Skydiggers be main stage, yeah? Yeah!

Goo Goo Dolls

Again, I don’t recall these guys playing. I think I would have. A Boy Named Goo (with the song Name on it) had come out just the year before. I always liked the track Long Way Down from that album. I hope Brian tells me they played, I’d have enjoyed it, but right now I don’t remember anything about it if they did.

Catherine Wheel

All I remember about this set is standing and listening to them for a while (we’d missed the start of the set) and asking the person next to me who it was. When they told me, I knew the name from a song I had on a CMJ compilation but I didn’t own any albums. We were right between Happy Days and Adam And Eve albums, apparently, so I hope they had fans in the crowd who could tell us all about it and that it was great. It didn’t leave much impression on me, apparently, though. Also, Wiki tells me their singer is Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden)’s cousin.

-Intermission-

Now, recall that a Special Guest had been promised all weekend. Rumours had spread like wildfire. Just about any big band you could think of in the mid-90s, somebody in the crowd had guessed that they’d be the Guest. What happened next disgusted me on a couple of levels.

After Catherine Wheel played their set, everyone was standing around waiting for the next band, and a guy (I can only presume it was the promoter) came out on stage to make a few announcements. Eveyone held their breath, here we’d find out about the Special Guest!

It was not to be. There was no single special band that would be arriving. Apparently, their big idea had been to make a super-group, singers from these bands, guitars from those, drummers from these bands, and so on. I have no idea who they had in mind. But it didn’t matter. Bands had to move on, many of them were on tour and could not stay around that late on the Sunday afternoon. They needed to be on the road to the next show. So, there would be no special guest.

Oh! But never mind that! Here are the Watchmen!

Watchmen

I loved (and still do) the Watchmen. They consistently made great record after great record. They were one of the hardest working bands in the country, gave it everything they had. That they weren’t absolutely HUGE in this country (and in the States) – to the point that they could have kept rolling along right through to icon status today, has always baffled me. There really was nothing else they could do. They had everything in place, they were built to last, so what happened… gah.

But to have to walk out onto the stage after all of THAT bullshit, where there had been a crowd of many thousands in front of the stage up until the announcement and then, by the time they got to the stage they were was less than half of the crowd as everyone got pissed off and left… well, lesser bands would have felt the air let out of their balloon. They’d have, at best given a desultory performance. Some would even have refused to go on. But the Watchmen?

Bless their hearts, they stepped right up and gave the performance of the festival. They rocked HARD. They owned that place! They rose above all the crap and the diminishing crowd and gave their all because they were there to play and that’s what they did! I already loved their records, but this performance forever cemented this band in my memory as the best of the whole weekend. Brand New Day was their current album, which is awesome, but they had the incredibly strong In The Trees and McLaren Furnace Room to draw from as well, and it was one helluva set. Thank you, Watchmen, for getting it done, and for doing it up friggin’ BIG!

After that wonderful set, I was done. That was the final statement. It had been a long weekend, full of great music, huge crowds, tiring and hot, dusty days, and several adventures besides. Besides, it had started raining, and our decision to pack up our stuff in the truck early had proven to be a wise one. And for one more reason:

Pissed off at the announcement of no Special Guest, several smaller-minded and brutish concert-goers took it upon themselves to take the news as license to start destroying the place. Remember when I said it was a good thing we got out of the way? A garbage fight had started on the hill. It was disgusting. Yes, actually throwing garbage at one another. Ridiculous. Some people stole a golf cart from the grounds and flipped it. Fires were started, even somebody’s tent got tossed into the flames. It was a true mess. And all because of no Special Guest? It would have been easy to lose faith in humanity, that afternoon, except that it certainly wasn’t everyone involved. In fact, most people just packed up and headed for the parking lot, but those who were involved truly should have known far better.

We high-tailed it to the truck. There were rumours of cops flooding the grounds, through the trees, and we wanted no part of any of it. I have no idea if that was actually true, we were in the truck and rolling towards the gate by then.

One article I found online claims that, by and large, the event had been a success, trouble-wise. Given so many tens of thousands of people in the venue over the weekend, there were apparently only 5 arrests over the three days: two for trafficking magic mushrooms, one heroin possession, one assault, and one intoxication in a public place charge. In an oughta-be-classic quote, Durham Region Police Sergeant Henry Otter was quoted as saying “ I’ve had more trouble getting to church on Sunday morning.” Now, I don’t know what town he lives in, but it sounds like his church is on the wrong side of the tracks.

However, a quick scan of keyword searches on Google did not reveal anything about the ensuing events after the announcement. How weird is that? I tried Edenfest with ‘garbage,’ ‘violence,’ ‘Sunday’… but I got nothing about events that day. I don’t understand it. This had to have been, in large part, why the event didn’t happen again the next year (or for ten years, as the promoter intended). Where was the media, in all this? I wonder if somehow things were kept on the down-low, in an attempt to salvage the thing and have it the following year. Was the fix in?

One last thing, apparently, after the Watchmen played, there was supposed to be a set by Ani DiFranco, which I truly regret not seeing. I would love to have seen Ani. But we were well on the way home in Janet’s dodgy (was it a Dodge? who knows) truck, holding on for dear life and hoping against hope we all survived the trip. Still, we were buoyed by all the great music, the good in the experience. It was a great time, and a helluva birthday gift.

ALSO:

We didn’t see any of the second stage on the Sunday, but in retrospect I would love to have seen Holly McNarland (always loved her). Actually, the run from Blinker The Star onwards makes that one helluva line-up for a second stage. I would love to have seen all of those bands.

Second Stage:

Femmes
Jenny Anykind
Rain Still Falls
Gufs
Blinker The Star
Holly McNarland
Pluto
Gandharvas
hHead
Universal Honey

 

Edenfest Series In Sum:

And those are my memories of Edenfest, as I can recall them at the moment. I’m sure, after I get all of this posted, I’ll recall more. That’s how my brain works. I also have contact from Brian that we might speak on the phone on the weekend, and he’ll fill in any other blanks he can from his own memory. If I get enough to make a post out of whatever comes from the rest of this, I’ll be sure to do so.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour through the dusty halls of my memories about this event. It really was a great concert festival. Too bad it couldn’t have gone on for more years – I get the feeling that, generally, people were cool about it and it could have grown and become one of Canada’s biggest events!

One more post to go, on this subject…

Up tomorrow: Campsongs, the Edenfest compilation CD.

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Posted on September 11, 2014, in posts by aaron and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Wow, what a story!!
    I bet that officer lives in Oshawa (just a theory…)

    hHead and Gandarvas!?! Wow, blast from the past! Those two were constantly touring London dives 94-97.

    Odds, The Hip, WATCHMEN!! Fucking brilliant! Some great memories here!

    Like

    • Thanks Sarca! I’m glad you liked it. I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few days, thinking about that event, and typing all of this up. These are longer than my usual posts. This was work! OK, it was also fun, but work I tells ya!

      I had my own run-in with Oshawa police, coming back to Toronto from Montreal one time. It… well, let’s say the officer was wrong. And he knew it. Anyway.

      We didn’t get to see hHead or Gandarvas. I wish this thing had been 6 days long so we could have seen all the second stage bands too. I don’t like being made to choose like that (see: Skydiggers/Buzzcocks versus Live/Hip).

      Yep, lots of great memories, a lot of really strong bands. Whomever put it together did a fairly good job of bringing in acts people wanted to see. I wondered about a few of them even being there (my theory is that Howard Jones was a favourite of the promoter’s, ‘cos he was the one thing truly unlike the others), the running order of bands on the main stage (see: Refreshments), and about the placement of some bands on the second stage (many of them). A few of them were big enough, at the time, to be main stagers, while a few who got main stage time could probably have been moved to the second stage and made it all one Super Main Stage. Ah well, no one ever asks me.

      Like

  2. that 2nd stage mid-set of McNarland/Pluto/Ghandarvas is pretty good for a support stage!
    Too bad about the end to the festival but it sounds like a great time up til then

    Like

    • Oh yeah, I have this whole plan about how to make the main stage absolute killer, mix in a few of the second stage bands… But I’d have loved from Blinker on down to the end of the night. Great line-up!

      Yeah, all it takes is a few fucktards to mess everything up for everyone, eh?

      Like

  3. Well detailed man! I actually had the Doughboys album the one with Shine on it ….seen the Spin Doctors open for the Stones in Minneapolis back in 94 same deal crowd waited around for the two songs ! They actually played here in Tbay this past summer didn’t go as I was laid up but I would have to these those two songs again…hahaha oh yeah I liked What Time Is It??…make that 3 tracks!
    Also,caught the Watchman with Big Wreck on a co headline years ago….great show….Watchman were very good!

    Like

    • Thanks Deke! I had great fun writing it up. Good to shake the dust of the ol’ memory banks, too.

      Doughboys were cool. Spin Doctors were huge for about ten minutes in our high school. Opening for the Stones? That’s gotta be a pinnacle for them, right there! I dunno if I would go see them now. If it was cheap and close to home, sure. I know what time it is… it’s not late, just early early early!

      Watchmen/Big Wreck would be great. I really did like That Song. I would pay to see Watchmen anytime. Hells yes.

      Like

  4. Well done! My crew travelled 5 hours from central NY to this show and we showed up Thursday and stayed through Monday morning. I recall the chaos on Sunday. It went on all night but never became threatening (compare woodstock 99′ which I also attended and which I abandoned early Sunday because of the violence and putrid conditions). Your recollection of Live–> Hip was exactly how I remember it. It was my first Hip show as well (first of dozens to come!). My top three memories from the weekend – (1) LIve–> Hip, (2) Seven Mary Three, (3) waking up early each day to take a nice shower in relatively clean facilities at the foot of the hill where we camped (we found some of the only shade available).

    Like

    • Hey MD, thanks so much for finding us here in our little corner of the internets, and for replying!

      You’re so lucky you found shade. We found… the perpetually raining tree… which was not nearly as helpful… We also didn’t get a shower until we got home late Sunday night. I think you might have a much brighter perspective on that part of being there. 🙂

      All these years later, I’m still so disgusted over what happened on the Sunday after the failed “special guest” debacle.

      But oh yeah, that Live show was really really really good. So was the Hip’s performance (natch), though I still wish I could have ALSO seen the Buzzcocks, a great regret – terrible scheduling! 7M3 was good too, I remember standing next to a couple of gearhead dudes who talked about every guitar the band had, and which songs they played them on, etc. Whoa. Also: haha Sook Yin Lee…

      I also really liked Sloan (WOOHOO! SLOAN!), the Odds, Porno For Pyros, the Refreshments, Glueleg, Spirit Of The West, Watchmen… actually, I liked most of the acts except for the Cure. Could have done without them. But all’s fair play to those who did like them.

      Question for you: I got a copy of the Edenfest mix CD (also reviewed in these pages). Did you manage to get one? In all my years of record shops in different provinces and towns, I’ve never seen another one!

      Thanks for chiming in!

      Like

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