TURF VS. RIOT
How do this weekend’s two big Toronto music festivals compare?
There are two music festivals in town this weekend, TURF (Friday to Sunday) and Riot Fest (Saturday and Sunday). Which one should you go to? Toronto Urban Roots Festival What is it: Now in its third year, TURF is organized by local concert promoter Collective Concerts and takes over Fort York, Friday through Sunday. What exactly “urban roots” means remains a mystery for the ages. Target demographic: 30-something music fans who worship at the altar of Uncle Tupelo’s No Depression. The Heavy Hitters: Icelandic indiefolk heroes Of Monsters and Men, legendary U.K. reggae act UB40. You might also have heard of Wilco, Lucinda Williams and the Pixies. Musical outlier: Conor Oberst’s raucous, politically charged band Desaparecidos. Under-the-radar locals: CATL, Choir! Choir! Choir! Bang for your buck: $3.79 per band based on the $189.50 three-day general admission pass. Riot Fest What is it: Toronto edition of a Chicago-based music fest, Riot Fest, held at Downsview Park Saturday and Sunday, finds a middle ground between Warped Tour and Lollapalooza’s alt-rock circus incarnation. Target demographic: 30-something music fans who worship at the altar of At the Drive-In’s Relationship of Command. The Heavy Hitters: A reunited Alexisonfire, Rancid performing their classic 1995 album and Out Come the Wolves. You might also have heard of Weezer and the Prodigy. Musical outlier: Staten Island hiphop legends Wu-Tang Clan. Under-the-radar locals: Safe to Say, the Dirty Nil. Bang for your buck: $2.88 per band based on the $149.98 two-day general admission pass.
Verdict Although Riot Fest gets points for some exclusive bookings, TURF’s local roots and extended series of related club shows gives it the ultimate edge.
Iggy Pop and the Stooges headlined Riot Fest in Toronto last year. Big names for 2015 include Rancid, Alexisonfire and Weezer.
Eugene Hutz performed last year with Gogol Bordello at the TURF festival. Of Monsters and Men, UB40 and Wilco are among the main players this year.