The barn has been raised, the sod has been laid and now, the schedule has been made!
With WayHome Music & Arts less than a month away, it’s time to analyze set times, craft a perfect weekend on paper, and then watch it all go up in smoke within minutes of arriving. Or, forget that and just GET GIDDY WITH EXCITEMENT!
With 24 days left until the festival, here are 24 reasons you should be FREAKING OUT in anticipation of the inaugural WayHome festival…
1. Neil Young + Promise of the Real (Friday 9:30, WayHome Stage)
Neil is notoriously unpredictable, but one thing we do know is that he will be returning to “a town in north Ontario” to deliver at least two hours of classics. Neil has promised a solo acoustic performance to kick things off, followed by a hard-rockin’ electric set with his killer band Promise of the Real. They’ll play a few numbers from their latest album, The Monsanto Years, and then close the first night in WayHome history with a bevvy of bangers from the Neil canon. Lukas Nelson, guitarist in Promise of the Real, says the band has rehearsed over 90 songs, including gems like “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere”, “White Line” and “Homegrown”.
2. Kendrick Lamar (Saturday 9:45PM, WayHome stage)
On the second day of WayHome, Kendrick Lamar’s childhood dream of playing a field outside Barrie, Ontario will finally be fulfilled. With a killer band in tow, King Kendrick will show you how to turn it up a notch as he showcases tracks off his latest album, To Pimp A Butterfly. Kendrick, drank. WayHome, drank. Good vibes, drank.
3. Lush grass
When it comes to music festivals, the folks at WayHome are undoubtedly the Kings of Chlorophyll. Over the last six months, the festival has laid tonnes of sod, ensuring festival-goers will have an experience that is lush, well-fertilized and positively grub-free. Just imagine those green blades of goodness between your toes!
4. WayHome Stage
WayHome is going big with their main stage, promising a high-definition behemoth that will stand as one of the most impressive stages in North America. The stage’s natural grade will ensure fans at the back of the stage rocking out to St. Vincent, Hozier or the Decemberists will have just as great a view as those damaging their ears up front.
5. WayBold Tent
A music festival ain’t a music festival without a massive tent to boogie under, and the WayBold tent will stand tall all weekend long for those looking to groove. Bassnectar, Girl Talk and Com Truise are all set to rock under the roof for performances sure to be as visually striking as they are aurally pounding . They don’t call it WayBold for nothing!
If you thought the cryptic clues were a mind-ride, wait until you get on site. Through three-dimensional text, unreal projections and interactive psychedelia, WayHome will play host to several trippy art installations throughout the weekend. When you need a breather from the music, saunter around WayHome’s creative artist installations to flip out and trip out.
7. Sam Smith (Sunday 9:30PM, WayHome stage)
After undergoing vocal cord surgery that will propel his pipes to more powerful levels than ever, Sam Smith is set to close the first WayHome festival in a resoundingly soulful fashion. Hearts will be broken, and ears will be made love to. Bring a blanket and some Kleenex.
8. Saturday Hip-Hop Explosion
Only at WayHome can one see SZA, Run The Jewels, Danny Brown, G-Eazy and Big K.R.I.T. in one evening. Hip-hop fans can bounce from stage to stage, not missing a single rhyme as five of the most exciting artists in the genre today deliver killer sets. And that’s not even counting Kendrick. Sensory overload!
9. WayBright Stage
Watching your favorite artist perform in a serene setting makes you question why you do anything but go to music festivals, and the WayBright stage will amplify those doubts in an emphatic fashion. With Alt-J, Vance Joy and Passion Pit all set to play in front of spectacular sunsets, the WayBright stage is set to become the go-to spot for those who love their music served with a heaping spoonful of beauty.
10. WayAway Stage
Tucked in a remote, forested corner of the festival, the WayAway stage not only promises late-night shenanigans, but also dramatic visuals to enhance the music. Viet Cong, Fucked Up, and METZ are all scheduled to get way loud at WayAway, but when they’re done, don’t roam too far. You never know what surprises await at WayAway.
11. Silent Disco
There’s nothing like dancing your ass off in complete silence. Toss on some headphones and dance late into the night, all without the guilt of disturbing your Oro-Medonte neighbors.
Those who forgot their flower crowns at home will be in luck, as Etsy has teamed with WayHome to bring festival-goers the WayMarket, which will feature 20 of the hottest shops hocking the latest festival fashions. When it doubt, sarong it out.
13. Sloan (Sunday at 1:30 PM, WayHome stage)
Sit back and think about everything you’ve done wrong when Sloan takes the stage early on Sunday afternoon. Crack a beer, admire how Canadian you are and appreciate the good in everyone.
14. Rhiannon Giddens (Friday 2:45PM, WayBright stage)
Fresh off a fiery performance at Bonnaroo, Rhiannon Giddens brings her unique brand of Americana to WayHome. Wear a bandanna, because Rhiannon (and her ace band with members from Carolina Chocolate Drops) will ignite a hoedown, and you’ll be kickin’ up dirt.
15. The VIP Barn
Situated adjacent to the WayHome stage and right in the heart of the action, the VIP barn will offer prime views, five-star amenities and delicious grub from FIVE gourmet restaurants, all certifiably peasant-free!
16. Dwayne Gretzky (Friday Night – 12:45 AM, WayAway Stage)
Comprised of amazingly-talented musicians from all over Toronto, Dwayne Gretzky is possibly the world’s first super-group cover band, and they will be bringing their unique brand of dance-party badassery to WayHome on Friday night. Expect singalongs, ace musicianship and glee by the boatload.
17. Timber Timbre (Saturday 11:00 PM, WayAway stage)
With their trippy art installations and cryptic clues, WayHome clearly has an affinity for psychedelia, but there may be no set more psychedelic than Timber Timbre, which showcases the eerily beautiful baritone of lead singer Taylor Kirk. Don’t miss Kirk’s haunting voice as he follows through on all his promises and threats to you.
Did you come up with a brilliant idea during a psychedelic epiphany?! Well WayHome has you covered, as Vitaminwater will offer festival-goers the chance to share that idea for a chance to earn cash and a mentorship with Dragon’s Den’s newest Dragon, Michele Romanow. Swing by the Vitaminwater installation and step into their larger-than-life bottle to pitch your idea — or just chill in a Vitaminwater hammock while swigging on some of their refreshingly colorful elixir.
19. The Unexpected
The first WayHome is guaranteed to offer surprises. Will there be a photo-friendly, Bonnaroo arch-esque entrance? Will campers have access to that mysterious body of water? Will there be Spicy Pie? No one knows, and Republic Live is well aware that everyone is expecting the moon. But Republic Live also wants festival-goers to know they aim to over-deliver. So leave your worries at home and go with the flow!
20. The Trees
Many festivals seem to derive sick pleasure from tossing their attendees onto a fiery wasteland and watching them bake, but not WayHome! Beautiful, mature, oxygen-emitting trees coat the whole property, ensuring shade, air and mystery. Which brings us to…
21. Late-Night Forest
No one really knows what wonders will go down in this late-night forest, but Webster Dictionary defines a forest as “a thick cluster of vertical objects” and late-night as “of or occurring late at night”. I’m trippin’ already!
22. The Campgrounds
Burl’s Creek Event Grounds will be an explorative festival-goers dream, with hiking trails and bike paths all leading to FUN! Get lost in the woods while looking for your campsite and make some furry new friends! Ride your bicycle to the campground general store for a handful of late-night munchies. Or chill at your campsite and bask in the buzz emanating from tens of thousands of happy WayHomies surrounding you.
23. The Samsung WayHome Reel
It’s easy to get caught up in the fun of a festival and forget to take a few photos, but OH THE PAIN when you’re in festival withdrawal and have nothing to look back upon. Fret no longer, as WayHome and Samsung have teamed to bring WayHomies a personalized WayHome reel. Simply activate your RFID wristband before arriving, and stop by any of the Samsung stations for a few quick selfies. Once the weekend has concluded, you will be e-mailed a customized clip, full of your festival follies mixed with pics and videos from all the sets you enjoyed all weekend!
24. IT’S ONLY A FEW WEEKS AWAY!!!
While it seemed like a desert mirage in a haze of festival news last February, the first WayHome is now so close, you can smell the porta potties. Pack your gas mask and some baby wipes, because it’s time to find your WayHome.
Click here for tickets, the full schedule and all the WayHome information you could ever desire.
The countdown is on!