Greenbelt Harvest Picnic 2012

Greenbelt Harvest Picnic 2012
Christie Conservation Area
September 1, 2012

Victor finally got to see Daniel Lanois perform for the first time since University, and I got to sing along with Sarah Harmer as I waited for somebody to announce that it would not be cool to eat the brown acid.

The lineup was as follows:
Missy Bauman, Dinner Belles, Lee Reed, Brady L. Blade Sr. and the Hallelujah Train, Jesse Cook, Sarah Harmer, Gord Downie and the Sadies, Mix Master Mike, Daniel Lanois, Emmylou Harris, Feist

We arrived at around one in the afternoon, due to the fact that I forgot our tickets when we first ventured out of the house that beautiful summer morning. Luckily, Christie Lake is only about an hour from where we live so we were still early enough to secure some decent real estate on the grass with a great view of the stage. Once we were settled with our picnic blanket, chairs, and cooler full of healthy-ish snacks, we went exploring (looking for beer).

We warmly referred to the many vendors we encountered as 'the hippies' selling home grown everything - from sunflower accessories to flavoured hemp seed snacks. The atmosphere at the park that day was peace, love, and save the environment - specifically the Niagara Escarpment.

We met a young lady selling natural remedies and teas which she told me she foraged herself. I had to make her repeat herself, as I had never heard anybody say they had foraged anything, before. I was starting to feel like I was in the movie "Wonderlust". I was particularly surprised and impressed when a very pretty lady raised her arm, while telling us how tall the trees she was selling (native to the area and now endangered) would grow, because I caught a sight that I thought only existed in France - she had unshaven armpits! I'm not talking stubble either, I'm talking as hairy as Victors underarms hairy. I found myself in awe of that woman- she's the real deal.

The entire day had me wondering what a 'hippie' lifestyle must be like, it was exhausting to even imagine how hard it would be to make my own clothes and food and forage for....stuff. I could stop shaving my armpits, maybe, but I think that's not enough to say I live a carbon footprint-free lifestyle. Buying one of those pretty flower halo hairpieces that some of the girls were going around with wasn't going to make me feel any better about it either, so I signed a petition to help save the escarpment from a landfill (I think), shoved a few hemp seeds in my gob and moved on to the food trucks. Gorilla Cheese, by the way, has the most gewy and delicious grilled cheese sandwiches in the history of grilled cheese sandwiches.

We sat down in time to see Brady L. Blade Sr., a preacher from the deep south of the US take the stage. Incidentally, he is also the father of Danel Lanois' drummer, that fact provided by Victor in a side note between sips of Steam Whistle beer, the festival sponsor this year. Rev. Blade and his band, along with Daniel Lanois, played some knee slapping soul that almost had me reaching my hands up to heavens like those people you see on TV.

 Jesse Cooke was up next, looking overdressed for the picnic, laying down some seriously sexy Latin guitar tunes. It was so different from what we had just heard and a perfect interlude before Sarah Harmer came on. But wait! To my surprise and delight, Whitehorse came on stage after Jesse Cook, to introduce Sarah. Whitehorse is a husband and wife duo featuring one of my favourite CBC Radio2 artists, Luke Doucet. I waited the rest of the night hoping they would sing us a song, but they didn't take the stage again. Sarah did not disappoint, however, and Victor, who had not heard of her before, was impressed and enjoyed her set almost as much as I did.

After Sarah, the funky, funky, Gord Downey took the stage spouting incoherent poetry and kicking music's ass with his new band, The Saddies. Gordo looked pretty sexy too in his grey suit, tie, and fedora. The man is a legend.

Mix Master Mike, half of the infamous Beastie Boys, got everyone out their seats during his set. I mean the crowd really went crazy, putting their hands up in the air, putting their HANDS UP IN THE AIR, as instructed by the Mix Master on stage. Again, a perfect interlude before we all chilled out to a great set from the man himself, Mr. Daniel Lanois, perfectly timed as the sun went down and Miss Emmylou Harris joined him on stage.
The temperature dropped as we donned our sweaters,wrapped ourselves in blankets, and waited while the stage was completely reset for Feist. Then we waited some more as the air got colder, apparently it was going to be quite the production. Victor wanted to leave, but I wanted to see Feist. I have a bunch of her songs on my play list and I couldn't wait to see her live. She was quirky and cool as expected, and it was cute to see a tiny thing like her, in a little white dress, rocking out on an electric guitar.
Overall, it was a laid back and enjoyable experience. We will very likely be returning next year, and I can see it becoming a tradition for us. Thank you Daniel Lanois for being one very cool Canadian bringing a lot of extraordinary artists and people together for a great cause. You are the man.

Good luck out there,


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