The inaugural All Ways Home Festival kicked off Saturday. Despite periods of rain, a few hiccups with tickets at the gate and one shuttle driver not knowing what route to take to get to Starlight Stadium, it was all smiles at the first major music festival to take place since the pandemic shut down live music.
Beer and food lines seemed relatively short with the Phillips beer taps flowing efficiently and the small number of food trucks and vendors feeding attendees along with stadium concession. No lack of washrooms or need for porta-potties at this festival. Starlight stadiums washrooms had almost no line… well for the men anyway.
Seven bands performed Saturday with all except Whitehorse being based Victoria-based acts. Bedouin Soundclash can now be considered a Victoria band since a couple members moved here.
Starting off the day there were some issues with the festival’s ticketing system, but the problem seemed to be overcome quickly.
The New Owners and Trophy Dad were the first two sets with fairly short 20/25 minute sets. Both acts could have used another 10 minutes. Just as each were really hitting their stride, their time ran out. The New Owners only had time for four songs.
Pastel Blank brought some dancey grooves to the afternoon as more people arrived. Friends of mine arrived on the festival’s shuttle service during their set and reported that the shuttle driver didn’t know how exactly to get to the stadium and had to be guided by riders through the streets of Langford.
Before their set, Carmanah brought Tla’amin Nation member and elder Rose Henry, also known as “Grandma Rose”, to the stage with other representatives of the Fairy Creek protests to speak about their efforts to save the old growth forest.
Whitehorse returned to Victoria for the first time in six years and did not disappoint with a high energy set even with the rain at its heaviest of the day. Whitehorse wrote and recorded 3 records during the pandemic and performed some new music. Their new album ‘Strike Me Down’ is set to be released in a few days.
“When we wrote it we were thinking The Pretenders and we went into the studio and it came out as Blondie,” said Whitehorse’s Melissa McClelland before performing new song ‘Why So Cruel’.
Bedouin Soundclash’s set turned into a giant sing-along when singer Jay Malinowski broke out with some ‘Stand By Me’ before transitioning to the band’s big hit ‘When The Night Fills My Song’ and ending with ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’.
Current Swell performed their first major show in Victoria since their Royal Theatre concert in November of 2019 performing many of the songs Victoria music fans know and love plus a few new songs they’ve never performed live to those same local fans before.
It was a solid start to a brand new festival.
Day 2 with performances by Jesse Roper, Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Jon and Roy, Fleece, Old Soul Rebel, Nicky MacKenzie, and The Banks Brothers goes Sunday with gates opening at 2pm. Tickets are available online and at the gate.