Monday, August 10, 2009

Poor Pilgrim

This weekend was filled with magical moments from Friday night drinks with Jill and her gang, to Saturday night dinner party with Drew and Clea in my livingroom (its nicer in there then in the kitchen so I hauled the chaise outta there, and brought the kitchen table in) with bottles upon bottles of wine (including a 10 year old French wine which tasted a little soya saucy, to lunch in the Distillery with Shayne's fam to the Poor Pilgrim music festival on the Toronto island topped off by that wicked storm.

The fog was hovering for a good part of the day.

After lunch, Shayne and I rode down to the docks and took the ferry over to Hanlan's for the third annual Poor Pilgrim. We hadn't heard of this little festival until a few weeks ago, as they don't advertise; its a complete word of mouth deal. Drew said last year hosted about 50 people, this year I would say it was around 150. Still small enough to be a total under the radar thing, but big enough to be a good crowd.

The first band The Silt was still setting up when we arrived, so we sat on the nude beach for a while, before making our way back to the little grassy nook on the West for the show. Each artist's set ran about 30 minutes, before everyone would haul over to a new location on the island for the next performer.

The setting was great, and the rain held off all afternoon but the mosquitoes and red ants were terrible. Everyone was joined together by matching bug welts. Sitting here for the first show was funny as that gateway was the entrance to Hanlan's beach. Many unsuspecting beach goers came through that gate with a WTF look on their face when they stumbled upon this.

We waited in line at the base of Gibralter lighthouse surrounded by red ants for a performance that was happening at the top by Transcendental Rodeo. Unfortunately by the time we got up (only a small group at a time) the band was finished and it was on to the next location. But as the band descended, Shayne and I crawled up the winding stairs to the top because (in the words of one of the musicians) "The music has ended but the view goes on forever". When we got to the top, there were a few people out on the outer ledge of the balcony, so we crawled through the tiny hole of an opening to join them. The view was definitely worth it, but I was terrified as that terrace (built in 1808) felt very flimsy. As we came back inside, we were all informed that we weren't allowed out there, but we were some of the lucky few who made it out before that info was shared.

Even though we waited it out and climbed to the top of the lighthouse, we still made it to the Storybook Playground to see N!fty perform. He had an interesting little set up with floating speakers, but was having trouble with the generator cutting out.

Following that, everyone gathered up their bikes and things and headed over to the Dragonboat Grandstands for a set by Isla Craig. The whole ceremony of moving from site to site as a group was nice, though Shayne and I made the mistake of not bringing a bottle of wine like most others.

At this point, the sun was setting and reflecting in the water as ducks swam by. We had some dinner at this point and relaxed in silence with everyone else.

Following Isla Craig, this began blowing in... (these photos are not mine, they are just randoms from on line) and it was insane.

The clouds moving in were the strangest shade of yellowy, brownish black, moving in super fast. The wind picked up and everyone was racing to get to the next location (the Church) for Jennifer Castle. It was the eeriest storm with the fast moving shroud, the winds and the empty yellow cable cars dangling above. I wanted to stop and take photos, but I knew my camera couldn't capture it and also, we'd probably get soaked. We managed to avoid the rain, and were left with the most magical performance. Everyone gathered inside the tiny church by candlelight. The lightning flashing constantly outside illuminating the large stained glass windows; thunder and rain outside, bats flying around in the rafters and Jennifer Castle alone with her mini guitar, barely visible in the dim candlelight. You could have heard a pin drop in that place. It was honestly one of the most magical moments, and I didn't capture any of it on film because it was too dark for my camera.

They decided to finish off the rest of the event in the church, so everyone gathered their pocket change for donation and sat tight. After one final act, Wyrd Visions (who was supposed to play as Yuula lit her floating fire barge on the lake-which obviously didn't happen) Shayne I and got on our bikes and rode back to the ferry dock, and miraculously, the rain had stopped. The lightning was insane, all of us in the city were lucky enough to witness the crazy storm last night. We were lucky enough to witness it from the ferry. I was pretty nervous about it at first, but soon became used to the forks, and Shayne got a few shots from the boat.

And here's one of many videos I found on line today...

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