“Welcome Home,” read a sign above the main gates, reminding all those entering to leave their egos at the door and treat one another as family. The goal of a major festival is to distinguish themselves from other festivals and by creating a distinguishable experience. The WayHome Music & Arts Festival does just that.
WayHome Music and Arts, produced by Republic Live, featured headliners LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire and The Killers, along with by Major Lazer, M83, HAIM, Metric, Chvrches, Ray LaMontagne, and an additional 60+ artists. The festival offered multiple stages, a variety of late-night spectacles and experiences, original art installations, fine international and local cuisine, an on-site farmers market and more.
This is the second year the A&R Report has been to the WayHome Festival. Again this oasis just an hour and a half outside the city of Toronto did not disappoint. For the city dweller it can be a little bit of an adjustment to leave that condo or apartment for 3 days and camp in the wilderness. If you have any hesitation about taking the plunge and experiencing camping; you can take comfort in knowing that you’ll be surrounded by lovers of music. This is a festival that attracts those who truly appreciate the arts and the array of different genres of music. You’ll meet new friends run into old ones and dance the night away. The party doesn’t stop when the stages are empty though. WayHome has established a nightlife in the camping grounds where you can hear music playing from car speakers, coupled coolers being emptied and beer being passed around. Tables of beer pong, acts of kindness and conversations about music were endless.
One artist we were excited to see was FKA Twigs. She is an artist in every sense of the word: singer, songwriter, dancer, choreographer, visionary. Her Saturday late-night set at WayHome encompassed it all with a perfectly calculated piece of performance art.
Twigs took the stage alone with “Water Me”, clutching a large crystal while stalking, bending, and twirling with liquid-steel fluidity. For “Pendulum” and “Figure 8/Video Girl”, she was joined by a red-robed male dancer who occasionally intertwined with her, then several other capable contortionists who helped divide the set into four acts. New songs “Wound Up” (only a possible title at this point) and “Yes Yes Yes” were as spellbinding as older stunners like “Numbers” and “Two Weeks”. During each, Twigs drew massive rounds of cheers with burst after burst of unimaginably complicated choreography. As they should at a good fest, fans received more than just live music; they got a mind-altering experience. FKA Twigs stayed in character the whole set. One could only imagine the amount of focus that was involved in her performance despite the cheers from the crowd. FKA Twigs not only stole the night but she goes down as the best performance of the WayHome Festival hands down.