I got to see my friends Audrey and Frances and dance with them at the festival!
As far as getting away from the city went, aside from forgetting to pack a bunch of things, everything went exactly as we hoped. That is save for the hour-plus-long construction slowdown on the 401 between Couburg and Belleville a section that normally might take 15 to 20 minutes and put us into Kingston past midnight. But that post-work cannonball run to Kingston to a Walmart parking lot afforded us the ability to get over to the island on one of the first ferries and the ability to set up camp before we had our volunteer shift at 9:30am Friday morning.
None of us slept very well that night as it was a very first experience sleeping in a Walmart parking lot, quasi boondocking, with Wolfie Too still hitched and ready to move on in the morning. None of us appreciated the 6:00am alarm after getting to sleep after 1:00am, but with a McDonald’s nearby we were able to get a cuppa joe, some viddles and then, onto the ferry. We got on the 7:15 ferry and by 8:30am we were unhitched and setup in our usual camping spot on the festival grounds (pic in the header of our post). We got an hour to decompress before our volunteer shift helping to set up the festival.
Ahead of the festival, I got a message from a friend of ours Julie asking if Emelia was coming too as she was coming and considering bringing her daughter Frances. After she heard that Emelia was coming, and Emelia was happy to show Frances some gymnastics moves, they were set to come. As well friends of ours who live in Kingston and have a daughter Audrey who adores Emelia, we knew would also be there meaning Emelia would have no shortage of friends to play with. Add that in the 5 years we’ve camped the festival in a trailer, we’ve become friends with a family with a daughter Gabie who is 3 years younger than Emelia who camps in right beside us. So this festival while being ripe with bands and musicians we love, is also great for the amount of kids Emelia’s age who she’s grown up with at this festival!
The weather was absolutely stunning. I will never, ever complain at a festival about it being too sunny and too hot as for festival organizers the opposite – rain and cold – is terrifying for attendance. Especially for a festival that is on an island and you have to camp at to really get the most from. But, this weekend was scorching and without a lick of rain. Perfect – especially for the beer vendors! I got my share of sun burn and we even took in a swim in the lake despite the amount of active algae as a result of the heat and humidity.
The music was even better! Friday night our camp friends showed up one-by-one and so did Julie & Frances despite traffic and ferry delays. After having a full day of sun and getting up all too early, we retired back to the trailer so Emelia could get some much-needed sleep and Danielle and I could listen to the headliner from our campsite. Before long we were off to bed too, and slept like logs comfortably in Wolfie Too.
Saturday, aside from one other volunteer shift helping out, was all about us just enjoying the festival. Audrey had arrived so Emelia had a playmate, and she wanted to talk Emelia’s ear off. The weather continued to be killer and so was the music. Highlights for me was Kate Boothman, Justin Rutledge, Mappe Of and Weaves. And during Justin Rutledge’s set he brought up Rob Baker from the Tragically Hip who he has been working with on his new album. That was pretty, darned cool. We watched Yukon Blonde from our campsite while Emelia slumbered away. We got a little of the campsite packed up and then headed off to slumbersville like Emelia.
As is tradition on Sunday morning we were up early and hitched and ready to catch the first ferry we could. However, also tradition is breakfast at the Wolfe Island Pub & Pizza (The WIPP). Last year we missed the breakfast as we got into the ferry line and just as we were about to order breakfast the ferry arrived and we were on it surprisingly. So this year the goal was not to make that mistake. We walked over to the WIPP had our breakfast and then got in the ferry line and onto the very next ferry.
All in all it was an amazing weekend and the start to a great camping week. It being the 20th anniversary of the festival, it was so great to have been a part of both making sure it happened by volunteering, and then as fans enjoying it too. Part of what has made us come back every year and to make it a nonnegotiable part of our summers though is the friends we’ve made at it, or the ones we meet up here with. It’s hard to imagine this not being part of our summers – especially since both of our trailers were named for it!
What an absolutely amazing weekend. After a very busy week leading into our week off. It never seems to fail, no matter how much time we spend with the planning, no matter how much we have already packed in the trailer the week leading into camping is always busy. Emelia had a full week of training and John and I were busy with work.
We have packing to a pretty good science, I plan heavily the meals for the week so we can attempt to eat healthier and we can enjoy every minute of our week off. With everything in order and John able to get off work on time we were on the road heading to Kingston by around 7. We stopped to grab a bite to eat and headed down the 401. It was pretty smooth sailing even through Toronto until we hit about an hour or so outside Kingston. One lane overnight construction work did us in. It was already super late, we were all insanely tired so we just wanted to get to Kingston and crash. By the time we parked we all hit the sheets and crashed instantly. It wasn’t the most relaxing sleeps knowing we had to get up at the crack of crazy o’clock but we were happy it be in Kingston to get that very early ferry over Wolfe Island.
We were set up and ready to enjoy a bit of time once we got set up in our usual campsite. Emelia wasn’t feeling the best so once we got her settled John and I were able to help out with the set up of the festival. We had a great time helping and the bonus for volunteering was our tickets for the festival and camping passes for the weekend. Plus since we (especially John) have been involved with festivals we know how much work it takes to make things run smoothly, so any help we could be we were happy to help. Once we were wrapped up it was starting to get crazy hot so we thought it was about time we found a way to cool down. Our friend Julie was coming for the weekend at a waterfront cottage, we took advantage and used the cottage dock to go swimming in the mouth of the St. Lawerence. The water was the perfect temp to cool down, we didn’t stay in long but long enough to cool down.
The rest of the night was all about music and time together as a family. Emelia had a blast but by the time the last act on Friday was due to hit the stage she was ready for bed, John and I opted to lie in bed with the windows open in the trailer and drift off to sleep listening. We slept like logs and woke the next day rested and ready for the day. We had a lazy start of the day puttering around the village before heading back for a day of music and time with friends. As John mentioned our friends brought their daughters to the festivals and the girls who were both around 7 years old were totally smitten with Emelia. Once Emelia brought showed the girls some gymnastics tricks they were hooked. The rest of the day and into the night the girls danced, did some gymnastics and generally had a great time. It was a festival to remember.
We left Saturday night tired, sun-soaked but with smiles on our faces. With Emelia quickly asleep John and I took advantage and packed up 90% of the trailer so we could have an easier go in the morning. The next morning we got up after a bit of a sleep in, grabbed breakfast and did a quick hook-up and were on the ferry before 10.
The entire weekend was incredible, although hot it was the perfect weahter for the festival, not a drop of rain, lots of incredible music, a beatufuil island and lots of friends. Life could not have been better!