Virgin Festival 2009


Another stunning weekend in Vancouver has unfortunately come and gone, but I have to admit this is definitely shaping up to be one of the best summers ever. Flash back to last week Tuesday when my good buddy Kyle from Victoria texts me and says he can get free passes to VirginFest for both the Saturday and Sunday shows. Naturally I jumped at the chance to spend the entire weekend outside surrounded by shirtless men, lounging in a beer garden and listening to live music.

As per usual Kyle came over on Friday night and we felt it was definitely mandatory to celebrate on the eve of the festivities as well to ensure maximum weekend awesomeness was achieved. Needless to say Saturday morning was extreme rough and the transit ride was a nightmare to get to Deer Lake Park (this mystical land in the middle of nowhere Burnaby – who knew?!), taking over 45 minutes on one (very wrong) bus. Once getting to the grounds it turned out that Kyle’s friend Sean had managed to score us VIP passes, which automatically cranked the weekend up a notch. Kyle then proceeds to tell me Sean is in Marketing for Virgin and well connected to the VirginFests all around the country. Sweet deal, and thanks again Sean!


We got to the festival around 3pm on Saturday and the event was already in full swing. Bands were playing, switching back and forth between the Main Event Stage and the Festival Stage. Kyle and I headed straight to our fenced in VIP area to check out the scene. Stellar food tents, ice cold beer, ‘Virgin Angels’ and dancing shrubs awaited us at every turn.

The musical line up on Saturday definitely had me stoked, including such acts as K-OS, Broken Social Scene, Our Lady Peace and the Roots headlining the night. OLP definitely excited the little nostalgic boy in me anticipating both the music from there recently dropped album as well as some old-school classics (I was trading in as much good karma to they play Clumsy). Shortly into the afternoon a random friend, Scott appeared with a few friends in tow. Naturally Kyle and I worked our way in to their conversation and it turned out Scott was chilling with Grant who was connected to the event organizer Andrew Bridge. Of course the next step was to flash my pearly-whites. Needless to say it worked and we ended up partying like true rock stars for the rest of the weekend. A special thanks to Grant, Jason and Andrew for showing us local boys how men from the East party!


Shortly after Our Lady Peace took to the stage the torrential rain began, and continued through the entire performance. It was epic; an endless sea of people swaying and dancing in the rain. Rainn Maida then went and made my night with one simple statement, ‘If you are getting wet, I might as well too.’ He then proceeded to climb out from the stage and sing in the pouring rain. Hot damn. Unfortunately, this is when the lightning started to pick up as well. Thankfully OLP was able to finish their set to 1000s of screaming fans; however, shortly after the event was shut down for safety reasons and everyone was shuffled to the exits.

Kyle, our new found friends Scott, Alicia, Grant eventually found our way to a bus, soaked to the core, headed downtown. The thunderstorm happening all around us was breath-taking. I’ve never seen the likes of a storm of that kind in Vancouver before and I don’t know if I ever will again. Random insert: Kyle and I made it back to my place just in time to catch the latest round of the Celebration of Lights fireworks. There is something about the beauty of fireworks bursting in the middle of lightning rippling across the sky that can make your jaw land on the floor.


Our Saturday night eventually led to reconnecting with the boys and heading out on the town. Definitely a night to remember and stories left for another post!

Kyle and I eventually poured ourselves out of bed on Sunday morning to make the trek back out to Burnaby. Once there we learned that Andrew did a brilliant job of crisis management from the Saturday night cancellation of the Roots. Anyone with tickets from Saturday could use that ticket to get in to the Sunday events, as well, the Roots will be returning to Vancouver (thanks again to Virgin Mobile) to play a concert for all those people who had Saturday tickets. How they’ll manage this, I can only wait to find out!

Once again on Sunday our new formed pack met up to enjoy another stellar line up, including De La Soul (brilliant old-school beats that really brought the crowd together), Sonic Youth, Metric (who is my new secret heart-throb songstress) and Ben Harper & Relentless7 headlining the night. A random point of cool; K-OS spent nearly all of Sunday chilling in the VIP area taking in the sights and sounds that Vancouver had to offer. It was a nice gesture to the event producers, and a good way to show his fans his chill-ness (oh, I’m making up a word).


All-in-all the weekend was one for the history books. The weather was perfect, including the epic once-in-a-lifetime lightning storm. The music was an awesome mixture of old-school tunes with new school beats. The company was fantastic, especially my boy Kyle, and I dealt well enough with the majority of the others being from the East coast. Just saying…

A congrats to everyone involved with the event this year, stellar job and thanks for making my life just a little better! As for Andrew, Jason and Grant, best of luck out East. Any time you boys need a break and want a taste of the good life you know where to find me. As for Sean, the rock star who scored us the tickets, thanks for putting up with Kyle! It was amazing, and I’ll be back next year, cheering louder than ever.