Music gives you the words to things you really want to say but are too nervous to say them. It can explain how you’re feeling without even having to say a word. Music can bring you to another place, give you that escape from the world you’ve been needing after a long day.
For as long as I can remember music has always been a huge part of my life. My parents put me in piano lessons at five and I continued them for 10 years, until moving to Ontario. I loved playing the piano. The piano became an escape after a long day at school or bad skating practice. It always just seemed to calm me down and give me a moment to reset.
Music was also really important in figure skating. When choreographing my programs, my choreographers would always listen to the beat of the music and my movement would align with the beat. It was really helpful already knowing how to pay attention to what the beat was because it made choreographing that much easier. It also helped me feel the music that much more, since most of my programs I actually learned how to play on the piano and I had already had built a connection with them.
I am also a concert junkie, which makes for a very expensive hobby (HAHA). It may be expensive but it was so worth paying the price looking back on all the memories I’ve made. From country to Pop, Hip-Hop to Classical, EDM to R&B, I listen to it all.
A bunch of memories popped up on my timeline from some of the concerts and festivals I’ve been to in the last four years and I wanted to write about my experience at each one. Sadly, due to COVID-19 all concerts and festivals have been cancelled for the upcoming summer, so to heal the blow of the fact I won’t be going to another concert for a really long time, I wanted to look back at some of the memories I’ve made.
First up, the biggest Canadian Country music festival, Boots and Hearts. Just north of Barrie in Oro-Medonte at Burls Creek Campground, you and your friends get to camp under the sun for five days, while getting to enjoy some of the top music artists. Some of the artists I’ve seen in the past at Boots and Hearts are Blake Shelton, Tim Mcgraw, Brett Eldredge and Luke Bryan to name a few. If you’ve never been to Ontario during the summer, it can get very hot. You’re basically a sweaty mess who hasn’t had a real shower in days and probably haven’t slept a whole lot either, but that’s what makes for the best memories. Breakfast beers (or girly drinks if you don’t drink beer like myself) are 100 per cent acceptable and anything goes when you’re living the #bootslife (see what I did there HAHA). If you’re a country music lover, highly recommend getting a ticket in 2021.
Ever After was my very first EDM festival (aka Rave). When my friend from South Africa visited Canada in 2016 we attended four concerts in two weeks, Ever After was the second stop on the list. Buying these tickets was a very last minute decision and in fact we bought them on the day the festival started, but if you ask me I think the unplanned events make for the best times.
I had never been to a rave before but another one of my friends heard Skrillex was going to be performing and were all huge Skrillex fans, so we got tickets, and boy was it the time of my life. Everyone in the crowd was going crazy, so being a newbie to the whole rave thing I just followed along with what everyone else was doing. I’m pretty sure I had whiplash from all the head banging and I definitely got my cardio in that day from all the jumping I was doing.
Ever After is held in Kitchener at Bingemans and has one of the better venues I’ve experienced. You can also camp at this festival as well, but one of my friends lived close to venue so we stayed there. There was a ton of activities to do when you weren’t at the concert. There was a ferris wheel, a ton of food and drink options and some spots to get shade (THIS IS KEY AT A FESTIVAL). When your jumping up and down with thousands of other people it gets hot and sweaty, let me tell you. If you takeaway anything from this, it should be find shaded spots.
VELD, oh that was a time friends. I convinced my boyfriend to buy tickets for VELD a couple years ago and we went with a couple of his friends. It was my boyfriends first time going to a rave and I wasn’t sure how he was going to embrace the experience, but I think he had fun. But let me just highlight I wasn’t the newbie at the Rave folks (Spencer was, aka my boyfriend). Anyways, that year DJ Snake and Marshmello were a couple of the headliners, so least to say I was pumped. I was trying to get the whole rave experience, so I jumped in a moshpit (I was too nervous to do this at Ever After). I never did this before, but the look on my boyfriends face you couldn’t pay me to see it again. Well, I at least I checked one thing off the bucket list, but I won’t be doing that again.
The only thing I hated about VELD was the venue. Downsview Park is WIDE OPEN friends. A very hot summer in Toronto, plus no shaded areas, equals a very hot, sweaty, sticky Grace. There also wasn’t as many food and drink options as other festivals I’ve been to, not to mention the excessive prices. Although the venue is not the best, the festival is very well organized, ticket prices are very reasonable and they always have a great lineup. So, I would rate it a 8/10.
Queen B herself (aka Beyonce) was absolutely amazing. There was not one point of her concert that she wasn’t dancing and singing. I seen her shortly after she released her album Lemonade, and she definitely tuned into that bad B%$ch attitude. She opened up with Formation and I think that was the first concert I’ve been to where the artist set the tone right from the beginning. If you ever have the chance to see her in concert do yourself a favor and take it, you won’t regret it.
Last but not least, POST MALONE!!!!! Can you tell I love him? One of the best artists I have ever seen in concerts and one of the best artists in general in my opinion. I first discovered him shortly after he released is first album, Stoney. I seen a Q&A video with him and I just loved his personality. He was not afraid to be who he is and didn’t care what people thought of him. I just vibed with him, so I looked him up on Apple Music and I was hooked.
His concerts are so entertaining. The Hollywood’s Bleeding tour was filled with great music and amazing extras. Not to mention he sounds exactly the same live. There was fire coming from the stage, indoor fireworks and confetti showers, I give the extras a 10/10. Another thing I love about his concerts is that he plays songs from all his albums, so it’s not focused on the latest album. I love screaming out old hit songs and reminisce on the time when that song was number one.
As always, I will touch on music and mental health, since this is a mental health blog after all. Music has been proven to help with mental health recovery. It reduces cortisol which is the stress hormone I’ve talked about before, but also increases memory and neurological function. Put your favorite song on blast and belt out those lyrics like you never have before, it seriously takes a weight off your shoulders.
Well, I hope you enjoyed reading about some of my favorite concert and festival experiences to date. I want to leave you with a list of songs that I’m currently listening to on repeat right now:
1. Toosie Slide by Drake
2. No Option by Post Malone (actually just go look up all his albums, you won’t regret it)
3. 100 Rounds by FRVRFRIDAY
4. Changes album by Justin Bieber
5. Young Once by Sam Hunt
6. Fix by Chris Lane
7. My weekend Amen by The Washboard Union
8. Roxanne by Arizona Zervas
9. Iphone by Dababy