Oh it feels good to be back.
After taking a brief hiatus from the music scene to settle into our little cave in the mountains, we stepped back into the pit on a Friday for the first night of Performance in the Park, a much-anticipated annual two day event held in the heart of Banff. The location itself is stunning but also quite unique as a professional calibre outdoor concert is not necessarily the first thing you think of when you imagine a national park. This was my first year attending, and from what I experienced I can say that the venue could not have been more suited. Enjoying live music in such a spectacular setting is truly an amazing experience.
Opening the evening was Halifax native Ria Mae. Her trio set the stage for a night of fun and energetic entertainment, enchanting the crowd with smooth, perfect-for-summer vibes that resonated perfectly against the mountain landscape.
I’m a sucker for relatable lyrics and I was taken aback by the realness of her words. I hadn’t heard much about Ria Mae before Friday night, but I’ll be adding her tracks to my playlist so I can listen again and again. She captivated the crowd throughout her set, managing to get her jams stuck in everyone’s head. I know I’m still signing.
The music must have kept the forecasted rain at bay and as the sun kissed the mountain peaks the pumped-up crowd was eagerly anticipating their headliner. The team at the Banff Centre did a fantastic job as host for the evening, and after a few words and a quick Ellen Degeneres inspired crowd selfie, the stage was set for Hedley to take over.
Every time I see Hedley in concert (which is more than I ever thought it would be), the one thing that stands out is the utter devotion of their fans and the love and energy the band gives them in return. They are able to connect with their audience in an truly honest way.
Hanging out in the crowd, I asked a few of their young fans, who had made the trip in from Calgary for the night, what it was about Hedley that made them want to travel around the province just to see them? Expecting the 12 yr olds to simply gush about how cute they thought the band is, their responses genuinely surprised me, “We really love their lyrics because they’re well-written and deep.” Another one pointed out, “I really like their music because it’s fun.” This made me smile because it means the next generation of music fans can still appreciate a well-written song that speaks to them. Hope is not lost.
A timely article published that same morning from Canada’s most reputable news source, The Beaverton, entitled “Hedley celebrates 14th anniversary of benefiting from CRTC laws”, got me thinking about the Canadian music scene. The satirical nature of the article aside, I would call Hedley a Canadian powerhouse. Hear me out: besides the fact that they are able to pull huge crowds – which is a feat in and of itself in Canada – look around at one of their concerts, almost everyone in the crowd is singing along with each and every song. Even I could sing more than half their set, and I’ve never even had their tunes on my playlists. This speaks to their relatability and catchiness. The type of on stage charisma that keeps people hungry for more should be recognised and for that, I applaud you Hedley. Keep the kids coming back for more Canadian music.