NXNE 2012: May there always be glitter in your hair

It was a no brainer. When North by North East asked if I was returning as a Stage Manager this year, I had to say yes. I was excited, and became more so when I discovered I was being assigned to the Gladstone Hotel. I had so many great memories there already;  Movember, Tweetgasms, Social Media Week and more. And I wasn’t disappointed; everyone was so amazing to work with, I almost wish I could work there, and with those people, forever.

On July 12, The Toronto Music Industry Association hosted a party to welcome the British Columbian bands who were playing at the Gladstone the next day for an evening called, “Tracks on Tracks“; Green Couch Productions took a bunch of bands on board a VIA train where they played music on board, and at various cities along the way, for four days while GPC filmed the shenanigans. I can’t wait for the DVD they’re planning on releasing. I just know it’s going to be really entertaining, full of heart and great music baseed on the bands and everyone else who went along for the ride. I volunteered my time to help set-up for the party and in turn I got to enjoy the evening and meet some pretty awesome people. It was a great start to my NXNE experience this year.

The next evening was the first day of my “duty”1, and I was lucky enough to watch Chris Ho, Shred Kelly, Portage & Main, The Matinee, Maurice, Adaline, The Belle Game, Topless Gay Love Tekno Party (and their glittery goodness) and Bear Mountain perform stellar live music that night. I also got to meet CBC’s Grant Lawrence, who was an absolute gent and a true professional. All on day 1 and with my lovely gal-pal, Ashley Gibson. Earlier that day I got to sit in for the first half of Dating in a Digital World with Sofi Papamarko, Kimberly Moffitt, Stacey Ikka and moderated by Kim Hughes. I didn’t think the week could get better than that…

The next day, because of the 4am last call at the Gladstone the night before, I opted for sleep the next morning and missed out on attending and learning about the Psychology of Narcissism & How it Affects Brands which I was really looking forward to2. Getting up early wouldn’t have been worth feeling like death later that evening, however. I did get to learn from a few other interesting sessions including Social Music Marketing: Bands, Brands and Fans and the first half of The Art of Mobile Photography.

The Roncy Boys started off Thursday night with a sparkly and lively set followed by Filligar from Chicago3; then the rockin’ trio from the Northhampton, UK, Ocasan, took the stage and showed us a good time; followed by the cape-wearing and lively group, God Made Me Funky; then the soulful, Tanika Charles and the Wonderfuls and last but not least, Masia One and some sweet-as dance moves and beats.

The next day I was able to attend the uber fascinating and eye-opening talk by Daniel Berkal and Britt Peterson called, Project Butterfly: Escaping the Net. I wasn’t surprised to find myself on the side of the room designated the “Social Butterfly” side after we took a quick quiz, but I was surprised to find myself identifying with a lot of the characteristics of the other group4. I can only hope I have a good balance of both.

Back at the Gladstone Ballroom that night5, The lovely Octoberman kicked things off; followed by a lovely acoustic set by Chris Velan; Kim Churchill, disguised as a one-man band for the evening wowed the crowd after that; a full house enjoyed Útidúr, from Iceland, who had been touring with the next band, Brasstronaut, who were also stellar and Jaron Freeman-Fox and the Opposite of Everything finsihed off the night perfectly.

After the ballroom cleared out, I walked over to poutini’s in search of ice cream and found it in the form of a delicious ice cream sandwich from [some snack shop that I can’t remember the name of]. Then I went for drinks with a friend at the Cadillac Lounge before heading home for the evening. Sometimes, you just need to stay up late to unwind from a long day no matter how tired you are.

Sleeping in6 the next day was a delight, and not just because I was dreaming that my bed was in the middle of the Ballroom at the Gladstone Hotel. Breakfast followed by a trip out to the Steamwhistle Brewery for some afternoon brewskies and a walk to the harbourfront, all in good company, made for a great start to my last day of duty. I had RSVP’d to go to the Rooftop party being hosted by Audio Blood but there simply wasn’t enough time. I hear it was a blast though. Next time, guys, next time!

Saturday night was kicked off by the ever-adorable band, The Elwins; followed by an enchanting band from France called Revolver; The Mark Inside rocked the house after that; Rikers rocked even harder; The Bright Light Social Hour, however, really brought the house down, or at the very least, their fans did.

Having no shows scheduled at the Gladstone on Sunday, I slept in and involuntarily-but-happily dreamt about more bands and shows. I cured it by going to see Ocasan again later that night at the El Mocambo. And while life didn’t end there, this recap is going to because that’s all that’s NXNE related I’m willing to share.

And now it’s over and I have been trying to find ways to make my life feel as exciting and as important as it was when NXNE was around. When that fails, I’m going to try to bask in the gloriousness of being ordinary and welcome the downtime because I know it won’t last long.

What was your NXNE experience like?

  1. in quotations because it felt more like a privilege than a job to be there keeping the show running []
  2. Jason Howlett & Casie Stewart? Double Whammy of hotness! []
  3. currently on tour with Counting Crows []
  4. if I gave it all away in this blog post, you’d have no incentive to attend the talk would you? []
  5. we’re on Friday, in case you lost track []
  6. till 10:30am []