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Three years ago, 10,000 music lovers convened on the grassy grounds of Toronto’s Fort York to celebrate the 10th anniversary of what had, by then, already become considered by many, Canada’s quintessential record label.

The guest of honour that day was Arts & Crafts (A&C), four-time winner of Independent Label of the Year at the Canadian Music Awards, Juno favourite (see picture below for proof) and curator over a roster of artists that includes: Broken Social Scene, Stars, Timber Timbre, Apostle of Hustle, Cold Specks, The Stills, Dan Mangan, Hayden, The Darcys and international indie-pop superstar, Feist, among others.

And from the likes of those talents, the anniversary showcase was plucked, a compilation album was recorded (Arts & Crafts: X) and an annual tradition was spawn.

“Our hope was that it could be bigger than the anniversary festival,” says Jeffrey Remedios, label co-founder. “We’d gone all over the world, and been to music festivals everywhere, and had always said, on the positive side, ‘someone should really do that in Toronto,’ and on the negative side, ‘if we ever threw a music festival, it would be way better than this or this.’ And so, Field Trip was born.”

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A humble Remedios chuckles as he shares the “negative” side of his thought, but what he’s created, along with label co-founder, musician Kevin Drew and A&C’s head of events and programming, Aaron Miller (whom Remedios credits for naming and branding Field Trip) is in fact, well…better, in comparison to a large chunk of festivals out there. For the sake of being moderate though, let’s just say it’s different—in all the right un-big box ways.

As for the secret to formulating such an anomaly, according to Remedios, it was a simple matter of staying true to the label’s roots. “We wanted to identify key themes that were important to us, that were entrenched in the ethos of Arts & Crafts as we built it over ten years.” So, as he shares, parallel to the label, the philosophy behind Field Trip is focused on “discovery, community and collaborations.”

Distinctly Toronto, Field Trip has reached far across the local community to gather together a mélange of the city’s best cultural fare, broadening collaborations to extend beyond just music.

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“The other stuff—the non-music part of Field Trip—is such a big part of it, and as we go forward and grow, a lot of what is exciting is trying new things and getting out of our comfort zone,” explains Miller. “The ability to grow what’s happened organically at Arts & Crafts, and export that into all the different areas of our community as people in Toronto is, personally, very exciting.”

At Field Trip, Toronto residents are invited to discover their city. They’re temped to taste its diverse food offerings, courtesy chefs such as Anthony Rose and some of the city’s beloved food trucks, including Zane Caplansky’s Thunderin’ Thelma. They’re drawn into its art scene, with installations created by talent ranging from Heather Goodchild to Golden Age Botanicals. They’re welcome to enjoy its playfulness, celebrated at the ground’s Day Camp where kiddies (FYI: children under 12 receive free festival entrance) can listen to sets by Canadian icons Sharon & Bram of “Skiddy-Mer-Rink-A-Doo” fame, when not buoying about a bouncy castle. And, of course, they’re moved to fall in love (for the first time or again) with Toronto’s wealth of musical talent, side-by-side visiting guest performers such as My Morning Jacket and Father John Misty.

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“Together, it’s a more meaningful and exciting experience,” says Remedios of assembling the festival’s cross section of local culture. The truth in this sentiment, hung in the air at A&C’s recent Field Trip preview dinner, where media were invited to a small sampling of festival offerings. On the evening’s menu were: delicious bites served up by the aforementioned chef Rose and engaging conversation with festival artists, such as pop singer-songwriter, Andy Kim. The legend acclaimed for writing hits including The Archies’ “Sugar, Sugar,” Kim’s most recent musical venture, sees him collaborating with A&C’s own, Kevin Drew. For festival-goers who have yet to hear Kim’s album, It’s Decided—released this past February—we predict a visit to Field Trip’s onsite store to pick up the record, once you’ve heard Kim and Drew harmonizing on stage.

After spending time with Remedios and Miller, it’s clear that Field Trip’s disposition is a product of its reverential architects. “Festivals do something very special, they bring people together,” says Remedios. “I love the faces on the people there—the wonder on them. I look for that.” Miller’s feelings are complementary. “It’s incredibly rewarding because you get to do something for your city, your community and for the artists you work with,” he shares.

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Unlike other festivals, where a preoccupation with the “scene” can detract from the talent on stage, Field Trip has managed to cultivate a genuine and refreshing down-home attitude; oddly enough, similar to one that you might find at a small town county fair. Translation: less people spending the day posting Instagram shots of themselves in Aztec print crop tops and jean shorts with the hashtag, #ICantEven, more people actually out to explore, be entertained and immerse themselves in a curated music and arts festival. Bottom line, Field Trip loves Toronto, and the city loves it right back.

Gearing up for the June 6th kick-off, Field Trip artists take a moment to take our festival questionnaire, and share their thoughts on music and this year’s lineup.

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In-Conversation-with-Dan-Mangan

Describe the experience of listening to the first song that defined you as an aspiring musician, according to the following categories:

Name of band and track?

Street Spirt” by Radiohead.

How old were you?

Fifteen.

What were you wearing?

Likely cargo pants and a baggy T-shirt.

What did your hair look like?

Shaved head. Looked ridiculous…skaters were “in.”

How did the song make you feel?

I remember listening to it about 12 times in a row after a particularly shitty day at school, and thinking I wanted it played at my funeral. Teenagers are dramatic.

Which of the festival’s bands/singers would you throw elbows for in order to get a good sit?

Looking forward to My Morning Jacket. Saw them at The Commodore with Doves in like 2001.

If you could crash and join any band’s show at the festival, which would it be?

Currently planning on sporting a bunny suit and cuddling with Josh Tillman (Father John Misty) during “Every Man Needs a Companion.”

What three things would you recommend all festival-goers bring with them to Field Trip?

Teeth. Ears. Eyes.

Fill in the blank, Urban Outfitters is to Coachella what […] is to Field Trip?

Laser Tag at the CN Tower.

Do you like experimenting with the composition of songs when you perform live, or do prefer to play them straight, and have them sound as close to the record as possible?

They have to live on their own. You gotta scrap the recording.

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In 50 words or less, describe the mood and sound of your latest album.

A really, really, really, really good trip that realigns the balance of the universe.

What is your latest album’s totem and why this particular animal?

Rob Ford. An icon of self-denial and all the reasons why we reinforce that state of mind.

Describe your most unforgettable music festival moment.

We closed down the 125th birthday of Vancouver in Stanley Park. The mayor played tambourine.

Finish this sentence: Field Trip 2015 is…

Like the Spice Girls. It’s everlasting like the sun.

Arts-And-Crafts-In-Conversation-with-Andy-Kim

Describe the experience of listening to the first song that defined you as an aspiring musician, according to the following categories:

Name of band and track?

The Beatles, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand.”

How old were you?

Twelve.

What were you wearing?

My leopard print pyjamas.

What did your hair look like?

Like any kid on the way to puberty…lost.

How did the song make you feel?

I remember watching that performance changed my inner world.

Which of the festival’s bands/singers would you throw elbows for in order to get a good sit?

My Morning Jacket.

If you could crash and join any band’s show at the festival, which would it be and why?

My Morning Jacket because the band was formed in the ‘90s, when songs were still being written by musicians and not machines.

What three things would you recommend all festival-goers bring with them to Field Trip?

A free spirit…wonder & unlimited imagination.

Do you like experimenting with the composition of songs when you perform live, or do prefer to play them straight, and have them sound as close to the record as possible?

I used to emulate my hits because when I go to a concert, I don’t want to hear versions of my favourite songs. These days, if I feel in the mood to change a song or two, I’ll first alert the audience and see how it goes.

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In 50 words or less, describe the mood and sound of your latest album.

It’s the album I always dreamed of making…

Describe your most unforgettable music festival moment.

Seeing Elvis in Houston Texas

Finish this sentence: Field Trip 2015 is…

Everything.