Colin Smith Photography

What do you get when you mix a killer festival lineup with clear blue skies, some of the best food trucks you’ll see roll around and more floral headbands than a flower child convention? Day 2 of Rock the Shores 2016. Atomique Productions nailed it for the second day in a row and had crowds begging for more as the festival reached beyond the island borders to welcome in acts from all over Canada.

Festivalgoers were kept on their sandal-clad toes with a range of music in genre-diversity and style sure to keep even the most seasoned music fan entertained and engaged. These same music lovers who came out yesterday in support of our local hometown heroes came back with their friends today to pack out the West Shore Parks & Rec Centre.

In an effort to provide the community with the most ecologically responsible event possible, festival attendees were encouraged to carpool and ride bikes this weekend. There was also a request by the festival for food trucks to make as little waste as possible, including no lids or straws for beverages – every little bit helps. RTS had festival volunteers combing the crowd and gathering up garbage to keep the pristine lawn as clear as possible. Personally speaking, it’s nice to be sharing an earth with these folks.

As for the music, Saturday’s lineup did not disappoint. The day woke to a gorgeous performance by Fintan O’brien. Festivalgoer Abby Paterson says of O’brien, “Fintan’s music is as engaging as it is inspiring. You want to hang on every lyric.” Top words for such a young musician, and well deserved. Next in line was Year of the Wolf, a band with great heart and a fun, relaxed stage presence.

A standout performance of the day was brought to us by Royal Tusk, catalysts for raising the festival bar. These Edmonton, AB natives brought a boldly definitive and cohesive sound rooted in rock with sparks of reggae, soul and metal. Genre bending done well, Royal Tusk displayed a delicate balance of noted influences, a carefully and professionally woven tapestry of varied styles and thoughtful guitar parts. Lead vocalist Daniel Carriere says of their song writing style, “We play what we want to listen to and say yes to what we like. We respect each other’s musicianship.” A simple enough approach, yet humbly boasts of their confidence to create music organically and trust each others abilities and musical direction, which was apparent during each indulgent, but damn-well-welcomed post song jam.

Dear Rouge brought the festival it’s first woman’s perspective, which blew through the grounds like a gust of fresh air. With a Peak Performance win and a Juno for Breakthrough Group of the Year under their belts, these guys came to party like professionals. Lead by Drew and Danielle McTaggart, the alternative dance-rock band had an intoxicating spirit and with tight melodies, pulsing beats and Danielle’s strong vocals, Dear Rouge enticed the crowd to spend some energy dancing their faces off in the hot sun.

If there was a moment of the day the festival as a whole paused, it was the second Big Wrek hit the stage. Lead vocalist Ian Thornley had the crowd’s attention from the first note and gave them exactly what they were hoping for – a performance filled with nostalgia and a glorious tribute to rock and roll. The chorus of voices chiming in to “Albatross” matched the festival’s sound system with allegiance and fervor and the whole performance left festivalgoers as satisfied as Christmas dinner.

The New Pornographers had festivalgoers moving with their indie dance pop anthems. Their sound was bright, bold and inviting, inspiring the festival to collectively perk up to it’s happy place with catchy hooks and infectious beats. This band met the gorgeous Vancouver Island day with a positively fun and engaging performance.

Hail to The Cat Empire, a band whose energy was unmatchable and not only invited, but demanded a good time be had by all. Festivalgoer Meghan Laidlaw said, “It was impossible to stand still if you were down front”. The crowd danced so hard that they might have broken the floorboards, if there were any. With influences of jazz, ska, reggae and a hell of a lot of drumming, this Melbourne, Victoria band of Aussies brought a serious party to Rock the Shores this year and amped up the energy of the day.

The lights were low and a blue haze came over the stage, setting the atmosphere for Rock the Shores’ final act of the night. A hush fell over the crowd as City and Colour gave a hauntingly beautiful and moving performance. Singer Dallas Green’s voice dripped off each lyric in a way that made you desperate for more while it danced over ambiently reflective and darkly lavish melodies. What a way to end a summer night.

Day 2 of Rock the Shores 2016 left us sweetly satisfied and pleasantly exhausted.

Day three gets underway at noon today. Tickets available at the gate all day.

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