What to See this Weekend at Bestival Toronto

Bestival Toronto 2016
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Last year, Rob Da Bank‘s long-running music and arts extravaganza, Bestival, made its international debut on Toronto Island. This year, the festival will return to the city for its second instalment, despite a few unforeseen difficulties with ferries at last year’s event.

Learning from last year’s mistakes, the festival’s promoters have turned their attention inland, relocating the event to Woodbine Park. The former racetrack will serve as the grounds for three stages (Main, Big Top, Bollywood), an inflatable church, a dress up tent and a handful of other activities. There will also be a number of food and liquor vendors on-site to serve the needs of hungry visitors. Other notable attractions will include a costume party, marching bands, parade, circus troupes, a yarn bombing installation, and a live mural painting.

But like any music festival of this calibre, the main attraction will, of course, be the artists. To headline this year’s festival, da Bank has roped in Tame Impala and The Cure, who will play the main stage on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Joining them will be a number of fellow heavy-hitters, including Grimes, ODESZA, Jamie xx, Daughter and Porter Robinson. However, for those of you interested in expanding your horizons, there are plenty of other promising young artists worthy of your time and consideration.

So, without further adieu, here is our list of 5 must-see performers at Bestival 2016…

1. Pusher

Pusher is one of a few local artists who will be attendance at Bestival, but he's the only musician to have a reached the top spot on Hypem's highly sought-after popular charts—and for good reason. With his penchant for arpeggios and distinct 8-bit sound, the young producer has quickly established a following for himself, while drawing comparisons to the likes of Wave Racer and fellow Bestival performer, Giraffage. Having recently signed a booking deal with AM Only, expect to see Pusher's name plenty more in the months to come.


While MAALA is one of only two pop artists performing at the Bestival this year, he's far from an unexpected addition to the lineup. At only 20-years-old, the young singer/songwriter has already caught the attention of blogs and labels alike with his deep, electronic-leaning sound. And if his latest single is anything to go by, his performance at Bestival promises to be a treat to the ears.

3. Classixx

In his review of 2013's Hanging Gardens, former Pitchfork staffer Larry Fitzmaurice described Classixx's debut album as a "decadent trifle to lose yourself in, a deceptively simple record that has the potential for great longevity." Three years later, Fitzmaurice's words still hold a great deal of truth. But, if you thought the Los Angeles duo couldn't repeat the success of their debut album, you'd be sorely mistaken. With contributions from Passion Pit's Michael Angelekos, T-Pain, and a clutch of others, Classixx's latest album, Faraway Reach, should give you reason enough to watch their performance on Sunday afternoon at the Big Top stage.

4. Skylar Spence

A seasoned DJ and an equally skilful producer, Skylar Spence has made a name for himself in Brooklyn and neighbouring boroughs with his upbeat and wildly energetic performances. While Bestival is an entirely different beast, we have reason to believe Spence will recapture the magic of his live set at Woodbine Park. Who knows, if you're lucky, you might hear a song or two from his deep vault of unreleased material.


While BLAJK are a well-known name around these parts, the group are still in the early stages of their career. Despite this, the band have shown considerable promise over the last year, with a steady string of singles to show for it. So, if you know what's good for you, you'll check out their live set before they make their inevitable breakout.

Matt Pendrill

Editor-in-Chief | matt@indiecurrent.com View all post →