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Toronto Island Concert with Broken Social Scene

Posted by Roger Cullman / June 21, 2010

Toronto Island Concert with Broken Social SceneSailing across to the Toronto Island on Saturday, one could only think, "Hey, weatherman! Erroneous!" With last year's Toronto Island Concert cancelled -- allegedly due to noise from the also occurring Honda Indy -- the thunderstorms forecast for Saturday's all-day concert were ominous.

But like the circling seagulls, Toronto (well, those that weren't taking in free shows at Yonge-Dundas Square for NXNE) saddled up on the rammed ferry and took in Toronto's indie sweethearts, Broken Social Scene and their indie-god brethren. To get it out of the way, this would include: Timber Timbre, Beach House, Band of Horses and the nostalgia-inducing Pavement.

Toronto Island Concert with Broken Social SceneLike every time Broken Social Scene comes back home, their friends -- all indie champions in their own right, including Emily Haines, Feist, James Shaw and Sebastian Grainger (of Death From Above 1979 fame) -- made an appearance, to the crowd's contentment.

Toronto Island Concert with Broken Social SceneAnd like all big outdoor concerts go, the typical was apparent. Bouncing beach balls made an appearance. Beer and food lines were bloody absurd (commenters, do your thing below). Police carved around the island with riot gear attached to the back of their bikes. Inane, I know. And a sea of young, sun-kissed patrons stood below a weatherman-be-damned blue sky and soaked up a day of indie glory.

Toronto Island Concert with Broken Social SceneDue to ridiculously long ferry lines, I missed the idyllic yet haunting sounds of Timber Timbre. The critically-acclaimed artist and Arts & Crafts label-mate to Broken Social Scene and Zeus (who opened the concert), was well received by a swelling crowd, according to a couple of fans I caught up with.

Toronto Island Concert with Broken Social SceneLike the majority of the concert-goers, I arrived for Pitchfork-praising buzz band Beach House (pictured above).

As the beer lines mounted, the dream-pop duo had the docile crowd nodding to their hook-heavy, spacey tunes. Although lacking in much stage presence -- although you don't expect much presence from a melodic indie band -- singer Victoria Legrand was full of quips. "Thank you... for getting suntans," she said to the crowd after tying up a song. In summary, Beach House was chill, dreamy and refreshing.

Toronto Island Concert with Broken Social SceneAs Band of Horses took to the massive black stage, fully equipped with beards and denim shirts, a sizable crowd embarked on the island.

Toronto Island Concert with Broken Social SceneNo strangers to large festivals or crowds (having played Glastonbury Festival, SXSW and T in the Park) Ben Bridwell and co. played their spot-on, infectious hits from their earlier two albums.

Leading off with Island on the Coast, The Great Salt Lake and Is There a Ghost, Band of Horses were composed and seemingly giddy. Like Broken Social Scene, Band of Horses have a recently minted album out, Infinite Arms, from which they played the songs Factory and Laredo. But the indie-cum-alternative-rock quintet mainly stuck to their earlier catalog of ditties. By the end of their set, they had the crowd waving with both arms in the air.

Toronto Island Concert with Broken Social SceneAnd then came the obvious crowd-pleasers, Broken Social Scene.

You know, the band with both a book, This Book is Broken and movie This Movie is Broken, about them. A bunch of beach balls came out to dance with the clouds and seagulls as Kevin Drew's small army of rockers jumped into the new single, World Sick.

Toronto Island Concert with Broken Social SceneStarting with a meager eight people onstage, at one point through the two-hour performance I counted some 14 musicians doing their thing. In between songs, it was like watching mechanics tune a car in the pit stop at the Indy 500.

As the art collective is wont to do, they were constantly bringing friends onstage, including the aforementioned Feist and Haines, who harmonized on Sentimental X's. And a full horn section was added for all-systems-go songs like Meet Me in the Basement. Aside from some minor technical difficulties -- Drew's pedals weren't working and a blown amp -- BSS clearly pleased.

Toronto Island Concert with Broken Social SceneThe set list fused their classics like Cause = Time, 7/4 (Shoreline), and Andrew Whiteman's Fire Eye'd Boy with most of the new tracks from Forgiveness Rock Record. Drew, donning a fedora, shades, a blue tank top and long hair, was in his element. Interacting with the crowd between songs, he talked about the honour of playing with his idols in Pavement and that all the vendors (including Caplansky's Deli and Big Fat Burrito) were Toronto independents and not of the Pizza Pizza variety.

Toronto Island Concert with Broken Social SceneDrew even tossed in a tirade against the upcoming G20 summit that's invading Toronto, calling it "a giant circle jerk." He also chortled that he'd love to see a photo op of Obama at the Huntsville-bound Weber's burger joint.

Toronto Island Concert with Broken Social SceneIt was good to see so many younger kids in attendance. Especially those wearing ear protection.

Toronto Island Concert with Broken Social SceneAs we were only allowed to bring one sealed bottle of water with us onto the island for this event, many chose to forgo the $2.50-a-small bottle of water scam in favour of lining up to fill their own bottle at one of two drinking fountains on site. One of those two fountains was broken, creating a bit of a commotion at the side of the fountain.

Toronto Island Concert with Broken Social SceneAs the sun hid its face behind the island's ring of trees, Pavement took to a Toronto stage for the first time in a decade.

The crowd was a little diminished at this point. Presumably, Toronto didn't want to miss out on the other aging rockers, Iggy and the Stooges, who were playing a free gig at Yonge-Dundas Square starting at 9 p.m.

But Pavement, equipped with a dedicated cult following, delivered to the fans. The fans including both Kevin Drew and Band of Horses' Ben Bridwell, who joined Pavement for Kennel District. Both were clearly ecstatic by the honour. The epitome of '90s indie rock, the California band blasted their feel-good lo-fi rock. It was all well-received nostalgia with hits like, Fight This Generation, Father to a Sister of Thought and Shady Lane. It was one of those down-memory-lane-we-go moments for sure.

Toronto Island Concert with Broken Social SceneWith slowly darkening skies, we headed back to the ferry where we drifted back to the lights of the city and sounds of NXNE. And oh, one last time: Take that, weatherman!

Writing by Ryan Bolton. Photos by Roger Cullman Photography.



Rob / June 21, 2010 at 09:29 am
Ugh...I can just imagine the stench
queefqueen / June 21, 2010 at 09:36 am
Pavement were amazing. The beer line was completely absurd. It was the most sober I've been at an outdoor festival. Total amateur hour.
tim / June 21, 2010 at 09:42 am
wish i could have been there! put your hands up in the air
anon / June 21, 2010 at 09:50 am
I wasn't there to get drunk but c'mon - the lineup was sad. It felt like bible camp, lineups for everything and you could tell that a lot of people were bored and frustrated.
rakesh / June 21, 2010 at 09:54 am
BSS were amazing but Pavement owned this fest.
melanie / June 21, 2010 at 09:55 am
I HAVE NEVER had a worse experience at a concert!! I came to see the bands ....however spent upward of 4hours!!!! just to get a beer Ticket !!! Waited another hour in a line that snaked around in circles, it did NOT poorly organized. Ruined my entire day! Thank goodness they gave me my money back for the beer tickets. It was horrible! The bands seemed wonderful, I could hear them.. but couldn't move out of my line-up spot. Oh, and i tried to get some food...another outrageous waiting time..then when i finally reached the food staff..they had run out of the item i wanted. I'm actually still upset about my whole friggin weekend that i was so looking forward to, being ruined by the Pathetic Organizers of this Concert.
A total mess. The best part of the weekend was the ferry ride back to Toronto, beautiful skyline at night.
j / June 21, 2010 at 10:14 am
The music was amazing... and all the bands who played did great sets and what a fantastic line up!! What I didn`t like was `lining up`!!! Someone should expose the fact that you were NOT aloud to bring in water bottles to the licenced areas, and you had to wait in the same ridiculously long line to get beer as to get water. The beer situation was absolutely ridicuous. Rumour has it that the island concerts are ALWAYS like that in an effort to curb people drinking too much. There is always going to be that dumb chad who gets drunk and vomits on his flip flops...but why ruin it for us??????
Green! / June 21, 2010 at 10:14 am
I don't normally complain - for real! I have to agree with the last comment. That was the WORST planned outdoor concert I have ever been to in the 15 + years I have been attending such events. I spent the entire day either in line or waiting for my friends who were in line. I don't know if they over sold tickets or just didn't think that many people would show up. The line to a.) get into the beer area, b.) get a beer ticket, c.) get a beer were so ridiculous is wasn't even worth it. Not to mention all the ridiculous rules without reason. 1.) no blankets allowed because of fire code????, 2.) no sealed water bottles allowed in the beer area????? The only place you could buy water (since I had to throw out the sealed bottle that I brought before entering the beer area, that the website informed me I could bring) was the 2 hour beer line? Clearly this needs to be better planned!
Mrblack / June 21, 2010 at 10:17 am
Who were the organizers of this anyway? if it wasn't for wanting to see Pavement there is no way I would have lasted...beyond ridiculous, it's almost like it was engineered to be as annoying as possible to get food or alcohol...and making people throw away their water in order to enter the beer tent was a nice touch...lame.
SHERRY MARN / June 21, 2010 at 10:21 am
albert / June 21, 2010 at 11:27 am
I encourage anyone to contact the organizers, Collective Concerts, with their complaints. I know that they will be getting an earful from me.
anon / June 21, 2010 at 11:33 am
My friend said that it's been like that for years, the lineups - especially for beer. He thinks it might have been a crowd control tactic - but still, that kind of information should probably be communicated before I shell out $60 to enjoy a festival. We almost left in the middle of the day because it was so lame. We waited it out because of the 15 year wait to see Pavement live.
Mike / June 21, 2010 at 12:06 pm
I didn't go to this show, strictly because it was on the Island and all of my previous experiences with concerts there were unpleasant.

Having read the majority of these comments, it seems as if these people had carbon-copy experiences to mine. This is the 4th year (I think) of shows being held at the island and there seemingly hasn't been a single infrastructural improvement since the first concert.

The whole set-up is a nightmare.
stavros / June 21, 2010 at 12:24 pm
I have to agree... with all respect for the excellent musicians and wonderful lineup - this was the worst organized concert I have ever attended. I was not allowed to bring in even a tiny amount of food or water (or my small SLR camera for some BS reason) but then was forced to lineup for the entire day to get some food. I paid $10 for a single burger with nothing on it. Security was even trying to prevent people from looking at the skyline by the water...

A band of BSS's quality, community and politics should never willingly associate themselves with a promoter this terrible at best and corrupt at worst.

Anyone who has ever been to Guelph's 'Hillside festival' will know what the gold standard is. I challenge someone to organize an outdoor show that can approach that level or respect for the concert goers themselves.

jb / June 21, 2010 at 12:26 pm
great music. BSS is a group of gods amongst men....
However it was the most poorly organized outdoor even i have ever been too. Could not believe when Kevin Drew called out the organizer in praise, was he being sarcastic? was it his way of deflecting the inevitable backlash? pure amateur hour and everyone one stage knew it.
melanie / June 21, 2010 at 12:29 pm
i totally understand controlling alcohol consumption at a concert. However, this was far beyond that! The price of the beer usually curbs consumption. That makes business sense to me!? In fact i think there's a bigger risk of people becoming disruptive because of insane process to get something to eat or drink!! We're patient people in Toronto, we understand line ups...but this was so was so inconsiderate! People wanted to watch the Bands! not stand in line ups for hours and hours! This was my first Toronto island concert...never again..if it's true that last weekend is "normal" on the island. People paying money to go see a band playing should never be treated that way. It was absolutely disgusting!
James / June 21, 2010 at 12:31 pm
uhh to those of you complaining about lines: were we at the same concert? Lines for food were absurdly short. In fact, my girlfriend and I, at 6:00 managed to get a sandwich from caplansky's and fries at the fry truck (so we waited in two lines) in 5 minutes total. My friends had similar experiences at other times of the day. The only somewhat lengthy line was for ice cream and lemonade and even those were only 10mins or so and for beer, which we didn't bother with anyways (and it's not like the beer gardens were that far form the stage. You could watch the show quite well while waiting in line).

The folks who put on the show did a great job all around I thought, and it was certainly better than previous island shows I've been to.
hizzo / June 21, 2010 at 12:36 pm
Yeah dude, you must have been at another show. The food lines weren't that bad, but the beer lines were chaotic at best. I'll never do another island concert again.
James / June 21, 2010 at 12:38 pm
I should also add that I didn't even wait in line for a ferry. Got directly on a ferry going to and from the island each way.
melanie / June 21, 2010 at 12:41 pm
for sure you were at another concert James. Glad you enjoyed it.
Aaron / June 21, 2010 at 12:42 pm
This definitely was a poorly planned concert. I had been to the Island for another show (VFest '07), and we actually noticed HOW WELL it was set up. This was like Amateur Hour compared to that... Who's bright idea was it to scan tickets on the tiny walking bridge to Olympic Island? That was the most ridiculous bottle neck I've seen in a while. And the "Security"? Doing checks on bags, but needing to check with each other to see if it's okay to let people through, person-by-person?

The free BSS concert last year at the Harbourfront Centre was WAY better by comparison
79 / June 21, 2010 at 12:43 pm
James - well, I guess it was your lucky day!

The ONLY lineup I was expecting was the ferry. Not only did we get this, but spent 3/4 of the concert in some lineup or another.

j-rock / June 21, 2010 at 12:43 pm
To echo most of the previous comments, the beer line was the one major downer on the day. I luckily got there pretty early, but still waited in line for 45 minutes. I heard that it got up to 2+ hours later in the day. That really needs to be addressed. I've been to outdoor shows and festivals where there was none of that type of chaos. It was just really shoddy planning. I did enjoy a lot of the music, and it was really nice to see Pavement again. And the weather, despite predictions of thunderstorms, was absolutely glorious.
AV / June 21, 2010 at 12:58 pm
Anyone on here ever ponder the idea of going to a concert to just see the bands? I mean, do you have to be drunk at every show you go to? Logic would say (to me at least) that a 2hr lineup wasn't worth a 10$ beer.

latfh indeed
queefqueen replying to a comment from AV / June 21, 2010 at 01:10 pm
The only reason I attended was to see Pavement, AV. Getting drunk doesn't even factor into the equation when one has to wait 2 hours for a beer.
Leah / June 21, 2010 at 01:10 pm
Yeah, gotta agree with James: I had no line problems. The line for dinner only took 10 minutes, and it was a really good dinner. And after finding out the beer line was an hour long? Well. Just did my drinking _after_ the show.

Good music! And totally _perfect_ day for it.
handfed / June 21, 2010 at 01:15 pm
next time, bring a flask
eyeofsauron replying to a comment from handfed / June 21, 2010 at 01:19 pm
So that they can confiscate it at security? Sounds good.
melanie / June 21, 2010 at 01:26 pm
didn't want to get drunk...just wanted a couple of cold beers, and a plate of food to enjoy while watching concert on a beautiful sunny day...oh well i learned my lesson, never again at that venue.
Meghan / June 21, 2010 at 01:55 pm
If they were trying to limit drunkenness, not serving food in the beer gardens was the wrong way to go. It should have been much easier to get food and water. The long lines to get into the beer areas only encouraged people to stay put and drink more beer, rather than leave for food and risk not getting back in. Terrible planning.

The tunes were amazing though, and the horrendous organization didn't detract from that at all.
rek / June 21, 2010 at 02:16 pm
I went for the bands and had a great time. Brought a (sealed) 2L bottle of water with me, and ate before getting to the island. Am I the only one who knew it would be endless line-ups and arbitrary rules about where/when/what you can drink?

By all means, tell the organizers what you think they did wrong, but also let them know it was the first outdoor concert you've ever been to. ;P
zaz replying to a comment from rek / June 21, 2010 at 02:23 pm
I've been to many outdoor concerts. Five minute wait for beer/water at most. And it's not only the organizers who chalked up a major fail for this, but the archaic liquor laws here in Ontario. Heaven forbid I can walk around the venue with a cup of beer. Oh the madness! Protect the children! Major bs.
momo / June 21, 2010 at 02:43 pm
I left after 45 min. got back on the ferry and headed to a bar while my girlfriend waited in line for beer tickets. had a pint and got back on the ferry and made it back to hear some tunes. the whole time my girlfriend was still getting her beers, she thought I was in the the bathroom line the whole time. best concert ever.
Salomon / June 21, 2010 at 02:44 pm
Honestly, it wasn't that bad. I got a sandwich from Caplansky's in no time at all, and waited maybe 15 minutes for the ice cream truck (which is not bad considering how hot it was). There was a booth selling water right behind the sound booth that had no lines at all. Beer lines at these shows are always a pain, but that's why I avoid them.

The music was great, day was nice......what is there to complain about??
Marc / June 21, 2010 at 02:48 pm
In this day and age, unfortunately you cannot tell if some of the concert crowd are regular everyday people or ex-cons. I sure wouldn't like to be seen or grouped with the last one!
Meme / June 21, 2010 at 02:54 pm
Check out the arrogance of Jeff Cohen's reply to the line-up situatuion. I wonder he how he would feel if no one bought beer when they came to a show at the Horseshoe or Lee's? He's part owner in both of those bars.
Al / June 21, 2010 at 03:05 pm
The beer line looked crazy so i didn't go near it. I also didn't want to get a beer-sun dehydration headache. So i didn't. I mean, i get that we all like beer, but is it REALLY that good, REALLY, that you wreck the entire concert for yourself waiting in line for it? Come on. Who waits in line for 2 hours for a beer? Go a day without a beer.

My friends went to the beer garden from the beginning (sometime between 1 and 2), bought a million tickets and basically had to stay there all day or be forced to wait in the stuid line. My other friends and me split off from the group and watched the show all day, sans beer. Both sets of us had a GREAT time. And the food couldn't have been better. I went to the food area several times and the only time i waited more than 15 minutes in line (including when i went for ice cream) was when the coffee machine broke. I agree that most of the festival rules were dumb, but whatever. You roll with it.
meme / June 21, 2010 at 03:15 pm
BTW, I didn't want beer, my boyfriend did, but I left him in the line-up so I could go see the bands only to find out I couldn't get back into the "drinking area". I've seen line-ups at concerts before, but I've never had to line up just to get into the beer tent area. He gave up and cashed in his beer tickets (which they seemed to take a "commission" out of), but we were both so frustrated by then at the ineptitude of the whole thing that we left. And I don't know what concert some of these people were at, or if they bought their food/beer at 1pm when it opened, but the line-ups were definitely 2-3 hours long. My boyfriend was in the line-up for almost 3 hours and still hadn't gotten any beer :P

I'm also curious how "Momo" got back into the concert after taking the ferry back and having a pint? There was no re-entry and they would have had to pay another ferry charge.
suzy / June 21, 2010 at 03:23 pm
This was the WORSE event I have been to on the island and will NEVER go back for any A&C organized shows!
The lines were crazy for EVERYTHING....people were fighting while security guards stood back and did nothing.
My suggestion would be to make it 19+ or have more people at the food stands and drink stands.
All in all a COMPLETE waste of $60 bucks. Thanks BSS for seriously disappointing Toronto (again..)
kyliep / June 21, 2010 at 03:33 pm
Sounds like the concert was run by TTC management.
JennaBean / June 21, 2010 at 03:52 pm
While the music was great, I can't say I will ever return to a show on the island. It took us 1.5 hrs to get into the show. The beer lines were so long by the time we got there that we just didn't bother. Food wasn't so bad for dinner at 6 p.m (approx 20 mins) but the ice cream line after that took about 45 mins. However, all of that would have been ok. But where were the trash/recycling bins?

Why were there so many seagulls? BECAUSE OF THE GARAGE EVERYWHERE.

What were these people thinking?!?!? I'm still shaking my head.
William Self / June 21, 2010 at 04:34 pm
The music was outstanding as I had expected. Loved BSS / Band of Horses and everyone else but decided to cut out early missing Pavement. Didn't want to do it but I was worried I might be stuck on the Island al lnight the way things were organized.

Had to sell my beer tickets as the lineup to get back in was absolutely ludicrous. Same goes for the lineups for food as well as just to get in the show. We were permitted 1 litre of water to bring in to the show but wasn't allowed to bring it in the beer area. Come on!
Zed / June 21, 2010 at 04:57 pm
sounds like the most boring experience so far of the summer. Indie as in mainstream pop? outdoor fun as in corporate sponsorship, inadequate facilities, overpriced food and beverages, and too much security and police presence? long line ups for everything, even getting there and back from the mainland. No Thanks!
Lu / June 21, 2010 at 05:08 pm
I like others went to the show to enjoy the music, the sunshine and to have a couple of drinks. The line up's were ridiculous -- I would be curious to know if this was the city's fault or the organisers. I waited at least 40 mins for food (BTW, I applaud the use of local vendors!), then an hour to get into the beer tent, 45 mins to get tickets, then we gave up after an hour of waiting to get beer as BSS came on stage.

Also, there were hardly any garbage bins, so no wonder there was so much trash.

A shame, because otherwise it would have been a great day.
brian / June 21, 2010 at 05:14 pm
How long was the BSS set? Because that was how long I waited in line to GET IN to the beer tent...about 1 hour right?

then it was 10 mins to get tickets.

then it was about 30 mins to get a beer.

just in time to see pavement.

never again.
zimma / June 21, 2010 at 05:22 pm
Wow. The arrogance of Jeff Cohen's statement in the above Post article in response to the beer line fiasco is just too much. Mr. Cohen, the next time I visit your establishments for a show, I will refrain from buying a beverage at the bar and bring a flask instead. Arrogant twat.
AV / June 21, 2010 at 06:18 pm
The plan next time:

One person waits for beer tickets
One person waits for beer tent entry

Person with tickets meets person with place in line to beer tent.


Also, people need to get industrious at these shows... go buy beer tickets, then sell them to people in the beer line for an inflated cost. If they're stupid enough to wait 2hrs in a line, they'll be stupid enough to pay a higher price for tickets!.......
fin2limb / June 21, 2010 at 06:31 pm
This was my first time attending a festival on the Island. It's been awhile since I had been to an outdoor Festival. But I've been to them before and I can remember things like line-ups, rules and a security presence. Honestly, I can't really say that there was anything out of the ordinary at this years festival. I didn't have to wait long to get on a ferry.. maybe 15 min max both there and back (I was actually surprised by how many people they cram on the ferries). The line up to get into the gate moved steadily and didn't take that long. The line up for food and drinks (We ate before going to the island, so I only queued up for iced coffee, and a bottle of water) moved at a steady pace making for a reasonable wait. The line up for the portapotties was less than 5 minutes ( i went during Band of Horses set).

So I can't really complain about queues. That being said, I didn't think once about trying to get into the beer tent (I was still severely hung over from the night before ). But I saw the ridiculous line ups.. and they looked long and meandering. So I suppose if I wanted to enjoy a couple cold ones, then I may have more to complain about. But I can understand the frustration. Nobody wants to wait for extended periods!! Hopefully Collective Concerts can improve on this because Toronto needs a good summer rock festival like this (and lets not even get into V-fest)

Other things worth noting:
- there was a slight 1939 Nazi Germany feel to the event with the strict entry rules and security personnel guarding the borders of the island. I appreciate your concern for my safety (or your liability) mr. security guard, but I just wanted to take a picture of the Toronto skyline!
- The $65 dollar ticket price seems a bit steep to me. C'mon it's an indie concert. I think in and about $40 would be more reasonable, for a concert like this

Would I go again? Depends on the line up (the bill that is)! Keep it relevant and I'll go.

thewiz replying to a comment from AV / June 21, 2010 at 06:32 pm
AV, they'll be no next time for a lot of people after this. The ticket lines and the beer lines were completely disproportionate to each other. And I'm certain most concert goers have other things on their mind than embracing your suggested entrepreneurial spirit, like oh, maybe watching the show instead of designating Team Alpha and Team Beta and waiting in line for an hour and half for a beer. I hope future Collective Concerts/Cohen et. al projects crash and burn because of this.
over here / June 21, 2010 at 06:47 pm
Pile on!

Beer tents and water-related policies were terrible!

On the positive, I did like the use of local food vendors. I never did get a beer. What kinds were they serving?
bryan replying to a comment from melanie / June 21, 2010 at 06:58 pm
Perhaps your priorities were mixed up. Haha, I abandoned the beer line ten minutes in, came for the bands not for the overpriced beer.
Paige / June 21, 2010 at 07:20 pm
i drove 20 hours for the biggest rip off venue of a concert i have ever experienced. ever. where do i send my complaint letter? how do i get reimbursed?

i was told that i would be fined 500 dollars if i were to cross over a line of plants to look at the toronto skyline

there was no re-entry

we were told that we were not allowed to sit on the grass SEVERAL times by security/riot-gear cops

the lines to the bathrooms were an hour long

i spent 40 dollars on beer that i waited an accumulative 4 hours in line for (you couldn't bring your beer to the stage area either, nor leave the beer garden unless you were prepared to wait in 2 lines to re-enter), and didn't even get drunk. (7 beers in 5 hours is only a buzzKILL)

there was no water/toilet paper in the toilets

no food left

no merch left

we were not allowed to sit in the shade or "block the advertisements"

bring any type of food. or blankets. or SLR cameras.

we had had to wait in lines to wait in lines to wait in lines to wait in lines (get the point?)

where do I send my compaint letter?
dubdub replying to a comment from Paige / June 21, 2010 at 07:26 pm
Paige, send emails to:
Jeff Cohen, in particular - as he's the one who has basically given a F#$ you to concert goers in all of this.
the2scoops replying to a comment from Meme / June 21, 2010 at 07:34 pm
Good suggestions from the National Post - I've had worse concert experiences. The Rogers Picnic at Fort York had horrendous lines.

I gave up on the beer line and timed the food runs to the middle of the acts. Shame so many had a negative experience. Somehow we skirted the blanket issue ("this is a tarp"). Very inconsistent security organization and too many bylaws for organizers to comply with. Garbage left behind brought on a Hitchcock style bird swarm between sets.

And yes, Hillside Festival is the gold standard. Water trucks, quick beer lines, recycling onsite, reuseable water and beer cups.
meme replying to a comment from Paige / June 21, 2010 at 07:41 pm
You can complain to Jeff Cohen of Collective Concerts. He is also co-owner of The Horseshoe Tavern and Lee's Palace.
His email is

Once again, here is his response in the Post to complaints about the concert:
the2scoops replying to a comment from Meme / June 21, 2010 at 07:49 pm
Jeff, all you had to do was say "sorry and we'll do better". Now it just seems that it's hard to get sympathy from the VIP tent.
SC / June 21, 2010 at 08:38 pm
Honestly, I expect better things for the guys behind ATG. Normally they do such a stellar job with other shows around the city, I have no idea what happened at the Island this weekend. The music was great but the concessions, security and paternalistic/illogical rules... unbelievably dysfunctional. Amateur hour at best.

And yes Jeff, the line would take 2 hours if you didn't just give up waiting and sneak in at the front of the line. Perhaps that wasn't your experience as the promoter in the VIP tent. I spent half of Beach House and all of Band of Horses waiting to get beers. And we had people lining up in both lines to cut down the wait.

That response from Cohen was simply beyond the pale, was he even at the show?? I called their offices to complain today after reading that pedantic reply to the NP article. Way to insult people who want a beer on a hot Saturday afternoon and resent lining up (twice!! for tickets and then finally a drink) in excess of an hour to get one.

In case anyone else is interested, Collective Concerts can be reached here:

Or at 416.598.0720. Don't get too mad at the receptionist, it's not her fault that her bosses dropped the ball.
Jeff Cohen / June 21, 2010 at 09:15 pm
Actually, I said 'ITS REGRETTABLE' that would be REGRET on my part, and others, that music fans had to wait longer than 20-30 for either water, food, or beer

We had a DCFC show on the Island 2 years ago with no such problems, but this time around, it seems the audience was larger, older, and wanted food and drink in a much greater capacity than that of the DCFC crowd

It seems if you were on site early or between 1:00 and 4:00 the lines kept to a max 0-30 min wait, but from 4:30 to 8:30 (the peak hours) the lineups were long and the wait time truly excessive

I also said, it'll be fixed

AV / June 21, 2010 at 10:34 pm
lol, you're so full of lame excuses Jeff
Roger / June 21, 2010 at 11:26 pm
I took one look at the beer tent lineups and decided that this would be a day without beer altogether.

What annoyed me most was that I had to wander far away from the stage and even behind the food vendors at the very back just to find a drinking fountain. Only to find it broken. When I found the second drinking fountain on site (the only one that actually worked) there were a dozen people lining up, each trying to fill their water bottle.

And speaking of water, the portable hand-cleaning water outside the port-a-potties was either broken or out of water before BSS hit the stage. Unsanitary and unacceptable.

Why couldn't they have the City of Toronto set up a mobile water station like they have at other festivals. I think the Woofstock festival even had more available water for dogs! Inexcusable. And I still don't understand the reasoning behind making people throw away their water bottles prior to entering the beer tent. What were they afraid of? People filling their water bottles up with beer? The "bar staff" being pelted with empty water bottles?

And it appears that there wasn't any food or drink available in the drinking areas either. Good call on a hot, sunny day. Get 'em in, tired and dehydrated, waiting in line for hours and then deprive them of any water or nourishment. No wonder people are pissed.

It's disorganization like this that turns people away from what otherwise could've been a positive memorable concert festival experience.
meme / June 22, 2010 at 08:21 am
Don't forget what else you said Jeff:

"Jeff Cohen from Collective Concerts responds:

“3 Hrs?

Whatever you’re smoking can you send some over please.

The drama of it all."

Doesn't sound like much of an apology to me.
KL / June 22, 2010 at 10:30 am
Proof that even old-school punk rockers aren't immune to dollar signs.
Zed / June 22, 2010 at 11:32 am
"it seems the audience was larger, older, and wanted food and drink in a much greater capacity than that of the DCFC crowd"

Shut the FK up Cohen. You are obviously too money hungry and out of touch with reality to keep putting on events. Retire now old man, and stop craving food and drink when you do. Now if only people stop supporting these type of events, they may change. I for one have never attended a Molson Amphitheatre event, and the last Island event I attended was in the 90's when we all brought our own food and beverages in a cooler that was allowed.
markus / June 22, 2010 at 12:15 pm
you want to talk about poorly organized concerts? the stooges show at dundas square was really bad. NXNE decided to have a bunch of tents scattered throughout blocking the view of the stage for the people in the back and on the side street. very stupid. i mean, one tent had people playing "rock band" and other video games. why NXNE whyyyyyyyyyy.
amanda / June 22, 2010 at 12:29 pm
nothing like starving all day while listening to kevin drew self-agrandizingly suck his own dick. thanks for a great day, collective concerts.
clusterfuck / June 22, 2010 at 02:11 pm
The actual show was totally mindblowing and at least stage management did a good job at keeping the show running. I can't really comment on the sucky-ness of the beer tent situation as I managed to get VIP tickets so there was a beer station with 5 minute waits, and when my boyfriend ventured out to the main area to buy food from Urban Herbivore it took all of 15 minutes. But since that as all people could talk about on the ferry home and in the comments I'm assuming that overwhelmed the day with awful. How hard can it be Collective Concerts to realize that the fanbase for DCFC are mostly underaged and therefore won't be using the beer tents while the Pavement fanbase are going to be 20s-30s? Whatever you are smoking, send some over.
Annoyed / June 22, 2010 at 02:40 pm
Jeff Cohen's "apology" is absolutely infuriating. What an ignorant, backhanded insult to fans who spent a ridiculous amount of money to partake in the event.

"The drama of it all" was very real for those who spent TWO HOURS in line for beer, missing their favourite acts on stage. Not to mention the lack of functioning water fountains and sinks.

And to minimize the issue by saying that service was commendable during non-peak hours is idiotic. Would a restaurant pride itself on a short wait from 10am-12pm but not prepare for extra resources during known peak meal hours during lunch and dinner?

We know it's not a "beer festival" but when you offer a service, people expect at least sub-par delivery on that service. Otherwise, don't offer it at all. (How many people would have attended a "dry" event on the island, on a sunny day during NXNE??)

Jeff Cohen, your logic is puzzling and Collective Concerts can know they have lost a lot of respect with the amateur hour display on the island and even more repeat customers with this your despicable attitude.
JEff / June 22, 2010 at 03:50 pm
Hear, hear on the K. Drew self-congratulatory condescending BS. It bugged me more than the lines.
fin2limb replying to a comment from JEff / June 22, 2010 at 05:36 pm
That and Kevin Drews political banter! That turned me off.
Kate M.L. replying to a comment from Jeff Cohen / June 22, 2010 at 07:34 pm
not exactly the most classy nor contrite of responses from someone who should obviously know better. What a buffoon.
Mememe / June 22, 2010 at 07:51 pm
Give the dude a break. One show where the music was awesome but the concessions didn't work as planned. I can think of hundreds they've put on that did work. He's being attacked from all sides and maybe his response wasn't to peoples' liking. I love the island concerts and I'm sure that all the "suggestions" will be taken to heart...
Colin / June 23, 2010 at 01:58 am
Wow, there really seems to be a lot of negative comments on here. I guess I lucked out as far as the food lines, as I got a lemonade and an order of fries in under 10 minutes. However, this was when Timbre Timber were playing, so it was early in the day. I was also able to get water quite easily, where they were selling it behind the sound booth. As far as the line ups for beer, the way I see it, if you waited all that time just so you could get beer, it's your own fault. I like enjoying a nice, cold one as much as the next guy, but anyone could clearly see that those line ups were huge. I took one look and knew I wouldn't be getting any beer at all.

The performances were fantastic. It was the third time I've seen Broken Social Scene, and it was by far the best. Seeing Pavement was a dream come true, as it was something I never thought would happen.
AshK replying to a comment from Jeff Cohen / July 13, 2010 at 10:53 am
"the audience was larger, older, and wanted food and drink in a much greater capacity"

Well lets see - it was a (max) 9 hour concert at least 5 hours to get your money's worth on an ISLAND and you were not allowed to bring in your own food.

Why were you surprised about lines or people wanting food, at dinner time, on an island, with zero other food source and sketchy misinformation about whether people would be allowed to re-enter if they left.

If you sold tickets to (lets just say) 2000 people, and put them all on an island for 5 hours with no other food source I think it's fairly safe to assume that at least 1500 of them are going to want to eat something. (250 of the others didn't line up because there was nothing they could eat there and the other 250 were eaten by seagulls).
boopy / August 5, 2010 at 05:16 pm
As a person in the "VIP" tent, which I am every year on the Island. I usually can't complain. It's usually a lovely day with no lines chilling with friends who are playing, that tour most of the year that we never get to see.
However this year we had to wait in line for tickets and beer for over an hour during BSS. Which is BS (haha).

I'm sure the people in the General Admission area are thinking I'm a princess, but seriously a lack of organization in the VIP tent also. AND no water in the bathroom area, and burgers took 45 minutes. So if anyone in GA was envious of us, don't be. It totally sucked for us too.
I will seriously think twice about going to see my very dear friends in BSS next year.
Isn't that a shame?
Steve replying to a comment from boopy / August 5, 2010 at 08:42 pm
Boopy, you're so special. Can I know you, your VIP-ness? Clearly it would be an honour. Please?

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