All Torontos Parties

Musical super-groups to collide in Kensington Market

All Toronto's Parties is back with its second installment on Saturday May 24 for a multi-stage, multi-discipline arts and music festival in the heart of Kensington Market, just one day before the re-launch of Pedestrian Sundays. Put together by a braintrust that includes programmers from blogs/labels/indie promotion companies Weird Canada, Wavelength, Feast In The East, Pleasence, Healing Power, and Silent Shout, the collective aims to build on the inaugural event with a unique concept for this sprawling outdoor/indoor edition.

"It's all super-groups. We're getting bands and different artist to collaborate, to do one-offs or super limited projects," explains Weird Canada's Jesse Locke. "The idea came from one of the Wyrdfests we had in Calgary. Dirty Beaches pulled the guys from Tonstartsbandht and Hobo Cubes up on stage with him and was like 'or the set, were just going to improvise.' It was amazing - the standout set of the whole festival. So we thought 'what about a whole festival of just super-groups? That would be awesome.' That's how it came together."

With five daytime events spread across Kensington Market, All Toronto's Parties II will take curious festival-goers to some unexpected spots around the neighbourhood. "We're doing [the live sets] in weird locations. We have bands playing in the Crow's Nest barbershop, and The Castlevania set is going to be inside the Krudar Muay Thai kickboxing ring, which will be super cool," says Locke.

Crowds will undoubtedly be treated to some memorable performances from groups culled together from a veritable who's who of emerging talent. Isla Craig, Castlevania (Members of Ketamines + Castle If), Bong Water (Skull Bong + HVYWTR), Valerie Dour, and Elrichman will all play with set times staggered across the participating venues (for a full schedule, check their website).

Locke sees this event as being much bigger than just the bands, noting the benefits of All Toronto's Parties to the local community. "We introduced the idea to different vendors and every one was pretty excited," he says. "It's a community building kind of thing. They want more visitors, and having live music in the venues and shops helps everyone."

Man Made Hill

The event organizers (all skadillion of them) are proud of the line-up they've put together. Locke speaks with much admiration of the programming team: "it's a five-headed Hydra. We're all making our own contributions. Everybody brought bands and ideas to the table."

Locke tells me the event came together seamlessly, even down to using a moniker inherited from Wavelength's Jonny Dovercourt. "Jonny had actually come up with the name in the 90s but had never really been able to use it for anything," Locke recalls. "It just seemed like the perfect fit. It was pulling from all different corners of Toronto's Music scene and ramming them together. I think the super-group concept takes it a step further... a true cross-pollination. All of Toronto's parties under one roof."

The line-up hits hard with a main evening event taking place at The Comfort Zone featuring performances by Darlene Shrugg (Members of: Slim Twig / US Girls / Tropics / Ice Cream), Frisch Kind (Members of: Fresh Snow + Jamie Kidd), Nature (Members of Sexy Merlin / Man Made Hill / Ketamines / Seance Centre), Abra Cadaver (Wolfcow / Bile Sister), and Wildlife Rodeo (Transcendental Rodeo / Doc Dun / Famous Wildlife Movies / Mike Smith). Check out this handy map, or learn more on their website.

Writing by Evan Sue-Ping. Photo of the Ketamines by Matt Forsythe, Man Made Hill by Bruce Emberley.


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