virgin festival toronto

Virgin Festival 2009: the Good News and the Bad News

The Virgin Music Festival 2009 (the Ontario edition) announcement FINALLY dropped this morning, and thankfully the rumours were true... NIN will be headlining at this year's Vfest!

This year will also see appearances by Ben Harper & Relentless7, and the full line up boasts some impressive talent. But with the good news, comes the bad: an out-of-town (I mean WAY out-of-town) venue, and some interesting marketing tactics to monetize the event.

This year definitely promises to be an exciting new chapter in the Vfest saga and I've got all the line up, venue, ticketing and VIP details right here.

With NIN to headline in what *may* be their last north American show ever (if we believe Reznor) I'm already sold on this year's Virgin Music Festival; but most people will want the full benefit of the details before forking out the hefty ticket price.

So first, this year's line up... in order of how much I care:

Day 1

The Pixies
Ben Harper & Relentless7
Franz Ferdinand
Paolo Nutini
Grizzly Bear
The Rural Alberta Advantage
Down with Webster
Mates of State
Iglu and Hartly

Day 2... which is insanely stacked:

Mute Math
Pet Shop Boys
Our Lady Peace
Cold War Kids
The D'Ubervilles
Coeur de Pirate
The Von Bondies
Hyper Crush
Trouble Andrew
Silver Starling

Looks like Bacardi's B-Live tent has been completely scrapped this year in favour of the Virgin Radio stage, which will host artists Candy Coated Killahz, Anjulie, Sean Kingston, Melanie Fiona and The New Cities. I'm a bit disappointed to see that the dance/electronic stage is being downplayed, but then again the Day 2 main stage line up is pretty bangin' in its own right.

Now the other big questions...

When? August 29th and 30th, 2009 (hopefully guaranteeing warm weather!)

Where? Burl's Creek Park, Orillia (click for map) ...about an hour and a half drive from Toronto, in good traffic flow. Given the ferry escapades involved in getting to and from the Toronto Island in past years, it'll probably take most people the same amount of time to get to Vfest this year.

How much? The ticket price this year is deceptively cheap, at only $99 for BOTH days of the Festival. However, given the location is pretty far for most people, don't forget to factor in travel, food and accommodation.

Getting to the festival is probably best by car... the site will have free parking and is generally easy to get to. However organizers have promised that shuttle buses will also be available from the Barrie terminal; probably with similar logistical issues as the Island ferries, but at least they're available (organizers are expecting 35,000 to attend, so shuttle at your own risk).

Staying on site is probably another good option, but camping fees are NOT included in your ticket price. Two day camping is $100 per site (max. 4 people on a site), and three day is $135 per site (max. 4 people on a site) - which adds to the cost of the $99 ticket price if you want the Vfest camping experience.

The organizers have also opened up a limited number of VIP festival and camping tickets, which I guess in this case means 'Very Invested Person'? The festival VIP pass, which covers both days of music, is $270 plus $180 per camp site per night (max 4 people per site). Aside from getting you into the 'Loud Lounge', shorter washroom lines, and special drink and food services, the VIP ticket's value seems to lie in giving holders front of the line access to the festival itself (useful if you're coming in from far away!)

Overall, great news about the line up and facilities, but bad news about the travel distance and extra costs. I can't pass up the chance to see NIN at a large North American festival but I'm not convinced that the line up alone will be enough to attract the expect 35,000 out to Orillia... we shall see on August 29/30th!

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