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Hillside great smorgasbord

The 31st Hillside Festival, which takes place this weekend at Guelph Lake Island, is about more than music.

Yes, the musical entertainment is varied and wonderful.

But this very “Guelphy” event is also about idealism, or, perhaps more important, about showing how ideals can be realized.

Hillside’s long-held ideals include environmental sustainability, accessibility for those with special needs, and avoiding the commercialization that comes with big-business sponsorship.

A story in today’s Trib shows how it is making changes in pursuits of such ideals.

Exposure to Hillside’s ideals starts with how you get there.

Rather than driving there and paying $7 a day to park, you can catch one of the free shuttle buses that leave St. George’s Square every 20 minutes – or every hour, if you have special needs requiring an accessible bus.

Or you can cycle there, on your own or in groups organized by the festival.

On the site you’ll find vendors, but not too many.

You’ll find free refills of chilled tap water for your refillable containers.

You’ll find not just musical, but also spoken word, entertainment.

You’ll find all sorts of small tents with intriguing things going on inside – titles of the free workshops include “Acrobatic Partner Yoga,” “the Joy of Poi” and “Detox Rocks! How to Cleanse Your Body.”

You’ll also find lots of children about, as kids 12 and under get in free. Hillside is a family as well as a community celebration.

And – this is a big “and” – you can even still go to Hillside if you want.

There have been years recently when every Hillside ticket was gone by now, but single-day tickets are still available for Friday evening and for Sunday.

The Sunday lineup features Hey Rosetta!, Born Ruffians, Garland Jeffreys, Basia Bulat, Nat Baldwin, and more.

Hillside isn’t the only game in town. The Incline Decline music festival, which includes punk rock, goes July 24-27.

But mainly it’s Hillside weekend. And for many people of all ages, this means it’s the peak weekend of the year. If you don’t know what you’re missing, why not give it a try?

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