The 2022 Hillside Summer Festival’s line-up is packed full of local and international talent.
This is a lineup you don’t want to miss, composed of ground-breaking artists whose work crosses forms and genres, and quite often defies classification. The Hillside lineup includes many among many greats, such as poet rapper and 2021 Polaris prize winner Cadence Weapon, WCMA Blues Artist of the Year winner Ndidi O and Trish Klein of the Blue and Gold, multiple Juno and Polaris Prize nominee Danny Michel, and 2022 Juno winner DJ Shub.
Hillside attendees may well find themselves wanting to be in more than one place at a time.
The good news is, whatever direction you decide to head at Hillside, from the Sun Stage to the Lake Stage, the Rainbow Stage, Island Stage or Main Stage, you really can’t go wrong.
You can imagine how difficult it was to choose five emerging artists from the lineup.
At some point I decided to draw names out of a hat because it was honestly impossible to choose.
Each performer on Hillside’s lineup is so unique and brings their own special brand of magic to the table.
A complete lineup of the artists scheduled to perform is available on the festival’s website here:
The festival takes place on Guelph Lake Island July 22-24. The festival’s vision is dedicated to a diversity of culture, musical heritage and style, age, geography and influence.
Here are five artists not to miss:
Tania Joy’s star has taken off, and this is only the beginning for the multi-talented musician and vocalist who grew up in Uxbridge, Ontario. The luminosity of Tania’s soulful, and boldly honest song artistry has drawn comparisons to legends like Tracy Chapman, Joan Armatrading, Bettye LaVette, Ray Lamontagne, and Ruthie Foster. However, Tania stands out as a force to be reckoned with completely in her own right. Tania’s piercing vocals emanate a depth and energy that is tender, raw, bold, and powerful all at once. Her second EP I Will Stand brings together innovative, haunting arrangements of acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, organ, drums, Wurlitzer, strings, Farfisa, and synthizers. Tania’s song writing engages closely with relationships in all their intricacies, and often tackles broader social issues. Many of the songs from I Will Stand confront the trauma of racialized violence such as the song “Planks and Marietta,” written after the murder of George Floyd. Her songs convey the painful histories at work in the present while carving an avenue from which to heal.
Luna Li is a Toronto-based songwriter, vocalist, guitarist, keyboardist, violinist, harpist, and producer. Luna attracted the attention of audiences across the globe when her home-performed TikTok jam sessions went viral on social media in 2020. In 2021, she released the jams EP, which was a compilation of the jam sessions she performed during the pandemic. Her most recent album, Duality, was just released in 2022. The album brings together a collection of work across a span of about four years. Luna has said that composing Duality was driven by self-reflection on relationships and identity. Her work is being embraced by an ever-growing loyal fan base as well as critics. In Duality you can trace psychedelic rock and indie pop sounds, but really the music just resists genre categorization. The album’s mystical, iterating waves of harp, violins, electric guitar, piano and synthesizer play are like a magic carpet ride through the heavenly dimensions of sound.
New York based songwriter, guitarist, harpist, and vocalist Lizzie No has quickly gained the praises of music audiences and critics across the globe. Her debut album, Hard Won, released in 2017, enchanted audiences and critics. Her work innovates with clever ground-breaking arrangements on the harp and more traditional folk instruments like the guitar. In songs like “Born and Bred” (from her 2019 album Vanity ) Lizzie’s vocals radiate in syncopated rhythms with the bold penetrating movements of the electric guitar and percussion accompaniment. Her songs are filled with tender emotions of love, loss, struggle, and hope. Lizzie’s work negotiates and navigates the racial and social issues that mark the experiences of people and communities in America. Lizzie has performed to mesmerized audiences at Americanafest, South by Southwest and the Mile of Music Festival. She recently performed for audiences at the Kennedy Centre and is scheduled to perform at Hillside’s Summer Fest! Yes Lizzie!
Based in Montreal, Le Ren first began releasing her songs online during the mid 2010s. In 2020, she released her EP, Morning & Melancholia. Le Ren’s 2021 debut album, Leftovers, is a striking compilation of songs that engage with the joy and pain of intimacy experienced between romantic partners, between mother and daughter, and between friends. “Dyan” is a song written about the connection she felt with her mother while living geographically distant from her, a separation that became more intense during the pandemic. Le Ren’s song-writing bravely draws from past experiences and locates their present meanings. Her rich, tender vocals join mystically with the guitar, pedal steel and piano accompaniment. Her songs have a way of catching the listener off guard and driving straight to the heart. Songs like “Dyan,” with its simple unpretentious purity, are so real yet somehow evoke an almost ethereal beauty difficult to put into words.
Emily Gilbart released her first EP, Long Gone, in 2018. In 2019, she was named as a finalist in the Toronto Blues Society’s Talent Search, and in the Youth Discoveries Program at Summerfolk. Emily has stated that she believes in the healing power of music to connect people and to inspire a will for people to become their most authentic selves. Her passion for song-writing and live performance has also driven her to study music therapy. Emily’s latest EP, From the Road, was just released last month. The edgy sweet smokiness of Emily Gilbart’s vocals is sure to steal your heart. You could make a comparison to greats like Patsy Cline. Her song-writing and performance style resist any urge to soften the grittiness of the narratives she imparts. The EP From the Road sets her on a path of her own.