Festival Preview: Toronto Urban Roots Fest [July 4-7, Fort York]


Toronto Urban Roots Fest (TURF) came out of nowhere earlier this year enshrouded by a haze of mystery. Initially, everyone was like who the hell was that, but as secrets revealed themselves, everyone went from curious to ecstatic as it finally dawned on people that we were finally getting a summer time music festival featuring some of our most beloved indie band.

What the hell is “urban roots” anyway? who cares. Lets take a look at 6 acts playing this thing next week.

Camera Obscura

The Scottish group recently released their fifth album – Desire Lines, recently and while it doesn’t necessarily break any new ground, their music is a pleasant summertime affair. I thought they would be put on a later slot, but I always over estimate a bands poularity.

She & Him

Zooey Deschanel has made an entire career out of being cute and quirky. It’s as if she took a look at two words in the dictionary and said “I’m going to dominate those words”. Underneath all those sun dresses, quirky mannerisms and hello giggles is an interesting voice. This voice has been harnessed by M. Ward to form She & Him, a power duo that has released three whole albums of vintage inspired folk-pop songs. Conveniently named Volume 3, She & Him’s third album came out earlier this year and they’ll be eager to show it off (everyone will just want them to play In The Sun). Just to fuck you up, here’s a picture of Zooey with and without bangs.


Joel Plaskett

Surely by now this man has been declared a national treasure. Joel Plaskett returns once again to Toronto to delight us with his lively music. Last time he was here, he played five nights at the Horseshoe so this time around it’ll be a bit different. What won’t be different will be the elation of his fans every time he regales them with one of the many hits he has provided over the past decade. He hasn’t released anything since Scrappy Happiness, so maybe this show is just to enhance his own personal brand, or he’s just here to visit family or something.


Dawes was one of those bands whose name you couldn’t escape in Austin this year. They even joined John Fogerty on stage, and he called them ‘good ole boys’. Since this is a roots festival or sorts, it would only make sense that good ole boys with plaid shirts and beards would play this show. The LA quartet also recently opened for Bob Dylan.

Xavier Rudd

People freaking love Xavier Rudd. Who they are? I don’t know. I went to his show at Queen Elizabeth Theatre a few years ago and let me tell you, his fans are so fanatic that it’s almost cult like. It also reminds me of Christian rock for some reason. Perhaps best known for his extensive use of didgeridoos, Rudd’s on stage show is energetic and if you are one of those lost souls looking for a random cause to join to feel something, maybe you too might turn into one of those Xavier Rudd fans.

Belle and Sebastian

Basically one of my favorite bands ever, Belle & Sebastian are hitting the summer festival this year hard. This includes a headline slot at Pitchfork as well. It’s been three years since they have released an album but who cares? Their live show has progressively better over the years and I expect nothing less then a wonderfully delightful show to close off the first ever TURF. No better way to finish off a Sunday.

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, Reviews

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.