Ottawa’s festival season has been growing rapidly over the last decade and Mill Street’s Hopped & Confused festival is just one example of how with this growth, the city and festival organizers have not lost sight of keeping Ottawa’s festival standards top-notch.
DINE ALONE RECORDS & MILL STREET BREWERY
Dine Alone Records, in partnership with Mill Street Brewery really went above and beyond this year to not only curate a very desirable all-Canadian lineup but to create an atmosphere that is fun for every kind of festival-goer. It’s really quite astounding how well they have used such a small space over the years, packing in bean bag tossing game stations, a Jenga table, multiple beer tents, and a multitude of seating to keep everyone comfortable.
Friday evening, Montreal’s three-piece punk group NOBRO kicked off the two-day festival as the only all-girl band to hit the stage, followed by Toronto’s up and coming group, Weaves, and headlined by the always absolutely infectious performance by July Talk.
Everyone who brought their instruments out to the waterside venue this past weekend for Hopped & Confused’s fourth edition calls Southern Ontario home, but Toronto was a strong force in the weekend’s lineup overall, with nearly the entirety of the bill consisting of bands from Ontario’s capital city.
Headlining Saturday night, was a band that’s been around for longer than some of the people in attendance have been alive. Sloan is a name that cannot be forgotten when it comes down to a conversation about Canadian music, having released a dozen full-length albums and almost three times that in singles. With a bit more time in the middle of the weekend, the fest packed in another band to warm up the stage for Sloan.
Although the sets were disappointingly short, it was nice to get a little taste of what Taylor Knox and Cleopatrick’s live performances are like before Born Ruffians got the crowd fired up for Sloan. With no shortage of hits, the nearly 30-year-old group put on an enthusiastic show filled with a slew of hits from their 12 albums, closing out the festival and launching a crowd they pumped full of energy into Mill Street for the official after-party.
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
The great thing about Hopped & Confused is that it’s so intimate that it is almost like being at an indoor venue that has had the walls and roof taken off, overlooking a beautiful river. The grounds and the restaurant fit together so seamlessly with the perfect amount of space for a nice winding walk down from Wellington street, overlooking the dams and bike bath into the entrance where to your left you’ll see the brewery/resto, fronted by an extended patio with a view of the stage and gaming area in between and to your right is the standing area and surprisingly well-lit stage.
If you want to have a nice late lunch or dinner with friends/family with live music in the background, you can do just that and stay away from the festivities but still enjoy the serenade, if you want to go out to a show and enjoy the festival atmosphere, you can do that as well, or if you want a mix of both with a little bit of camping-style games wrapped in there with it all, you’re in the right place as well – there truly is something for everyone.