NXNE Festival is one of my favourite things to do in Toronto. Not only did I volunteer at the festival for 4 years, I got to see bands, hang out at the conference and meet David Cassidy — not sure if that’s impressive or not.
Around since 1994, the festival brings musical acts to Toronto year after year of home grown and international up and coming artists. For the price of a festival wristband, you have the opportunity to see hundreds of bands play dozens of venues around Toronto for a week. They’ve also added free concerts in places like Dundas Square where you get to see bands like the Flaming Lips for free.
As a volunteer you get the inside buzz on who to see, but for me I love it when you also get a good show. And the crazier the better. One I’ll never forget (I can’t say were the best musically) were the Punch Drunk Monkeys with lead singer Crappy the Clown involving a toilet paper shooting guitar and a bucket of KFC. Then there were White Cowbell Oklahoma (originally from Toronto although they refuse to admit it) and their dirty, debauched Southern rock involving a gaggle of band members including at least 5 guitarists and a guy who plays the cowbell. Not to mention sometimes the appearance of live chickens, a chainsaw, scantily clad women, a wizard and a state trooper.