In the summer of 2013, a couple of dudes from London (the Canadian one) decided to rent a medium-sized field in the tiny town of Camlachie, picked up some gear, and put on a two day campout concert for their best buds, starring their best buds. This town is so small, it doesn’t even have a population census. Ounces of weed were smoked, drinks flowed like water, and good times were had by all to a sweet soundtrack. At the end of the weekend, the general sentiment was “Can’t wait to do this again next year,” closely followed by “Yo, I can’t remember anything about last night, but tell that one girl sorry about her shoes.” (Fine, that last one was mostly just me.)
When Spring 2014 rolled around though, it became pretty clear that this year’s Lachie Festival would be its own beast. First, the festival was introduced to the internet by our Canuck heroes, The Trailer Park Boys who were jacked to be spending a weekend drinking free booze while hosting a bunch of their favourite bands.
Turned out that Lachie 2014 would be taking place at the sprawling old Cayuga Speedway. Some of the too-cool-kids shit on the lineup, but I dig what Lachie’s doing. You had the buzz bands (July Talk, Rival Sons, The Balconies, Glorious Sons etc) and then, for Canada Day Weekend, the Canadian-as-hell contingent including The Trews, I Mother Earth, Treble Charger and, I shit you not, Gob. They even brought out legends like the goddamn Headstones (aka that dude from Hard Core Logo). Goldfinger and iLL Scarlet pulled out the sing-alongs (and teamed up for a crazy version of "Mabel"). Bands like The Flatliners, Mandroid Echostar and up and comers Wasted Potential brought the heavy. Folk, bluesy rock, punk, country rock — it was all happening.
With around two thousand people in attendance, Warped Tour it ain’t, but that’s not a bad thing (and not just for the obvious reason of not being present-day Warped Tour). The smaller crowd sizes meant you could get a clear view of the bands. Also, the organizers made sure not to over-schedule the festival. This allowed the two main stages to share a staggered schedule, ensuring you were able to catch every act. The Cheeseburger Picnic Stage (best name ever) showcased lesser known bands; set up under some bleachers, it afforded festival goers the opportunity to get out of the sun and discover some new music.
So how do you go from a campout to a full on festival? Director/main Lachie dude Gregory James Hatchette and Talent Coordinator Jimi Tanney did the first step of working their asses off, but their bank robbing skills weren’t at level needed to obtain the necessary capital. Jukasa Media Group stepped in and presented the hell out of Lachie. You need supporters who believe in the idea, and it feels like these guys tossed fistfuls of cash into their investment. “Who cares if we turn a profit this year? Let’s make it nuts and see it explode in 2015.” Not only did everything run flawlessly, but the hour long fireworks show on Saturday night murdered most towns’ Canada Day displays. From all indications, this team has a future in the festival business.
The mix of bands appealed to a wide audience, the price was right, and the party was nuts (a couch may or may not have been set on fire. At a campground. Fact: somebody brought a couch to set on fire. I respect that kind of commitment.) I strongly suggest you get your Lachie on next year, if only to say that you managed to see it before it became the next Warped Tour.
Richard Howard is a writer living in London (the Canadian one) - @jamiedayglo