CNE 2012 EDITORIAL
By: Fridae Mattas
Let’s kick this off with a little history lesson, every year since 1879 Toronto’s exhibition Place hosts Canada’s largest fair, the Canadian Nation Exhibition also known as The EX. Back in 1879 it was called the Toronto Industrial exhibition, the name was changed in 1912 to what we know it as today, The Canadian Nation Exhibition.
I’ve only been to the EX a few times in my life and this year was the first year I was able to cover North America’s 7th largest festival. A little confusing regarding media pit access for sets at the Bandshell, this actually prevented me from covering many of the performances and events. Luckily I had my good friend helping me out with The Tea Party’s set. More Tea Party talk later, first let’s finish up with the vast amounts of other entertainment at the 2012 CNE.
The rides are your usual carnival fair rides, with two Ferris wheels (one was in the kids midway), The Gravitron (Now called the Starship 4000) and new additions Zip Line, Nitro and the permanent fixture Sky Ride. I was dying to try Sky Ride, I am a huge fan of rollercoasters and any carnival ride. I wanted to check it out the minute I saw them building it on a few of my amphitheater and beerfest coverage treks prior to the opening. Sky Ride was the initial spark to my curiosity in covering Canada’s largest fair, everything else was a bonus. I Did not realize how big the CNE actually is and how much there was to do until I was planning the coverage. FridaeTV is usually about the music, I am trying to expand outside of the artistic box and get a feel for what the people like. There were so many options, I wanted to go on all of the rides, play a few games, watch some figure skating, play with the cute animals, watch the birds fly around at the Air Show and so much more. You can always see what events the 2012 season had going at on the CNE’s website here.
Other than the few sets at the Bandshell I covered Big Sugar, Nick Carter and The Tea Party, I managed to see the Air Show on Labour day weekend with my Mom. Unfortunately we were too late for skating the seats were filled by the time we migrated over to Ricoh Coliseum where it was held. Fun times taking my Mom to the EX, she has not been there since her High School days in the late seventies when she first landed in Canada way before she met my Father. I was surprised she even wanted to see the Air Show, we made it to the lake front behind Bandshell park just in time to watch the Snowbirds in action. It was awesome to see them do tricks, I have seen them fly to and from the airport when I worked at Pearson for various airlines but I have never actually seen them put on a show. As a child I was fascinated with aircrafts, at one point I wanted to be a pilot if my singing career didn’t work out. I guess that’s why I was comfortably happy working in the airline industry for half of my life.
Mother Mattas loved her day at the CNE, I even convinced her to go on the Sky Ride with me! She has never gone on any type of carnival ride or rollercoaster with anyone since I’ve known her, which is my whole life. It was my ninth time on Sky Ride and her first time on any ride in twenty plus years, we both had fun even though she walks like a snail. Deep fried butter! I can’t believe people actually buy those, I saw a few do it with my own eyes but could not watch them eat it. It’s worse than eating KFC’s killer Double Down.
Saw some cute animals which I absolutely loved but tried so hard not to pull the locks and free them! Yes, I am one of those. What I found incredible was the International Sand Sculpting competition. It showcased some phenomenal works, my favorite is the one directly below.
Moving along to the musical portion of this feature editorial, they are not the first band I covered this CNE season they were the last, (save the best for last). Every time The Tea Party had a show in and around the GTA I was covering another event or unavailable. Perfect example was last year near Hamilton the Tea Party was playing the Festival of Friends. I could not make it but my super amazing friends were able to film a few tracks while I was covering NKOTBSB at Copps, I was so close but no cigar.
Finally, this year I was able to see them live! A little late for the set but we made it for the second track “Bazaar” which ran longer than usual due to an instruments malfunction. Fine with me, gave me a chance to see what angle was best to shoot from without that bright spotlight washing everyone out. The verdict, nowhere except the pit where the other media was about to be booted from and the front row, no thanks! All of the photos anyone shot were fantastic but filming for me, this was the worst festival footage I have ever shot in my life. None of my filters worked to counteract the bright white lights that were bleaching out those on stage. The filters and washed out light combination caused constant ghosting on majority of my footage. I took the filter off for the last song filmed before packing up to kick back and enjoy the music. Very grateful my fabulous and talented friend Jaylyn was able to help with the photography, thank you mucho for the stellar shots!
The first full track we caught was Lullaby, a song that is more on the haunted lullaby side of the musical spectrum. This tune would be perfect for the TV series American Horror Story. Frontman Jeff Martin has this incredibly rich powerful voice with a mostly steady tone and is a very talented well-rounded musician. Aside from being known to play his guitar with a bow, he played this crazy instrument I have never seen in my life, you can watch him vibe with it here. If you know what instrument it is, I would love to know!
The Tea Party is: Jeff Martin – Vocals/Guitar, Stuart Chatwood – Bass/Guitar, Jeff Burrows – Percussion. They formed in 1990, broke up in 2005 and in 2011 the band reunited to rock out at various venues in Canada and Australia. They performed an eleven track set with my favorite tune “Temptation” played last before the encore Stones cover “Sister Awake / Paint It Black”. Although I didn’t film “Temptation” you can watch it here from last years Festival of Friends filmed by Jaylyn Photo and Love and Crossbones for FridaeTV. I did film another tune from the set “Psychopomp” which is an interstingly relatable tune. I loved the chemistry between the three members and their timing was almost perfect. Martin did remarkably well with his vocals, he was pitchy at times but it looked as though it was mostly due to him getting lost in the song. Sometimes it happens, when you delve deep in a performance feeling every word, beat and melody with passion, you can lose control. Some even forget their lyrics on that level in a song, it happened to me recently during an encore at a private event. There is a huge difference between a shitty singer and a passionate performer. Chatwood on Bass seemed a little shy and nervous, I don’t blame him! He was having some technical issues with his Bass, they attended to it immediately. Once he took to the keys he became a little bit more comfortable not as tense. Drummer Jeff Burrows always has those beats on lock! Every time I see him throw down, regardless of the band he’s in, he always gives 12,000% to the performance. The Tea Party was the perfect band to end the summer with! I will have to see them again because once is just not enough. No, they did not sell the band’s web domain to the American political party with the same monicker and are in no affiliation.
Covering the CNE was a new experience for me, I do plan on hitting the festival again next year and hopefully cover more of the fun events. For more photos and videos not in the gallery you can click here and here. If you have not been to The EX I suggest you go at least once in your life, put it on your bucket list if you have one.