If you live in Canada and are a music fan, chances are you heard Rolling Loud took place in Canada for the first time last week. With all the Toronto festival mishaps that took place this summer (Kultureland Festival, Kingston Festival), I thought it’d be a good idea to talk about my personal experience at Rolling Loud and if it lived up to its name.
Let me start by saying this was a well-organized festival from a logistical standpoint especially if you live near the venue. You could safely enter and leave the event each day, the lines to get into the festival we set up in a way that enabled traffic to flow easily, and there were multiple routes to transit or to Uber checkpoints. They usually had an appropriate amount of staff in most busy areas and it was never all that difficult to find a food vendor or drinks. There were also maps and info booths throughout the park so it was pretty tough to actually get lost. As a visitor though, I feel like the consensus was that it was probably the most chaotic time to be in Toronto. With TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) and all the other summer-ending events happening in the city, traffic was the worst I’ve seen since the pandemic. However, nobody got shot (a gun was found in VIP though) at the festival, so that’s an overall win.
All the headliners showed up (even though Future was late) so if that’s what you came for each day then you weren’t disappointed. Dave and Wizkid both showed out. However, some of the acts I wanted to see in a festival setting (I.e. Icewear Vezzo, Lil Uzi Vert, Fvio Foreign) didn’t come and were removed from the setlist last minute. Truth be told though, I didn’t think any of these guys were really getting across the Canadian border and that’s sometimes what makes being a hip-hop fan so tough. The reason you like them can be the same reason you can’t see them live. Some of your favourite rappers have criminal records because they’re really rapping about their life. The organizers did their best to keep anyone attending informed on changes to the setlist or set times both online and at the venue though which I appreciated.
Even though some acts couldn’t come, those that did put on a great show! Especially artists performing from 6pm onwards. Acts like Skepta really showcased how a veteran in music is supposed to move. Don Toliver brought his own stage setup and completely changed what the stage looked like prior to his performance. As for Wizkid, he’s an act that I think anyone who really loves music should see live at least once in their life. I’ve never seen an artist turn their show into a massive dance party like that before. The icing on the cake was that all the local artists were really doing their thing on stage. In this lifetime I would not have guessed that Nav would have one of the most memorable performances at a music festival but I was wrong. Even though he gets a lot of hate online, he puts on a great show.
Also God bless Shenseea…imma leave it at that.
Now for the things nobody really tells you about when you buy a ticket *drumroll*. Bigmon*, you are going to be utterly exhausted if you make it through the entire weekend. Standing for so many hours, getting lit every day and being out in the elements makes you wanna just kick-up* for the rest of your life when the day’s over. All of that is before we talk about any after-parties. It’s been almost a week and my ass is still tired. Even muscles I didn’t really use at the festival are sore (my shoulders are just mosh up* for absolutely no reason). Also, to those of you that love to dress up for every occasion, this is not the occasion. Don’t dress up like you’re going somewhere fancy because you’re not and you’ll be on your feet for longer than you think. Make sure those kicks are comfy yo.
Back to the food… early warning, they gon tax the hell outta you with these prices so you need to be mentally prepared for that. Eat before you go to the festival for sure. A jerk chicken combo being $25 is absolutely mod*, especially when you got the same combo for $15 two weeks earlier. If you’re balling on a budget, the only option for you is an $8 glizzy* (pause) at one of the food trucks specifically.
Also cell reception? Godspeed yo. With so many people concentrated in one location, if you lose your friends, you’ve lost them for the day yo. Pick a crew that will stick together otherwise you will be watching performances by yourself.
Overall if I’m rating the festival out of 5 I’m giving it a 3.7. All the headliners showed up, most of the acts I wanted to see were there, it was easy to navigate around crowds and I was able to safely go to and from the venue each day. My complaints would be on the food and drink prices but those are likely things that won’t change going forward. Anything else really just comes with being at a festival. If you’ve never attended a festival and were considering Rolling Loud Toronto this year, keep an eye out for the lineup next year. It’s worth checking out if you’ve been curious, don’t want to travel to the states. For $325, it was a good value event.
Mod – crazy, unbelievable
Glizzy – a hot dog
Bigmon – a grown man/grown adult
Kick-up – to sit down and relax
Mosh up – messed up/damaged/in a bad state