It’s kind of hard to believe I’ve been in Toronto three years today – or, actually, it’s hard to believe I’ve only been in Toronto for three years. When I packed up my mom’s car and left Halifax back in 2014, I didn’t know for sure if I’d be back after my six-month internship at Eggplant Entertainment, but I hoped that I’d be able to make a place for myself here in the city and spend some time as a little fish in this big pond. When that six months turned into a year, I knew I was here for good – and I’ve never regretted that decision.
Three years in, it’s kind of wild to think back on all the things I’ve done and experienced, all the new friendships and work relationships I’ve formed, all the things I’ve learned and skills I’ve developed. This could easily turn into a very long and wordy post (three years is a long time!) but instead, here’s a quick rundown of the last three years by the numbers, and then some of my favourite memories in photo and video form:
Since moving to Toronto I have…
- Lived in four bedrooms in three apartments
- Had seven roommates
- Interned for one year at Eggplant Entertainment
- Freelanced full-time for almost two years
- Been to (at least) sixteen music festivals
- Toured nine countries and nine Canadian provinces on seven tours with six bands/artists
- Attended two Folk Music Ontario conferences, both as an official showcasing artist and as a Tour Manager
- Photographed five bands/artists
- Had one music photo selected to hang in a gallery exhibition
- Had one photo used as an EP cover
- Worked two Polaris Music Prize galas
- Worked one show at the Rogers Centre, tearing down chairs after Taylor Swift’s two-night run
- Done Front Of House (live sound) for two bands/artists and one festival
- Been to more concerts than I could even begin to count…
And now, on to a few (more than a few) fun memories from the last three years, in more or less chronological order:
So many First Play Lives at CBC:
Taking full advantage of the backstage bar at Osheaga:
My first Muskoka weekend:
My first Jays game:
Side-stage for The War on Drugs at Ottawa Folk Fest (the year before they rebranded as CityFolk):
Visiting Quitters before it opened, and helping to plan/launch/run the socials:
Living close enough to get to spend Thanksgiving with my crazy siblings (and a bunch more family, too):
Salad Club at the Eggplant/Bernie Breen/Dave Spencer office:
Interning under this amazing, brilliant, generous human for a full year (and the infinitely memorable staff holiday party at which this was taken):
Seeing the Hip at the ACC with the whole office:
Meeting Stuart McLean at CBC Music Fest:
So many fun festival hangs:
Meeting some of my favourite authors:
Touring the UK with Sarah Jane Scouten:
So many Folk Music Ontario memories:
A weekend in Ontario and Quebec with Amelia Curran:
A handful of Christmas shows with the Good Lovelies around Ontario:
Getting into crocheting – a JUNO for Ria Mae‘s birthday!
I highly recommend spending a good chunk of your Valentine’s Day shooting press photos with @jenny_berkel. Here she is at @northernbelleto looking all dreamy and intense (📷: me), and today she’s just announced that her new album is out April 15 on @pheromonerecordings! Check out her page for pre-order details and to stream the first song. #photoglife #musicphotography #torontomusic #pressphotos #northernbelle #jennyberkel #palemoonkid #pheromonerecordings
Dismantling the patriarchy one feminist hang at a time:
Moving in with the badass Emma Julien:
Touring the Maritimes with Christa Couture:
Taking my brother to CBC Music Fest before he went off to a summer at Basic Training:
Press days with Ria Mae:
Finding one of those best friends who you feel like you’ve known your whole life:
Driving from Victoria to Toronto for the first time:
The Man Machine Poem tour’s Ottawa stop:
The most hilarious night after a Ria Mae gig:
Teching a side stage at Shelter Valley Folk Festival:
Assisting with main stage changeovers at Shelter Valley Folk Festival:
We arrived here last night after dark and @elbowmarie said, “Want to do something new?” and ten minutes later I was assisting on the main stage changeover and I found out after the fact that some of the festival staff thought I was Jenn’s tour manager 👯 (I will say if you’re going to jump into a brand new situation on a moment’s notice it’s helpful if @jenngrantmusic is the first artist you cross paths with) What do you have for me today, @sheltervalley?
Launching a photography business with one of the most talented photographers I’ve ever known:
Photos with NEFE:
Touring Western Canada and Ontario with Ria Mae:
Can’t believe tonight’s the last show of tour. See you at the Phoenix in Toronto! • • • #Repost @riaisawake: London! London! LONDON! One of our favorite places to play and it didn’t disappoint last night. Tonight we are in Toronto for the final show of the tour. 😭 @unbusted67 @mrchuckbucket @halfwaytoroman @fpchriswong
Going to Russia and Amsterdam with my grandma:
Touring Europe with The Dears:
It may appear from my Instagram that I’m just running around Europe eating delicious food but I *am*, in fact, on tour with @thedears. Last night I got a rare chance to see (and photograph) the gig – tour nannying generally means being back at the hotel for kids’ bedtimes! – and this one with @sofarmoscow at @oeuvre_ink was pretty special. Excited for the next couple weeks in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and the UK!
A weekend in Quebec with Ria Mae:
Having a photo in the Sound Image exhibition at Analogue Gallery:
Starting to do live sound as a real thing, beginning with Long Range Hustle this past weekend:
Brunch, I’ve learned, is an important and time-honoured @longrangehustlemusic tradition. So much fun to do FOH for those gems last night – a bunch of truly fantastic guys who are so generous with their time and talent, and of whom I’m such a big fan – and so many laughs at brunch this morning. Feeling totally wiped and pretty damn lucky this Sunday afternoon 🙏🏼
If you’re still here – thanks for taking that walk down Memory Lane with me. It’s hard to distill three entire years into one post without going a bit overboard!
It’s truly unreal to me to think of everything that’s happened in three years – it feels like much longer, in a way, but also like I just got here yesterday. When I left Halifax I had no idea what to expect (and I certainly could never have imagined all this!) but I’m so grateful every day for all the opportunities I’ve had since moving here.
When I try to look ahead to what’s coming in the next three years (and beyond), it’s like a big exciting mystery to me. If it’s anything like these past three, it’s going to be one hell of a ride. Here’s to more touring, more live music, more adventures!
See you out on the road.
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Feature photo (top of page) by Donovan Woods; backstage at Ottawa Jazz Festival 2014 with Kathleen Edwards.