TORONTOâ€”We’re not Virgins anymore.
The Virgin Music Festival returned to Canada today for its second stint at Toronto’s Island Park.
With the crowd steadily filling in as the afternoon wore on, it took almost no time at all for the park to be consumed by excited music lovers.
The show began strongly as one of the first acts on the Virgin Mobile main stage was a notable highlight. Smoothly crooning to the crowd and undoubtedly one of the best performances of the day, Paolo Nutini warmed up the festival’s early attendees, who politely applauded with their approval. The Scottish singer/songwriter’s polite response was in obvious contrast to the ruckus performances by Arctic Monkeys and Bjork which drew loud cheers.
k-os added a different feel to the festival line-up. In sharp contrast to last year’s inclusion of Gnarls Barkley, the predominantly rock-garnered throng responded loudly to the hip-hop artist’s calls for affirmation from the crowd.
As the opening acts took the main stage, there was also plenty of other music available for virtually any music fan with four musical acts playing on four different stages throughout the day. In addition to the main platform, the festival also featured the Future Shop, the Bacardi B-LIVE and the Budweiser stages.
The Future Shop stage hosted hot acts including Enter Shakiri. The English group took home four awards at the Kerrang! Magazine Music Awards including Best British Band, and Best Live Band also won the Best Album award for their independent release Take to the Skies, which went to #4 on the UK album chart.
The Bacardi B-LIVE stage included prominent disc jockeys which included DJ Dopey, Tommie Sunshine and Princess Superstar.
The Budweiser stage featured upcoming acts like Crowned King, Sybris and The Reason.
Other Future Shop stage acts included Jon Levine Band, Dragonette, The Wildbirds Voxtrot and Mute Math.
The best act of the day was undoubtedly the English act of M.I.A. (aka Maya Arulpragasam). Her unique fusion of house, electro and rap music left most of the crowd stunned.
The remarkable growth of the Festival cannot be understated. 35,000 people are expected to take in the weekend event which continues tomorrow with acts including the recently-reborn Smashing Pumpkins, The Killers, Metric, Stars and Tokyo Police Club.
New initiatives launched for the 2007 edition include Virgin Mobile’s steady and continuing commitment to a carbon-free environment. One of the main features of the environmentally-friendly plan involves costumed players standing on a green and black chessboard. Bands, celebrities and concertgoers call every move with each black piece representing the causes of global warming (oil rigs, trash and even lobbyists) and each white piece representing the actions needed to defeat the causes (solar power, recycling and bikes). The Festival also features the TRASHed Recycle Store, where attendees can trade recyclable items for prizes.
Other opening day highlights include a Dentyne kissing booth, a Calvin Klein scavenger hunt and Motorola giving fans the chance to dress up as their favorite celebrities.
Saturday’s show was headlined by a memorable performance from one of its most memorable featured artists, BjÃ¶rk.
More information on the Festival is available at VirginFestival.ca
(Pictured: Paolo Nutini, M.I.A., Photo Credit: Carrie Musgrave)