“We’re passionate about music,” admits Virgin Mobile Canada Chief Marketing Officer/festival organizer Nathan Rosenberg while discussing Virgin Festival Ontario. “You can’t help but love music if you work here.”
Celebrating its fourth year in Toronto, the two-day concert/attractions event running at The Molson Amphitheatre this Saturday and Sunday has come a long way from its modest roots as a one-off engagement some 13 years ago.
Back then, Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker and Virgin mogul Richard Branson brainstormed the idea to “play in a field,” as Rosenberg notes. It went so well that what was once a one-day music event has blossomed into an annual multi-continental extravaganza with dates in Calgary, Vancouver and Hogtown for Canada alone.
Featuring 33 acts over the course of two days, each day begins with up-and-coming talent, culminating with fan favourites and scene stalwarts such as Ben Harper And Relentless7, Franz Ferdinand, The Pixies and Sloan on Saturday and Nine Inch Nails, Our Lady Peace, N.E.R.D. and The Pet Shop Boys on Sunday
“The diversity of talent gives people a chance to see acts they might not otherwise check out and it provides acts a chance to play for crowds they might not otherwise have the opportunity to get in front of. At that, I believe this year is our most eclectic lineup at a Virgin Festival ever,” Rosenberg beams, venturing to note that the gala continues its tradition of offering music as a core draw but provides a wide range of alternative diversions that provide a reprieve from the music when necessary.
“This year, we’ve truly solidified the attractions. There are international food options, pole dancing lessons, piercing booths, massages, henna tattoos, video game stations, an art installation and other entertainment and shopping opportunities for guests,” he notes.
“Love music as much as people do, sometimes they wanna chill; get away to something fun but quieter. Overall, with both experiences combined, you see how much people love what’s going on and how the experience lasts them a lifetime. It’s quite wonderful; a fest-ravaganza.”
Still, despite being the primary hand in crafting this year’s Virgin Festival Ontario, even Rosenberg has his unforgettable moments; is excited to switch hats from organizer to devout music fan. He jests that while there are many logistics behind ensuring the jubilee is a seamless production, there are still a few strings pulled here and there for purely personal reasons.
“There are some bands we go after (to feature on the festival) because they’re personal favourites; because we love them so much. The Pixies are certainly one of them, as are The Pet Shop Boys. We call them our ‘passion picks.’ I’ve never seen the Pet Shop Boys,” he gushes. “I’m quite excited.”
• Read the V-Fest blog at www.metronews.ca/blogs
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