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My Story: Ashley rocked out to Arcade Fire at WayHome

Arcade Fire – 2016/07/23 – WayHome, Burl’s Creek Event Grounds, Oro-Medonte, ON, Canada.

Ashley Newman saw Arcade Fire once again kill it. This time at the band’s headline set at WayHome. This is her story.


Ahhhhh, back in February, I was in my college cafeteria trying to get some homework done and then bam! WayHome Music & Arts announced their stellar lineup that included headlining acts, LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire and The Killers. I went into complete panic mode and didn’t even realize that I screamed and received dirty looks from people around me. Worth it! I have never been to a music festival before and was not aware of how pricey it actually is! My hopes of attending WayHome was shot down after seeing the tier prices and other costs of various packages. I was better off to save my money for school. Fast forward to July, one week before the festival, I get a text from my friend Heather who was also eager to attend the fest as well. She sent a phone number to a staffing agency who were looking for people to work at the festival and would be able to attend some shows after their shift. Heather and I applied, and go figure we found out we got the jobs two days before the festival opens.

THE EXCITEMENT AND HYPE STARTED TO SINK IN AND SHOUT OUT TO MY MOM WHO PRETTY MUCH PACKED ALL MY BAGS FOR ME WHILE I WAS RUNNING AROUND THE HOUSE BLASTING AF’S FUNERAL ALBUM, YEAHHHHH!!!!!!!

Since we were working at the fest, we were asked to be there Wednesday night to settle in. She picked me up in the evening and all we did was blast AF albums while #FindingOurWayHome. ;) For those who are wondering where the festival took place, it was in a little town called Oro-Medonte, which is about an hour and 30 min drive north of Toronto. I believe headliners were flown into the festival by a small airplane while their crew were drove in by tour bus. Heather and I worked 13 hour shifts from Thursday till Saturday directing traffic into their designated parking lots. She was at the front gate, I was on the main road in the festival camping grounds. A highlight for me was seeing some friends (Yvonne and Sara) drive in and we were all excited to see each other. Although, my other friends, Ana and Alaetra, couldn’t make it, I made sure I was to have as much fun as I can for them. The hot weather didn’t stop us from working as we were only there to see the headlining acts at the festival!!! We somehow managed to still have energy left over after a long day working under the brutal sun.

When Saturday came along, I didn’t really care about work as much since Arcade Fire was my main priority that day. Ha! Heather and I left our work post half an hour early just to change our clothes and make our way to the stage and get as close as possible. As I was waiting for Heather at our campsite, other people were blasting Reflektor and Wake Up to get the night started and I started dancing like a crazy fool and didn’t care who was watching me. M83 was finishing their set and people were starting to leave the stage and that’s when we worked our way up to the front, and man we were pretty close! Yes! On the big screens, the fest displayed a promo picture of Arcade Fire with the words, “Performing Next” above the photo.

Credit: Ashley Newman

Credit: Ashley Newman

Everything all started to sink in. We even got to see the crew set up the stage which was pretty cool. The crowd started chanting, ‘Arcade Fire! Arcade Fire! Arcade Fire!’ followed by singing the chorus of Wake Up and it was heavenly! Many people, including myself, were wearing Arcade Fire hats from the Reflektor tour, some had tin foil capes and bandanas, this one person was holding a sign with a photo of Win Butler from the NBA All Star Game on it (it had MVP written all over it!) Many folks were talking about which AF album was their fav in order to pass time since there was about an hour left till show time. My friend from Montreal, Sara came to the front to find Heather and I, and all of us were just overwhelmed with joy about the band we were about to see in a few minutes.

Credit: Ashley Newman

Credit: Ashley Newman

Credit: Ashley Newman

Credit: Ashley Newman

And then… The lights on stage started to dim a little bit, the crowd welcomed the band back home on Canadian soil by cheering/chanting/screaming/clapping their hands, etc., AND BAM! Everyone started jumping up and down like crazy as soon as Ready to Start began playing. Up next, The Suburbs in which the whole crowd sang along to, oh was it ever beautiful. The setlist was pretty much the same from the other shows they played before WayHome. It was great to hear them cover ‘Born in the USA’ before transitioning into Keep the Car Running.

Credit: Ashley Newman

Credit: Ashley Newman

Credit: Ashley Newman

Credit: Ashley Newman

I was thrilled to finally hear My Body is a Cage and We Used to Wait live, and man, it was only half way through the show and I was already blown away. I’ve been reminded on why I love this band so much; their songwriting, stage presence, and love for music and the fans. They’re the kind of band that takes you on a journey and you don’t know where you’re going, but you’re just having a fun time getting there. That’s how I felt when they played No Cars Go, my favourite live song. And hell yes I cried, not during the anthem Wake Up, but during Rebellion, the song that introduced me to them years ago. This song is pure nostalgia. I felt like a kid again. I remember watching the music video for Rebellion and was kind of creeped out that the whole band was dressed in black, seemed somewhat scary to me the first time I watched it. Yet here I am, in love with them and their music. They played Rebellion and of course there’s Will being Will onstage with his drum. My favourite band member! As soon as Here Comes the Night Time started rolling along, all I could think of was CONFETTI CONFETTI CONFETTI CONFETTI CONFETTI !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Luckily, where we were standing, the confetti cannon was right next to us! Words cannot describe on how awesome it is to be part of a confetti shower, I’m happy to have taken a vid of it! The only thing that sucked about this song was that you know there is only one more song left! Where did the time go?!?! This was my third time seeing them and knowing that Wake Up was next, it made me feel sad and happy at the same time. Sad because it’s the end of the show and who knows when the next time they’ll be in town?!?! (Next year, I hope!) As soon as the guitar riff started, people were ready to sing at the top of their lungs to one of indie rock’s finest songs. People crowd surfing, dancing, crying…all having the time of their lives and it was concluded with beautiful fireworks! And just like that, the show was over. Confetti scattered all over the grass upfront to the stage.
Credit: Ashley Newman

Credit: Ashley Newman

I was happy to also bump into another friend at the end of the concert, Max from Montreal! Walking back towards our campsite, I had goosebumps all over and couldn’t believe that I went from not attending WayHome, to ‘Here ya go! You’ll be working for us and will be able to see some of the shows!’ I called my mom to tell her the shazam that I had just experienced and told her how much I love Will Butler and she couldn’t stop laughing. Heather and I were definitely not ready to go to bed right away so we bought poutine and sat in the car listening to Porno, Rebellion, Afterlife, Supersymmetry, Reflektor until 2 in the morning. We were far away from home, but when listening to your favourite band and having the chance to see them live, they totally made you feel like you were at home. WayHome that is.

“Take care of each other, and goodnight.”


Happy you got to see them despite it not looking so promising til the week of the festival. Thanks Ashley!

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