The Hillside Summer Festival and Hillside Inside are three-day, multi-stage events with a broad artistic vision that emphasizes diversity: of culture, of musical heritage and style, of age, geography and influence.
As an artistic presenter working in a time of reconciliation and reckoning, Hillside remains committed to offering space and work for artists and arts workers from all races, cultures, and communities, particularly Indigenous, people of colour, LGBTQ2S+, and women whose inclusion will help stitch a richer and more varied cultural fabric.
Set in a beautiful, accessible conservation area with campgrounds on Guelph Lake, our summer festival is world-renowned as one of Canada’s most progressive, environmentally conscious, non-commercial community celebrations. We create a village on Guelph Lake Island that we fill with music, dance, drumming, food, crafts, and more. The island and our office in Guelph are on the ancestral lands of the Attawandaron people, which, more recently, have become the treaty lands and territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. People have sung, danced, and broken bread together on this land for thousands of years, so when we say “we live here,” we must ask ourselves who “we” is and what “here” means. Acknowledging the importance of land and people, of ownership and entitlement, is an invitation to understanding the connection between land, people, and history and the politics that can give those connections meaning. As DJ NDN noted, “Every Canadian should know what Indigenous words mean and where they come from. For example, what does “Quebec” mean and what language does it come from? What about Ontario? What about Toronto? If you learn the languages of the territory you’re on, you’ll learn a lot about the history of where you live.” Through the art we present, we hope to build a better world by encouraging a multiplicity of perspectives and voices in dialogue and in song.