WTFest rocks Lions Park

Vincent Ball

By Vincent Ball, Brantford Expositor

Our Lady Peace has been recording and performing for 25 years but they still find ways to keep it fresh.
“Yes, I think it would be easy to get stale if all we did was studio work,” lead guitarist Steve Mazur said before performing at WTFest on Saturday. “It would probably be the same if all you did was live shows – kind of like going on auto-pilot.
“I think you need to have that balance and we’ve been fortunate to have had a good mix of recording and live concerts.”
Our Lady Peace was the headliner at this year’s WTFest, an outdoor concert in Lions Park with a ‘90s theme. Mazur said he was delighted to be performing in Brantford and is enjoying the opportunity to play live shows.
“I do a lot of studio work and when you’re in the studio there’s always the opportunity to stop and re-do something. “Not so when you perform live.
“Once you start there’s no turning back so there is an element of danger, of risk, which makes it exciting.”
There’s also the energy of a large audience, which can be a double-edged sword. The energy of the crowd is fuel for the band on stage but musicians have to be careful not to be overwhelmed by it.
Thousands packed the park for the third annual WTFest. Crowd estimates were not immediately available but the beer tent was busy and a couple selling bottled water reported booming sales thanks to the combination of hot weather, music and beer.
The gates opened at noon and the concert began with local and regional bands followed by Sumo Cyco, Treble Charger, Soul Asylum, Tonic and Collective Soul. The crowd got bigger and became more engaged as each band went on,
Things really got going when Tonic took the stage and the energy of the crowd again hit another gear when lead singer Ed Roland and Collective Soul performed prior to Our Lady Peace.
Collective Soul continued playing after leaving the stage, with their backstage performance captured on video by Jamie Stephens, one of the festival’s organizers and the public face of the concert.
“Three years of doing WTFest and this is hands down the best moment so far,” Stephens posted on his social media page. “Very intimate and special moment captured.
“Great to see the band having fun. Love the guy saying, ‘We’ve still got it.’”
The concert was attended by many from Brantford but people also came in from Cambridge and the Niagara area.
Justin and Jessica Metzgar of Cambridge came specifically to see Our Lady Peace but arrived when the gates opened, spending all afternoon taking in the music.
“Our Lady Peace is a terrific live band,” Justin said.
The band was founded in 1992 and, over the past 25 years, has sold millions of albums worldwide. The band has also won four Juno Awards and 10 MuchMusic Video Awards.
The iconic Canadian band is having a busy summer. They have been playing all over and will be opening for Guns N’Roses when that band tours Canada in August.
Spectators shared their favourite WTFest moments on The Expositor’s website and social media page. Others took to their own social media page to talk about the concert.
“WTFest 2017 was stellar,” Jenny Sawicki posted. “Good tunes, good friends and a chance to take a trip down memory lane.
“Saw the best exit of a band ever when Collective Soul left (the stage), a memory that will be forever felt.”