Field Trip’s genesis story begins with Canadian independent music label Arts & Crafts, whose 10th anniversary celebrations in 2013 culminated in the first iteration of the festival. Originally a one-day event, the series began with a full bill of Arts & Crafts bands, co-headlined by a return from the label's founding signee Broken Social Scene alongside 2012 Polaris Music Prize and multiple-time Juno winner Feist. Field Trip now fills the historic Fort York and Garrison Common every year for two days in early June, with world-class musical lineups playing against a backdrop of the city skyline.
Catering to the music community, families and Toronto as a whole, Field Trip crosses genre and generations, reflecting the diversity of the city. Arts & Crafts friends and favourites Japandroids, Timber Timbre and Bernice have all played the festival, though they’ve roped in impressive international acts, too, including American hip-hop trio De La Soul, Swedish electro-pop maven Robyn and jazz bassist extraordinaire Thundercat.
This trip isn’t just for adults, either: the weekend offers children 12 and under free entry, with Field Trip Day Camp programming offering young talent the chance to shine on stage, along with kid-friendly sets from main stage performers, having featured special performances from Dan Mangan and Canadian children's music legends Sharon & Bram in previous years. Also present are a bouncy castle, a creative photo booth and carnival games to engage an intergenerational audience.
The festival also seeks to promote artists of all stripes. The green space of Fort York and Garrison Common is transformed over Field Trip weekend into a colourful retreat, with Toronto food trucks and installations from the city’s emergent visual creators and festival artists-in-residence showcased throughout. In 2015, the festival launched Laugh Barracks, an indoor comedy stage that has featured sets by Mark Little, Alice Wetterlund and Dave Merheje.