For three successful summers from 2015 to 2017, WayHome established itself as a major summer event. Inspired by (and affiliated with) Bonnaroo, the festival set itself apart with its balance of modern Canadian art and major international headliners. WayHome represented a world-class summer escape, offering attendees the chance to camp out on the grassy plains at Burl’s Creek Event Grounds in Oro-Medonte, ON and lose themselves in the camaraderie of their fellow attendees.
Over its three instalments, WayHome featured fest-defining sets from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Neil Young, St. Vincent, a newly reunited LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire and Solange, culminating in a grand finale by elusive R&B maestro Frank Ocean. The festival also included plenty of emerging Canadian acts, including July Talk, Weaves, Alvvays, Allie X and Jazz Cartier. The eclectic lineup spanned all manner of genres, including punk performances by Fucked Up and White Lung, hard-hitting hip hop by Danny Brown (in both 2015 and 2017) and Run the Jewels, and late-night dance parties featuring Justice, Bassnectar and Girl Talk.
While music was a major part of WayHome, its arts lineup was hardly subservient, featuring pieces and installations by Charles Bierk (who curated the 2015 edition), Trevor Wheatley, Aaron Li-Hill, Philippe Blanchard and many more. From sculpture to multimedia and more, the festival’s displays complemented the diverse and aesthetically oriented nature of the festival. The festival also featured a range of food and beverage options from Toronto restaurateurs and international chefs.
The Burl’s Creek Event Grounds added to the festival’s appeal. The stages offered a diverse range of atmospheres for performers, from the open-air headlining WayHome and WayBright stages to smaller offerings such as the canopy-covered WayBold stage or the tucked among trees ambiance of WayAway, not to mention sprawling campgrounds packed with tents and excited attendees. WayHome emphasized teamwork and inclusivity, with campers coining the term “WayHomies” to describe their fellow festivalgoers.
WayHome went on indefinite hiatus after its 2017 edition.