They say one good swing deserves another and if last year’s HeavyTO festival was any indication, then this one is going to be a homerun. Back for the second year in a row, HeavyTO promises to bring world class metal to Toronto. For two whole days, Downsview Park will be transformed into the mecca for shirtless and sweaty metalheads looking to get a heavy metal fix. With over than 25 bands slated to appear, brave souls that will bear up to 40 degree heat just to see their favourite group thrash about while they ritualistically recite every word of their songs. After spinning in a circle and knocking into each other like bumper cars with a grudge, most will take a quick breather and bask in the veritable pantheon of foods offered by the vendors. Most will make sure to hit all four festival food groups: fried, deep fried, baked and alcoholic.
Let’s face it, 2011’s lineup was hard, if not next to impossible to beat; it included the likes of Mastodon, Anthrax, Diamond Head, DevilDriver, Rob Zombie, and Mötörhead. However, with the recently announced 2012 lineup, HeavyTO promises to take it to a whole different level. This year’s lineup again spreads the metal goodness over a blistering 48 hours and includes a motley assortment of groups, featuring bands like Killswitch Engage, Deftones, Overkill, System of a Down, Five Finger Death Punch, Marilyn Manson, and Slipknot.
Another worthy attraction would be the slew of death metal acts slated to appear alongside their aforementioned metal brethren, with music from Origin, Cannibal Corpse, Exhumed, Gojira, and Dethklok. Tickets start at just $80.50 CAD for those just interested in catching a single day, but those who purchase a weekend pass get both days at the reduced cost of $147.00. Some things are just too sweet to pass by.
If live music just isn’t your type of thing, there are plenty of other activities to spend your time and money on; there’s guitar demos, video game betas, cheap albums, and the famed festival merch tables with limited edition tshirts in everybody’s favourite colour. However, the biggest non musical event the festival has to offer are without a doubt, the round the clock autograph sessions at the Jagermeister tent. Like clockwork, bands come in and sit down and put felt to…errr pretty much whatever you give them. DevilDriver, Baptized In Blood, and Slayer all made appearances last year and this is a truly rare chance to shake hands with beef (so to speak).
Speaking about things passing by, let me regale you with an anecdote; while my friend and I were hiding from the high noon sun behind the inflatable tent, a golf cart zips by us, kicking up a dust storm that me more tasted than saw. After we gathered ourselves from that traumatic ordeal, we focused our vision and we made out that it was Alex Sklonick and the human truck himself, Chuck Billy, riding on the back of a tiny golf cart waving to us as they went by. I can handle missing the royal jubilee, but that image of Alex and Chuck riding a tiny golf cart will always stay with me. HeavyTo, we make memories.
Thankfully, with the second iteration, the promoters behind HeavyTO have proven that they are dedicated to not only to the music, but in creating a social event on the likes of Download, WOA, Bloodstock, and Rock-am-Ring, not just scale, but in sheer face melting quality.
Without a doubt, there is no other place to be this summer, festival or otherwise. There’s absolutely nothing better than being surrounded by tens of thousands of other passionate metal fans in the scorching August heat. But that’s okay, I can take a beer break. I just hope they bring back the JagerGirls.