Music History

25 Signs You’ve Been to Edgefest

Edgefest, the long-running summer concert staged by 102.1 the Edge, has its roots in what was supposed to be a one-off Canada Day gig in 1987 that doubled as the station’s 10th anniversary party.  But it went soooooo well, that we decided to do it again in 1988.  And the year after that. And after that. And–well, it went on for a long time

That first Canada Day show was held at the Molson Park in Barrie–may she rest in peace.  Over the years, the concert moved to Ontario Place (the old Forum, the Molson Amphitheatre and Echo Beach) as well as Downsview Park.  Today (August 16) is the third of three Edgefests this year, which is reminiscent of the three gigs staged in 1995, the first year of operation of the Molson Amphitheatre.

The Huffington Post has assembled this list of 25 things that will prove that you’ve been to Edgefest at some point in your life.  Their number one moment is Radiohead’s first-ever Canadian appearance which happened on July 2, 1993.

My favourite moment?  The Panda Incident.

It was 2000 (I think) and the Matthew Good Band was playing a late afternoon set.  Before the show, Matt has this crazy idea of getting a bunch of characters up on stage at some point in the show.  That included representatives from the Toronto Argonauts cheerleading squad and a few people in costumes.

One of those costumed people was a member of the promotion staff at Matt’s record label.  Dressed up as a giant panda, he bounded onto the stage and began dancing towards the front of the stage.  The audience went nuts, urging him to stage dive.  Caught up in the moment, he took a running start and dove.

The crowd parted like the Red Sea.  The panda fell at least a dozen feet, landing on his panda face.  The audience, unaware that pandas are endangered (or perhaps because they are; hey, it was a weird time), they put the boots to the panda.  I mean, they kicked the shit out of him.  I have this image in my head of the panda holding his big panda hands over his big panda eyes.  It was so f**king funny.

By the time the panda was dragged from the pit, the damage was severe.  The panda’s head was built around a football helmet and contact with the ground broke the dude’s nose and there was blood everywhere. But we couldn’t stop laughing.  “What did you expect, you stupid panda?”

If you ever get Matt Good alone, ask him about The Panda Incident.  Chances are he’ll start giggling uncontrollably to the point where you might have to give him a Heimlich.

Later Matt proposed some album artwork for an album that looked a lot like the cover of Pink Floyd’s Animals–except in place of a pig there’s a floating panda.

Hysterical. But then maybe you just had to be there.




Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38457 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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