Photo Credit: A\J Staff

In our social fabric, music and song are the stitches keeping us together. Music is an honest and powerful tool to create memorable moments between places and people, and it has always acted as a facilitator for community. As we grow together as a society, we become more protective of each other, and of the spaces in which we connect. When these connections are made, we work diligently to protect them.

Guelph has an amazing community of musicians, earth keepers, activists and protectors who all work together to support one another. We as a community come together once every July for Hillside to support artists, musicians and makers while conserving our local environment through Hillside’s green initiatives. The music may bring us together, but it serves as a catalyst for a larger conversation on the importance of collective experience in shared space. With many environmental issues in the world today, change can be made through the cumulative effort of community members.

There is feeling of positivity that radiates through the artists, volunteers and Guelph community during Hillside. While Hillside may not be the largest festival, it is mighty. In my opinion, the quality of action, rather than the quantity makes the largest impact. To solve ongoing environmental issues, it is important to note what can be done at the local level. Hillside is able to highlight simple effective actions that can positively shape the course of our collective environmental impact. Actions range from the proper management and sorting of waste, to the use of reusable dishes. These small simple actions can make a great deal of difference over a three day festival, and Hillside has many volunteers graciously donating their time and effort to the “Green Team” who help facilitate these initiatives.

One way music creates community is by connecting many people across differing spectrums of thought. It allows for different points of view to be heard by wide audiences. Musicians have the responsibility of communicating powerful messages to be received by the audience. Hillside 2018 saw an inspiring line up of more than sixty bands ranging from bluegrass to funk and everything in between. It is the type of festival where hopping from stage to stage is most enjoyed with friends and family, with new connections made at every stage. Building these connections allows us to grow together as a community. Music is a wonderful promoter for these shared experiences, which have a profound impact. Music is a powerful tool; it can change our points of view and unite groups across many demographics.

In my experience as a musician playing in Guelph for the last five years and having the opportunity to play Hillside in 2017, I have experienced the powerful impacts of music firsthand. Singing, dancing, playing and listening to music are how social, emotional, and environmental connections are made. Music allows us to be vulnerable. It has the ability to shape our lives and influence our values. Regardless of our backgrounds, race, sex, gender or age, music through all of its many forms, has an important role of bringing us together. 

“Never doubt that a group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead.



Andy Miller is an artist, musician and daydreamer. He spends his time making music and thinking of the many uses for everyday objects. 

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