2015 Hero: Wavelength
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2015 Hero: Wavelength

Nominated for: giving local music a space to be weird and wonderful.

Torontoist is reflecting on 2015 by naming our Heroes and Villains—the people, places, things, and ideas that have had the most positive and negative impacts on the city over the past 12 months. Cast your ballot until midnight on January 7. At noon on January 8, we’ll reveal your choices for Toronto’s Superhero and Supervillain of the year.

2015 was a big year for Toronto music festivals. With diverse offerings ranging from EDM (Veld) and indie rock (TURF), all the way to EDM (Digital Dreams) and indie rock (Field Trip), it felt like every weekend was another opportunity to bust out the ol’ flower crown.

But then Wavelength went and changed the game. Its inaugural Camp Wavelength was a raucous sleepaway camp for adults, held on Toronto Island and featuring homegrown heroes like Holy Fuck and The Wooden Sky. A stark contrast to the overwhelming corporate influence of contemporary festival culture, installations from local artists lined the festival grounds in lieu of branded selfie backdrops.

Bands and fans came together for a giant game of capture the flag. Maylee Todd stuck people’s dreams into her vagina. It was as weird and wonderful as everything Wavelength puts its name to.

Since its formation fifteen years ago, Wavelength has blossomed from a humble artist-run music series at the now-defunct Ted’s Wrecking Yard into an all-inclusive community arts hub that celebrates and strengthens the rich variety of Toronto’s musical output. Camp Wavelength’s only the latest addition to its eclectic roster of programming, which now includes a monthly showcase, the annual Wavelength festival in February, provocative panel discussions, and an artist incubator series.

It’s hard to imagine what Toronto’s music scene would look like without Wavelength’s influence. Performers like Broken Social Scene, the Arcade Fire, Owen Pallett, and Feist (to name just a handful) have gone on to international success, while thousands of local artists and fans have benefited from their support closer to home. Here’s to 15 more years of keeping it weird.