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LOLA not just a festival, but a transformative experience

Ivana Pelisek | Interrobang | Lifestyles | September 14th, 2009

For the fourth consecutive year, Victoria Park will be transformed, as light and sound take over for a spectacular highly anticipated fest. LOLA will amaze all those who attend with its innovative programming and groundbreaking indie music and art.

Originally only a one-day event, thanks to its growing success (and fanbase) since 2006, this year's Lola will run from September 17- 20.

The streets of downtown London will dazzle with imagery from some of the world's best artists, and to accommodate the Forest City's music enthusiasts, sought after independent bands will perform on not one, but two separate nights.

“We try to have a good mix of what people can expect,” explained Paul Walde, Artistic Director for LOLA. “LOLA [to us] is not just a music festival…or an art festival [for that matter].”

Victoria Park will also be transformed into an outdoor gallery, and with the addition of the Transmedia stage, audience members can expect a lot more direct interaction than in years prior. As outlined by Walde, “the Transmedia stage comes from Meaford and Berlin artist Gordon Monahan, who will present Two Pianos Talking to Each other - a giant stereo system, using recycled pianos instead of speakers.”

In addition, attendees can look forward to catching appearances by Toronto's Michael Snow, recent recipient of the Governors-General Award, with percussionist/visual artist Jesse Stewart, by his side, on September 18.

When asked to describe his hopes for this year's upcoming affair, Walde's only reply was to, “expect the unexpected.” With past lineups drawing turnouts of over 100,000 from all across Ontario, Walde is justified in his confidence that LOLA '09 will be yet another hit.

Kristina Cardinale, recent Broadcast Journalism grad, from Barrie, Ontario is looking forward to attending once again this year. “It (LOLA 2008) was one of the best experiences of my life…not even the rain slowed the festival down,” she recalled. To this, she added how much she appreciated the festival's overall organizational scheme: “The stages were far apart enough [to ensure] that each band didn't over lap each other.”

Among its scheduled performers this year, some artists include the Nihilist Spasm Band, Brooklyn guitar hero Kaki King, and Danish quintet Slaraffenland. The first act to take centre stage will be A Horse And His Boy (AHAHB) and according to Walde, “by all accounts is definitely one of the bands to watch out for at LOLA.”

Sam Allen, bass guitarist for AHAHB is ecstatic about playing LOLA '09 along side his band mates.

“It's really awesome to get the chance to play…we're really excited and honoured to be playing with such an amazing set of performers,” he said.

CBC Radio is expected to record some music at the festival to use later on for specific music programming. Walde is hopeful that the addition of the Transmedia stage will allow artists to link with their music in a more positive way.

In the words of its creators, the mission of LOLA '09, an acronym for London Ontario Live Arts, is to “generate visions of brilliance and darkness that will challenge the senses and ignite the imagination. Through the transmission, refraction, redirection, generation, capture and interception of light, leading artists from Canada and across the globe will transform the city of London.” Put more precisely, as contested by Cardinale, LOLA is a festival that, “I would recommend to anyone.”

If you attend:

What: London Ontario Live Arts (LOLA) 2009 is two days of live music outdoors and four days of art installations at Victoria Park.

When: LOLA 2009 is from September 17-20.

Where: Victoria Park, Call the Office, UWO McIntosh Gallery, Forest City Gallery and convenient venues around London.
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