Well folks, as of December 14th, 2019, we have left Hollerado land. The Ottawa based band first formed in 2007 and called it a day and set off on their Farewell Tour in the fall of 2019. The group consisted of Menno Versteeg (lead vocals, guitar), Nixon Boyd (lead guitar, backing vocals), Dean Baxter (bass, backing vocals) and Jake Boyd (drums, backing vocals).
When I heard Hollderado was officially disbanding, I thought back to when I was first introduced to them. I haven’t been a fan since their debut album in 2009, like others. Instead, I became a fan when I heard them perform at Burlington’s Sound of Music Festival in the summer of 2019. I had just turned nineteen, going through the motions of heartbreak, and hadn’t gone out much in around a month. I was texting my friend, Steven when he mentioned he was going to the festival with a group of friends and offered to pick me up if I wanted to let loose for the night. Now spontaneity is not my thing; I’m a planner. If you know me, you know this, so I shocked myself when I decided to go with the group at the last minute. When I got in the car, I asked, “What band are we going to see again? Colorado?” to which the group laughed and Steven still laughing, corrected me “No, no, its Hollerado. Pretty close, though!”
When we arrived at the festival, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I hadn’t even had time to listen to their music before I had left my house. By the time Hollerado took the stage, the group was settled in the “Wine Garden” with drinks in hand ready to party. I was probably the furthest you could get from the stage, but I was lifted by Hollerado’s stage presence. They brought energy and a smile to my face that only my favourite bands have been able to bring out of me. They closed the show with Juliette, which reminded me of a song you’d find in an early 2000’s Amanda Byne’s movie. Still, at that point, everyone was drunk and dancing. It was a perfect moment in time.
The next time I saw Hollerado would ultimately be my last. I had bought two tickets to their final Danforth show the night before and on the day of rushed from doing a major interview to the venue. I had dragged my friend Naomi, who had never heard of the band before that night, with me. There were no GA seats left, but with beers hand, we found our balcony seats (which is still closer to the stage than I was the first time). I think they opened with Hollerado Land, but don’t take my word for it because my memory is hazy. The closing song, however, I could never forget. Just like the first time I saw them, they closed with Juliette. They brought a fan from the pit to play with them (and they were surprisingly great), the confetti was flying, and no one wanted to go home. It was a moment of complete euphoria and realization that this was it. This was not only the end of a show but the end of an era.
That night was the end of a band that had meant so much to so many people, and you could feel it in the air that night.
There truly is no better place than Hollerado Land.