With the weather forecast calling for rain later in the day, summer in the six yet again delivered a vibe of unpredictability as the whole city of Toronto (and the surrounding boroughs) descended upon the newly minted Budweiser Stage (formerly the amphitheatre) for Drake’s eighth annual OVO Fest.

First to take the stage were the OVO Sound up-and-comers. With short but sweet sets from Roy Woods and DVSN, the mood was set for the festival opener Majid Jordan to lay down a solid set of their sensual yet extremely danceable R&B. Showing their star power with the upmost ease, they delivered their set with grace, making sure to thank the crowd, getting them ready for the crown prince of the city to take the stage.

Promptly taking the stage at 9pm, Drake started his set standing several stories in the air on a very life-size replica of the observation deck of our beloved CN Tower. You know, that bulbous section that was made world-famous by appearing on the cover of Drake’s Views album last year. As is the tradition with OVO Fest, Drake performed several of his tracks, getting the crowd amped, before bringing out the first of many surprise guests. First up was Playboi Carti, who preformed a couple of his tracks including the ever-buzzy “Magnolia” which had the crowd turning up and doing the milly rock.

From there a little more Drake heat before the boys from Rae Sremmurd came out performing “Black Beatles” as well as a ‘new exclusive’ track before sliding into their French Montana track “Unforgettable.” It was at this point, French came out. Obvi.

More of the numerous hits that Drake has, before the unthinkable happened, Drizzy brought out fellow Toronto rapper Tory Lanez. This was definitely a big moment as these two have been on the receiving end of cloak and dagger barbs from each other for years. No one wins when the city feuds.

Drake. Bangers. People dancing and singing along.

Cardi B came out. Travis Scott came out. PARTYNEXTDOOR came out. NELLY came out and performed four of his most famous tracks which was a REAL treat. Seriously.

With the crowd fully worked up, Drake took a minute to show his appreciation for the city casually adding, “I pay for this out of my own pocket… I don’t even make money from this.” Hard to believe, but the sentiment is there and totally appreciated.

Then the cherry on the proverbial cake happened, The Weeknd came out and smashed through some of his biggest hits, including “Starboy” before Drizzy reappeared and the two of them performed “Crew Love” like it was no big thang. It was a big thang, a very big thang. With over sixteen thousand people singing the lyrics back at the two Toronto superstars, it was a night to feel proud of the city we all call home.

With more Drake bangers, and a lot of thank you’s from the “humble” host, the eighth annual OVO Fest ended with a promise for eight, ten, twenty more to come.

Check out our photos below. Shouts to OVO Sound and Budweiser for the hospitality.

Roy Woods
DVSN
Majid Jordan
Drake & Friends
photos by Hawley Dunbar for Sidewalk Hustle