Revisiting The Tragically Hip in Bobcaygeon

16th August 2016 - Angela Buna

The Tragically Hip are arguably one of Canada’s most iconic bands. Here at Clark Stanley, we’re huge fans of their music. Some of us grew up listening to The Hip; some of us remember the release of their first album. Most of us have countless fond memories that we can associate with a Hip song.

We were so saddened to hear the news about Gord. Andy Keen of Clark Stanley produced and directed the documentary about The Tragically Hip’s 2011 pilgrimage to headline a music festival in Bobcaygeon. We thought that, as a sort of tribute to Gord and the rest of the band, it would be nice to speak with Andy and write about his experience filming this amazing concert event. Andy, a long time Hip fan, explained what it was like to work with the band so closely and experience a front row view of one their biggest concerts ever.

Clark Stanley: How did you get involved with this project?

Andy Keen: I was invited to meet Gord to talk about making a film about the Bobcaygeon show – I am told that he liked the film I made with Sarah Harmer “Escarpment Blues”. When I met with him, he liked my socks. 

CS: What was it like to work with Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip?

AK: Working with Gord Downie and the band was an honour. But in addition, it was cool, enlightening, serious and fun. When you are up close with The Tragically Hip on tour you are offered a rare glimpse at a big, finely tuned machine. It’s amazing. But… you spend only a moment contemplating this before you become a part of it, get on with what we were there to do – make a movie. It made me proud.   

The Tragically Hip at Bobcaygeon

CS: Have you always been a fan of the band?

AK: I was a Hip fan before I made the film, and I had been to a couple of shows, including a beautifully intimate show in NYC in the late 90s. With this film I became a huge fan, who became inspired and educated after immersing myself in their music, their lives on the road, and after getting to know so many of their lifelong fans. 

CS: What were the fans like at this concert?

AK: Hip fans come from all walks of life, but at show time, they are one big family.

CS: What was one of your favourite memories from filming?

AK: In the film, we had the chance to be on the bus with the band right before they hit the stage in front of 25,000 people at Bobcaygeon. The camera captures several moments of their pre-show routine. Here’s a band who have played hundreds of concerts to huge stadiums and festival crowds, and they are clearly excited, getting pumped up as if it’s the first time they’d done it. I think it’s pure cinema. 

The Tragically Hip at Bobcaygeon