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Hillside Festival celebrates 40th year at Guelph Lake Conservation Area

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Community festivals are starting to fill up the mid-summer calendar, and one at Guelph Lake Conservation Area is celebrating its 40th year.

Hillside Festival started up Friday and attracted thousands to the three-day even with live music, four different stages, and activities in categories active living, body and mind, and do-it-yourself.

Organizers say they've come a long way since just talking about it with musicians around a kitchen table in 1984, but they've managed to stay true to their roots with a strong focus on environmental activism.

"It's always involved creativity, but also care and stewardship of the earth," said executive director Marie Zimmerman. "It's got a really strong community embeddedness. People contribute their talents and their strengths and passions to the festival and it just makes the place kind of vibrate with love and excitement."

Hundreds of people rode their bicycles to the event, with the OPP providing a "bicycle brigade escort" away from the festival grounds at the end of each night.

More than 1,300 volunteers are working throughout the festival until Sunday at the conservation area.

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