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Top 5 lessons we learned at Indie Week Toronto 2013

Indie Week Toronto celebrated its 10th anniversary in style October 16-20, taking over 16 of the city's hottest venues and bringing together over 250 bands from Canada and beyond.

We were there to take in all the madness first-hand and in addition to having a great time, we even learned a thing or two...

5) If you're traveling in from out of town, remember: Toronto is a cold b*&^h in October
It looks all beautiful and sunny, then you walk out your front door and find yourself shivering like a zebra in the Arctic (that's a somewhat correct analogy, right?). Next thing you know, yours truly was walking around with Day 1's shirt under Day 2's outfit because I'm a genius who doesn't check the weather before packing. Trust me, it's not a good look, so plan ahead and bring enough stuff.

4) Giving venues off the beaten track a chance pays off
With concerts spread out across the city, Indie Week counts itself lucky in being able to offer shows at a variety of venues, from popular bars to more quaint affairs, so don't be shy about venturing off Queen West. Case in point: Blues rocker Matt Blais' Monarch Pub gig was intimate and something only a lucky few got to experience. It was also the only time during IW that he had the chance to perform his killer version of 'House of the Rising Sun'. Win.

3) The best things happen when you least expect them to
It was towards the end of a hoppin' Folk Alliance industry mixer at the Chelsea Hotel that the power suddenly went out and things got even radder with an impromptu acoustic set with a one of a kind ambience. (Note: It was an open bar event, so amping it up was no easy feat.) Instead of letting us sit around, drinking in the dark, alone with our tears, the uber talented Emily Rupp picked up a ukulele and showed us what Brooklyn is all about with a stunning Adele cover. Her vocals were so strong, they were ridiculous. High fives.

2) Violins kick major ass
By far the most buzzed about band of the week, The Mad Violinist and The Symphony Crack Orchestra - winners of Indie Week Ireland - conquered audience after audience and slayed venue after venue, proving there's still hope for the music industry. Yes, there are in fact musicians out there who have managed to find a way in which to be different and innovative. Watching The Mad Violinist shred through two bows during a set is an unrivaled experience that's guaranteed to restore your faith in music. Simply put, these guys are so good, it's almost annoying. (There was also a second lesson to be learned here: When I grow up, I wanna be just like them.)

1) Canadian music festivals really are world-class
Move over American fests - looking at you, SXSW, Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo - Canada is here to make you shake in your boots, as it solidifies itself as a serious contender for the title of North American Music Festival King. All thanks to events like Indie Week. So we raise a toast to IW's 10th edition and can't wait until its 11th!