Roots on the Roof rocks out at annual winter community concert

As I dashed from my last math class of the term, and hopefully ever, up to the rooftop garden of the Nest, I realized I was an hour early for Lights on the Roof, the AMS Nest gardening club’s annual winter party and concert organized by Roots on the Roof. With procrastination on my mind, I jumped into “random volunteer mode” and started unfolding chairs. Over twenty volunteers including myself helped put on the 8th annual winter Lights on the Roof — emphasizing the communal nature of the event and the club that organized it.

5 p.m. rolled around with trickles of people, and I snagged a piece of gluten-free cake before the snack table developed a line longer than the Life Building Starbucks between classes.

Fernando Santaló, the opening single act, launched the night with holiday cheer, dressed in festive pyjamas bottoms.

Fernando Santaló kicks off Lights on the Roof with holiday tunes.
Fernando Santaló kicks off Lights on the Roof with holiday tunes. Zoe Wagner / The Ubyssey

At the end of his set, it was clear the crowd was getting ready for Legwarmers — the band, not the debatably stylish but undeniably cozy garment. Bubbly from the hot chocolate and the last-day high, the cold roof of the Nest began to feel like a nightclub.

The second half of the night was led by first-year musician Michael Price, and ended with alt-rock band Flint & Smoke. With a more intimate crowd for the rest of the night, the hometown bands and solo acts reminded me of the close-knit, carefree feeling of a summer house show — a welcome warmth in the middle of winter finals season.

Michael Price, illuminated in orange, performs at Lights on the Roof.
Michael Price, illuminated in orange, performs at Lights on the Roof. Zoe Wagner / The Ubyssey

In between listening to music, eating cake and drinking hot chocolate, people decorated “tree cookies” — inedible slices of a tree trunk. The wooden decorations will be turned into stepping stones in the Roots on the Roof garden, bringing together community involvement, art and sustainability.

Community-painted tree cookies sit out to dry.
Community-painted tree cookies sit out to dry. Zoe Wagner / The Ubyssey

I snagged a second with three execs at Roots on the Roof: President Carly Hilbert, Vice President Vania Kwan and Treasurer Judith Sofiana.

Lights on the Roof is their biggest event of the year, and they go all out. According to Hilbert, Roots on the Roof’s four pillars are “food, community, culture and art,” and Lights on the Roof’s festive atmosphere and abundant snacks combines them all .

They pointed out how all the bands were UBC students, making their dedication to celebrating local arts and culture clear.

With the success of this winter event, I imagined Roots on the Roof similarly lit up on a warmer April day and asked if we would be getting a second round for term two. While the Roots on the Roof team did not give me a definitive answer, it is on their minds. Although this year's Lights on the Roof is done, the seeds of the club's next event are germinating under the soil, waiting for the thaw.