Monday, August 10, 2009

Unleash your inner weirdo (or views from the Folk Fest)

I've spent the better part of the last five days at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. It's been going on every summer for 30 years, but this was my first time.

It was a blast. The music was fantastic - so diverse! As someone put it, there was a great mixture of famous acts and ought-to-be-famous acts.

For the mainstage concerts, we sat on Gallagher Hill, overlooking the city centre. It has the best view of the skyline! I took a couple of photos at night with all the buildings lit up, but they didn't come out very clear. .

The OnlyChild met a new friend - a grasshopper that sat on her shoe for close to an hour, taking in the sights. She named him Harold.

In addition to mainstage shows, there are also 'workshops' where musicians hold mini concerts or get together with other artists and have a show. Steven Page was there yesterday. In case you're not familiar with him, he was the lead singer of the Barenaked Ladies. I love their music! He's pretty good solo, too, but I was really hoping to hear him do some of BNL's songs. Steven Page was the mainstage act last night, but I had already left by the time he took the stage. After 5 days, I was so tired and really needed to spend some time at home.

This is Johnny Flynn (and the Sussex Wit). What a cutie! He's 25 and looks about 17. All the young girls were crowded in the front row to watch him. That British accent would make a girl swoon!

One of the local radio stations set up a booth and they were interviewing musicians live on the air. Bela Fleck is an amazing banjo player who plays jazz and bluegrass. He has collaborated with artists from all over the world and his latest CD is a project recorded with African musicians. He travelled to African villages seeking out their best musicians. He was very interesting!

One of my new favourites is Jill Barber. She is a Canadian girl (yay!) whose songs sound like 1940s love songs. I bought one of her CDs and I'm really enjoying it. She was so sweet and beautiful. Look at her dress!

And her shoes...

I kind of fell in love with Danny Michel (don't tell Mr. P). I think I liked him best of all - he was cute (ya just wanna squeeze him), funny, great musician, very humble, and also Canadian (we have a lot of fabulous musicians!). When I went to buy his CD, there were none left. Boohoo.

There were so many great acts. Wednesday night's concert (an extra fundraiser) was headlined by Meaghan Smith, Tracy Chapman and Sarah McLachlan. I love Sarah McLachlan - her CD Fumbling Towards Ecstasy was the very first CD I ever bought and I'm still listening to it. Plus, we have the same birthday (but she's two years older than me). I couldn't get any good photos of her performing because we were too far up the hill. It was so wonderful to sit in the dark, candles lit all around us and just listen.

Other musicians that I particularly enjoyed included Joel Plaskett, Kathleen Edwards, Neko Case, Alex Cuba, the Wailers (without Bob Marley of course), Great Lake Swimmers, Patty Griffin, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Ashley MacIsaac, Niamh Parsons, Ben Sures, and the Wooden Sky.

Steve Earle was there, plus Boz Scaggs and Rodney Crowell. Oh, there were so many. Too many to list, so if you want to know more, go to the Folk Fest website.

You can click on any of the red names and you'll be taken to their webpages!

I've also noticed that the Folk Fest brings out the weirdo in people. I'm sure most of the people who attended are normal people with normal lives, but for five days in August they become old hippies or young hippy-wannabes. It's kind of fun to see.

Like this fella below with the fur cape. He was a real attention seeker! So obnoxious.

And these girls - they actually get paid to walk around like this all day. It was pretty neat. They had other costumes - birds, mermaids - but I didn't manage to get more photos of them.

And this chick, who was grooving away to the music.

I wish I'd taken more photos of the people watching the concerts. You would have enjoyed the sights!

A great time at the Folk Fest. I went with my friend Patt, who's been many times before. It was good to have someone to show me the ropes and guide me through the throngs of people (easily 15-20,000 a day). I ate delicious chicken bhoona, got a terrible sunburn, ran into a few students and former students, went barefoot all day, stayed out past midnight for four nights in a row, and thoroughly enjoyed myself!
Now I have to make up for lost time and get to work.


goldenbird said...

Sounds like you had fun at Woodstock, um, I mean Folk Fest. Going barefoot all day sounds wonderful, and so do some of those musicians. Danny Michael sure is cute. (So is Harold, for that matter, and I like the OnlyChild's striped sneakers.) I'm definately a hippie at heart, and I like folk music, but can't handle being in a crowd that size.

Aloe Vera for your sunburn ...

Pat said...

Sounds like a LOT of work goes into that festival and it's great how many artists they get to perform there. I"m glad you had such a nice time.

Anne said...

I clicked on your link to Jill Barber and couldn't tear myself away. I think that CD is in my future! Sounds like a great event. Thanks for sharing.


SOunds like you had a great time! some good tunes for sure! takes me back to college days for sure...

Quilter Going Bananas said...

Good time was had by all! Rock on! well, uh, ok, Folk Music rock on!

PunkiePie said...

Fun fun! And I would have done the same thing as your daughter; naming the grasshopper. Amelia is a Sarah McLachlan fan as well. I don't care for her music but her Grandma is a fan so she hears her music at their house.

julia said...

No wonder the grasshopper stayed so long on your daughter's shoe; they are so cute!!! I love, love, love your friend's dress! The concert sounds like lots of fun!

andsewon said...

Fun fun fun!!
That is good for you from time to time.
We used to do a lot of Bluegrass/Folk Fests...been a while..;-(

Thimbleanna said...

Ha! You're a hippie at heart! Harold knows cool shoes when he sees them. Looks like you had a great time!

Red Geranium Cottage said...

Sounds like Woodstock all over again. lolol I love that vest that guy had on. Gotta get me one of those.

Lynn Wheeler said...

Just found this post now. Not sure how I missed it. Thanks so much for sharing. Love live music and enjoy several of the artists you mentions. Sarah is an all time favorite of mine as well.