FFWD REW

Folk Fest: The Final Folking Countdown

Hello again Folk fans!

When I left the house this morning the weather looked a bit sketchy. Nonetheless I tossed my trusty Tilley hat in my bag and made my way to Prince’s Island Park hoping for the best.

Fortunately the clouds held all day and my bogus ankle put up with all the punishment I could dole out including many walks back and forth between the various side stages as I supped generously upon a smorgasbord of creatively-charged workshops. I’m just too fatigued to give a complete run-down of the day’s events so I’m going to try to tackle this in one gargantuan bold-heavy paragraph.

Ahem.

As I suggested they might yesterday the Deep Dark Woods rocked hard first thing in the A.M. After that I made a quick stop at Stage #2 to see LeE HaRVEY OsMOND ‘s Tom Wilson complain about the fact that he had to host a workshop even though he was doing a fantastic job. Then he played Queen Bee a great song from the new album. After that I grabbed some grub and took in a surprisingly excellent set featuring heart-wrenching numbers by Justin Rutledge Marc Berube and Ferron who were then pushed aside for a crushing foot-stomper by self-proclaimed "musical bullies" the Tom Fun Orchestra . If you caught the most talked-up workshop of the festival featuring Chad VanGaalen Jay Crocker the Ramblin’ Ambassadors and Akron/Family then you know what an insane whacked-out treat it was. And if you didn’t… I’m sorry for your loss? Moving on Bell Orchestre spearheaded the Cooking with Brass workshop with an awesome cover of "Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood" Alejandro Escovedo brought his flair and class to stage #5 for a superb collaborative effort and an incredible number of people turned up for the afternoon’s nod to hip hop featuring Kid Koala Mutaburaka Arrested Development and home-town duo Dragon Fli Empire . As usual I was pretty close to used up by the time the main stage kicked into gear but I really enjoyed the performance by Mavis Staples a consummate industry veteran who could bring tears of passion to the eyes of even the most jaded critic. Wait. Was that a cliche? Damn.

Phew.

OK this last part will be quick-like because I am fading fast and my poor ankle desperately needs to be iced. I did three interviews today and they were all awesome! The first was with the aforementioned Tom Fun Orchestra an extravagantly fun eight-piece from Cape Breton. Almost all of the interviews I did this weekend were conducted on the shore of the mighty Bow but these wild men decided to take it one step further and got in the river. One of them even went as far as stripping down to his skivvies! I should’ve expected as much from a band that won their name in a game of cards…

Next up was Montreal’s Labess who draw their influences from Algerian traditions. Be forewarned the interview contains a sample of my attempts to speak french which will amuse some but probably frighten or offend even more. Listener discretion is advised!

Important note: If you follow the above link to their website you can see the crazy shirts I asked them about at the end of the interview. You can’t miss them they’re the awesome ones with interlocking Berber letters.

Finally! A very special interview with Dragon Fli Empire who chatted with me mere minutes after the end of their once-in-a-lifetime workshop. Just as they arrived a fellow journalist was telling me that the security estimate for attendance at that set was 6000 which would put roughly half of all Sunday festivalgoers in the crowd. I’m not sure that was the case but I know it was frigging packed! Anyways if you ever wondered what raw unbridled enthusiasm sounds like here it is:

So that’s it! Congrats to the Folk Fest on selling out all four days for the first time ever (!!) It was certainly a memorable experience for me and I’ll look forward to going back next year. If I can keep myself in fighting shape ankle-wise I might be able to do twice as many interviews!

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