Ah the weekend. Folk Fest’s bread and butter. Thursday and Friday often impress but the weekend is when the creative juices really start to flow. With a solid slate of collaborative workshops day 3 of this year’s festival was no exception bringing together a huge number of diverse talents to perform under the scorching sun.
The first highlight of my day was seeing the Acorn on stage with Tarhana Pacifika and Apostle of Hustle . From there I ducked underneath the path to Stage #6 to catch Jay Crocker who was at the tail end of what sounded like an excellent set featuring some new material (to me at least!)
After that I stuck around for another workshop featuring Jason Wilson and PAPAGROOVE alongside hometown boys Michael Bernard Fitzgerald and Dragon Fli Empire . I will be making an effort to see PAPAGROOVE tomorrow as their blasts of brass gave huge boosts to original songs by MBF and DFI. Unfortunately Wilson decided to bust out a rather vacuous cover of Bob Marley’s Get Up Stand Up which clashed horribly with everyone else on stage and repelled me completely.
Fortunately Saskatoon’s the Deep Dark Woods were rocking out right next door and I caught a few minutes of their super-tight set. They’re taking the stage for a workshop first thing tomorrow morning so I will be making my way down for another taste.
My next stop was back-stage at the media tent where I had the chance to interview Sjahin During and Borislav Petrov of Tarhana a band with diverse roots that span continental Europe from Amsterdam to Istambul. We spoke about their experiences touring the world especially their recent time in Canada and they told me how they think their music can help heal some serious cultural rifts that are becoming increasingly apparent in the world.
Immediately afterwards I rushed to the area behind Stage #4 for a chat with Rolf Klausener of the Acorn . He had plenty to say about the process involved in playing workshops and he also told me about a recent two-week session in a secluded Quebec cabin which laid the groundwork for the band’s next album.
After a few more workshops including one featuring Chad VanGaalen speculating that in future years the festival might be “powered by fingerbanging” it was time for evening shows. While there were some excellent main stage options like the superb Alejandro Escovedo the Twilight Stage was really the place to be with standout perforrmances from Kid Koala who scratched his way through a high-energy dance-friendly set and Akron/Family who ratcheted up the festival’s natural hippie vibe by several notches. Around the midway point of their absurdly long set they invited Rolf and other members of the Acorn on-stage to play percussion for a 20-minute extenda-jam that whipped the crowd into a tribal frenzy.
I could probably spill another two or three paragraphs describing the show but I’ll leave it at this: it was a superb performance and it finally made me understand why people are so gonzo crazy for this band. If you have any chance to see them tomorrow especially if it’s at their oh-so-promising workshop with VanGaalen Crocker and the Ramblin’ Ambassadors do so. It will be great.