Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Calgary Folk Music Festival

It seems ages ago already that we went to Folk Fest in July. J&M came down the for the weekend and we spent a relaxing and enjoyable time with them, eating copious amounts of pancakes and hanging out. But back to the original order of business: Folk Fest. We only went for one day because we couldn't afford to spring for the whole weekend. And as it turned out, I'm not sure we could have handled more days, what with the heat in the early part of the day, and then the thunder and rain storm in the afternoon/evening. We took in a number of shows, the best of which was, as I previously posted here, Martyn Joseph. But we also saw John Wort Hannam, who was his usual energetic self. Jesse Winchester was a bit of a disappointment as he spent more time talking about himself and sharing inside jokes with his long-time fans than sharing music with the rest of us. We sat in on a couple of jam sessions with various artists, some of which flowed better than others. As we were walking around checking out all the stages, we found what would be the main stage for the evening's shows. We were shocked at all the tarps and chairs laid out--and five hours before anything would take place there. Clearly, we had not been to a Folk Fest before! But we wandered through the tarp city and completely surprisingly, found a spot to spread out our blanket and join the masses. The last big show we had been anticipating was Josh Ritter. It was drizzling by that point, and we endured it as best we could since we had been so looking forward to hearing him. He put on a pretty high energy enthusiastic show, which was cut short because there were six other artists performing on the main stage that evening. But what we and especially J was frustrated about, was that though he was scheduled to sign autographs after the show, and J&M had bought cds especially for him to sign, he cancelled at the last minute! Such a contrast to Martyn Joseph earlier in the day, who stuck around for a long time signing albums and talking to his fans (both J&M and we got cds signed). There was a black American man singing blues in the misty rain as we sat on on the grass on our rain coats and got colder and wetter. This guy, whose name completely escapes me, seemed pretty annoyed that he wasn't getting much a response from the crowd, and we too got bored and miserable enough to decide to call it a night. Both M and I wanted nothing more than to get home to a hot shower. But aside from several excellent musical shows, there were two other memorable parts of the day. One was all the people to look at. I am a well-studied (and unapologetic) people watcher, and this day was perfect for the hobby. There were old and young; hippies of all ages. All kinds of interesting clothing. And dancing. And piercings and tattoos and hair styles. Second, the food. They had booths of all sorts of food--including a Tim Hortons, which to my glee, was doing very poorly. Who goes to Tim Hortons at a Folk Festival?? We had Mediterranean barbeque wraps for lunch at the recommendation of John Wort Hannam. Then for supper J and B had butter chicken and rice and nan bread, I had pad thai and M had an African wrap. And for dessert we had sweet hot chai tea that was so good the first time round that we went back for more. The second time, however, we must have gotten the bottom of the barrel because it was horribly bitter and not sweet at all. Oh yes, and we had hot and fresh sugar-coated mini donuts. What could be better? Indeed, it was a most interesting first experience of Folk Fest.

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