Folkfest 2012

This year I don’t really know why, but I mostly didn’t go listen to musicians from cultures other than North American ones. Maybe another year with more energy I’ll seek more of them out again.

Also, I noticed that when I drifted in to a session late and missed the introductions, I didn’t end up that engaged. It had more to do with that than whether I was sitting close. I will try to remember that, and try leaving early instead.

So here’s a list of who I saw, I think, edited once to add some I forgot.

Arlo Guthrie – Guthrie Family Reunion – This was fun, because there seemed to be a whole bunch of relatives including small children who were comfortable singing into a microphone. The best parts were listening (and seeing from up close) to a very familiar voice doing City of New Orleans, and getting to sing along to This Land is Your Land, with no question except that it would be with the words I learned as a child (and was shocked to learn later in life that they weren’t original).
Emmylou Harris – I didn’t stay very long because I don’t really like her music and I wasn’t enjoying myself enough to expend spoons.
La Bottine Souriante – This was a fun mid-afternoon mainstage performance of traditional-style Quebecois music, with fiddle, guitar, a brass section, etc and a joyful wiry-middle-aged-looking stepdancer/ percussive dancer named Sandy Silva.
Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder – a bluegrass band. I don’t like bluegrass. I guess they were good.
Mary Chapin Carpenter – She did not do Passionate Kisses in this concert or in the session I went to, but I enjoyed her performance
James Vincent McMorrow – Oddly awkward Irish singer with a guitar.
Jim Cuddy Band – singer from Blue Rodeo. I saw part of the set from our farther-back tarp and don’t remember much
Mavis Staples – more of a gospel set than I’d expected from the writeup. She got Bonnie Raitt to come out for the singalong Will the Circle Be Unbroken, which was fun.
Bonnie Raitt – I liked her performance a lot more than I expected to.
Wool on Wolves – This is a local band billed as folk-rock but they use a lot of the chords and rhythms that I call “my kind of music”. I will definitely watch for future local gigs.
The Dunwells – a new rock band from Leeds who are GREAT.
Johnny Clegg Band – For this concert and the next one, I mostly sat off to the side in the sliver of shade at Stage 3, except when I needed to dance. He told stories of his life and musical collaborations through the changing times in South Africa.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo – They did “Homeless” from the Graceland album.
Dry Bones – By the time I went to their concert I’d seen them in a couple of sessions and played their album at home and while cycling to and from the festival site. So it was no surprise that I had a great time. Besides Nathan Rogers (who should probably get a whole post to himself, I have such a crush) his bandmates were also good especially Leonard Podolak who was funny.
TNile – She’s a singer-songwriter from Gabriola Island. I watched the end of her concert while standing up in the shade at the back of stage 7. That is where I learned that I can dance and knit at the same time and enjoy both, because I couldn’t help dancing.

Sessions with the following combinations of musicians
Dry Bones, Lindi Ortega, The Barr Brothers, David Wax Museum – David Wax is a weird twitchy dude. Lindi Ortega (hmm, I thought I’d seen her in three sessions but this list is only two) did “Lord Won’t You Buy Me a Mercedes Benz” twice, which was too many, but was otherwise interesting to listen to and look at.
Rose Cousins, Jim Lauderdale, Pokey LaFarge, New Country Rehab – I liked Rose Cousins quite a bit, but was kind of bored with Pokey LaFarge and New Country Rehab.
Valdy, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lori McKenna, Suzie Vinnick & Rick Fines – This was a neat session. I can’t remember specifics though.
Dry Bones, The Dunwells, Lindi Ortega – This morning session was called “Question Box”, and it started with Nathan Rogers (of whom, yeah) going into the audience with a box with pen and pad of notepaper attached, for people to write questions for the musicians. I took the box from him to write a question but couldn’t come up with a very amusing one; still, though, it was fun to have it read out and answered. This was my first glimpse of The Dunwells. Nobody else was dancing at that stage and I wasn’t quite sure where to dance on our side of the stage, so that was the only time during the weekend that I wanted to dance and didn’t.
Geoff Berner, Wool on Wolves, Scott Cook, Kim Beggs & T. Nile – This was another of the sessions that I came late to so wasn’t very engaged, and I didn’t get to hear much of Wool on Wolves. I liked the others, but had trouble figuring out who was who. Kim Beggs is from the Yukon.

Unlike last year, I stuck around to the very end of the finale, where the volunteers go on stage and everyone sings Four Strong Winds. Last year it was neat to hear the song as I re-packed my bicycle and headed out through the neighbourhood to the path home, but this year I wasn’t feeling impatient so it was neat to stay on the tarp singing with some of our crowd.

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