Folk Fest, Day One

Posted on

For someone who was disproportionately outraged when the Winnipeg Folk Festival changed its slogan from “Think Music” to “People & Music” in the mid-90s (because Folk Fest was clearly and exclusively about The Music), I sure didn’t see much music last night.

You know how it is. You have every intention of planting yourself on someone’s tarp and hunkering down for some great live music but on the way, you run into someone you haven’t seen in a year and all of a sudden it’s two hours later.

We spent much of the evening watching the Mainstage show (including the impressive acrobatics of Dobet Ghanoré) on a small television backstage while catching up and dousing ourselves with bug spray. (“We” = me, MARIA staffer Alan Greyeyes, and CBC Radio’s Wabanakwut Kinew.) Ran into The Weakerthans’ guitarist Stephen Carroll and congratulated him on their recent Polaris shortlisting. We were seated next to a table full of nice Paquin folks and Mr. Hug himself, Rob Rousseau. And we were visited by J.P. Hoe with drummer David Pankratz and guitarist Sandy Taronno (a.k.a. half of Quinzy) and argued about whether J.P.’s Sunday night show on Mainstage was a “tweener” or a “shorter set.” We also hooked up with Yellowknife/Vancouver-based singer/songwriter Leela Gilday and her very tall brother, Jay. Mayhem ensued... click here for pictures.

We did all get up and join the masses to catch The Weakerthans’ Mainstage set. Pleased to see them joined by the delightful and brilliant Christine Fellows, who I haven’t see play a guitar since ever and whose hair is currently brown. Even more pleased to see the thousands in the audience paying attention. The person in front of me in line for the port-a-pottie was singing along with front man John K. Samson. Their set was naturally great, especially my favourite “Night Windows” off their latest album, Reunion Tour, and audience favourite “One Great City” off their 2003 release, Reconstruction Site (insert rowdy chorus of “I Hate Winnipeg” here).

I wonder what happens to "One Great City" if Winnipeg's slogan changes...

Most of the MARIA staff is trapped in the office today, missing music and accidentally avoiding giant thunderstorms (except Sean, who we assume is currently very very wet). There will absolutely be more music watching (including some more homegrown talent) and mayhem over the next three days and nights. You never know who you’ll run into.

So fair enough... People & Music indeed. Although that’s not the slogan anymore. Whatever. Clearly having a slogan issue today.

Read more news