so i know it’s been ages since folkfest but i never got around to posting my thoughts on it so i’m going to do it now. as someone who’s never stayed in edmonton for a whole summer, folkfest was one of those things that always eluded me. that’s not to say that i have never wanted to attend, just that i’ve never really had a yearning desire to do so. this year was different. between being in town for (almost) the whole four months of summer and jo and trevor constantly regaling me with stories of folksy fantastic-ness i decided it was time to go.
i was not disappointed. without sounding too OTT, it was one of the most enjoyable weekends of my year, if not one of the most enjoyable experiences of my adult life. the first thing i noticed was that i instantly felt comfortable once inside the park. i don’t know how to describe it, but there is a relaxed and welcoming vibe to folkfest and the people who attend. there is a sense that normal service has been suspended and you are free to completely relax, if only once within the enclave of park. this sense is helped along by the feeling imbued in the festival by the staff and the very running of the festival. having a fresh water tap available, being able to bring in food and charging only $130 for a whole weekend of music sets a foundation of community and togetherness for the festival that is then further brought to life by the patrons.
the music all weekend was pretty fantastic. except for kyrie kristmanson who seemed well out of her league in a session with ron sexsmith and hawksely workman. highlights included joan osbourne, brett dennen, royal wood, martha wainwright, and teada. the latter is a traditional irish band who played on the stage right by the entrance. jo-ann and i went to see them together and managed to get seats at the foot of the stage. this ending up being to our good fortune as we were:
a. sheltered from the from blistering sun; and
b. extremely close to teada who, as it turned, out were fit as fuck.
speaking of the blistering sun, it was in fact ludicrously hot all weekend. i would say i got heat stroke but at this point separating what was sun-induced and what was beer-induced seems a bit of futile exercise. on saturday afternoon i had to absent myself from a colin hay session to go for a nap which turned out to be somewhat ill-fated. while i did appreciate the 90 minutes of somewhat-interrupted sleep i had under my umbrella, it was somewhat diminished by:
a. waking up every now and then to find my face stuck to the tarp; and
b. hearing someone on an adjacent tarp inquire aloud ‘is that a bag or someone sleeping?’ BASTARD!
but having ducked out of the colin hay concert for the nap i thankfully also missed another attention-sucking appearance by mrs. hay. seriously, the woman is bat-shit crazy. she tried to sing along and dance every time we saw colin hay. she even broke out the dreaded tambourine at one point. CLASSIC.
the food was also fantastic. like everything. i didn’t not enjoy a single thing. although i did forget that i had eaten a sandwich at one point until trevor reminded me. very unlike to me to forget a whole sandwich. jo and trevor made me try green onion cakes as well. AMAZING. ryan and bobby brought food with them which i think was probably a smart move, especially for nibbly things. i enjoyed their nut man selection on more than one occasion (especially the corn chips with flax seems – delicious).
all in all it was a near perfect weekend; it even ended on a high note. as we drove away in the outlander with the money note blasting from the stereo, a bicyclist with a trailer swerved in front of trevor and then stopped, getting pushed down by the car. he was quite uppity considering it was entirely his fault. HYSTERICAL. then jo and i got even more drunk at the black dog.