“ohhh the wind and rain” – The Calgary Folk Festival – Day One preview
The Calgary Folk Music Festival
Prince’s island Park, Calgary, Alberta
preview by Doug Heselgrave
Call me an optimist. It had been raining on and off for two weeks in BC, but miraculously the weather has co-operated with me up until now as far as going to music festivals is concerned. Having spent the last two weekends at The Vancouver Island Music Festival and Vancouver Folk Music Festival respectively where I remained miraculously untouched by the inclement weather, I guess I was feeling a little cocky when I packed my bags for Calgary. I left my raincoat at home (something a Vancouverite rarely does) and got onto the airplane in shorts and a T shirt and packed little else for my two day visit to Calgary’s growing Folk Music Festival. It’s been hammering rain for hours, black clouds are moving across the sky and the crackle of thunder and lightning are everywhere. Somehow, I thought that I would encounter one of those prairie heatwaves that Alberta is famous for. No such luck so far.
But, that doesn’t seem to have dampened the spirits of the thousands of people who I saw lined up in the rain to enter the festival grounds at Calgary’s central Prince’s Island Park. In fact, I’ve seen nothing but smiles all around here, which confirm the reputation that Albertans enjoy for being both tough and cheerful. Every July over 8,000 people pay to attend the weekend festival with the overall attendance swelling to around 13,000 per day when you include the kids under 12 and seniors who can come for free.
Artistically, the festival doesn’t quite have the counter-culture cache of the Vancouver festival, nor the ‘all things to all people’ vibe of the Vancouver Island Festival, but it features some very good programming and a wonderful variety of artists from the roots and world music scene. Weekend highlights include: Blue Rodeo, Balkan Beat Box, kd lang and siss boom bang,Bonnie “Prince” Billy, reggae legend Ernest Ranglin, Nanci Griffith and Buff Sainte-Marie.
Friday Mainstage: Matt Anderson, Nanci Griffith, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Patrick Watson and The Herbaliser
Check out the whole programme at: www.calgaryfolkfest.com
Tickets are available at the door.
Waiting for my clothes to dry and then I’m off to brave the rain and take in some music.