Calgary Folk Fest 2009

Koala July2009  339

Really good weekend, though entirely exhausting. We were up at the crack of dawn both Saturday and Sunday for the 2009 incarnation of the Calgary Folk Festival to enjoy acts including Sarah Harmer, Steven Page, Kid Koala and about 50 others. Not much of their line up matched my musical preferences, but was fun to attend none the less. And a weekend spent in Calgary’s Prince’s Island Park is not a bad time no matter what music is playing.

Calgary Folk Fest blends all sorts of music on six different stages over the mornings and afternoons of four days, contracting down to two stages in the evenings. Along with music there are several dozen community organization and small business tents, where one can find out what’s going on in the city, or buy jewelry, hand-made clothes, or visit representatives of their local media outlets. There’s also a lot of food – a couple of burger joints, lots of ethnic foods and the usual suspect novelty items like gelato. The event itself was well organized, as expected, and the attendance was huge. The festival association reported a total attendance of 50,000 with sell-outs each day.

The music was, for me, nothing special. I’m just not that into the genres represented. That said, there were some very good acts – Steven Page surprised me. Since splitting from the Barenaked Ladies, I wondered if his career would squander. It’s hard to find an answer to such a big question at a music festival, but suffice it to say he was there to entertain, perform, and put on a great show. He let it all out and everyone appreciated both his side stage and main stage appearances. Other quality acts like Sarah Harmer did great, but she in particular had a very tough act to follow. A ‘traditional’ English big band group called Bellowhead led up to her and had the whole audience bouncing and dancing and spiking beach balls. When Harmer followed in the headline slot, she put most everyone to sleep, including us. That was not her fault; I blame it on the programing.

Of the festival, certainly my two favorite acts were Kid Koala and the Mini-Donuts.

Here’s some video I shot of Kid Koala’s performance:

Photos are on the way. For now, some rest, some laundry and yoga tonight. I’m also trying to figure out how to catch up on my school work and not pass out before this weekend is entirely over. There is a fine balance as to how much wine I need to drink tonight so as to generate some enthusiasm for my reading, but not put me to bed too early.

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