Life Is Beautiful: Folk Fest 2010 Wrap Up


What a weekend.

Once again, the Edmonton Folk Music Festival was full of amazing awesomeness!

amazing awesomeness = wonderful people + fantastic music

Ok, first of all, here are my musical picks of the festival...

2010 Amazing Awesomeness Top 5:

1. Le Vent Du Nord - I've long been a fan of traditional Quebecois folk music, and this great Quebecois band was most definitely my festival favourite of the year. I've seen them a couple times before, and I have a couple CDs already (um, double that now...) but I still stalked followed them around to all the stages they played. Their music is amazing, their banter is humorous, they play all my favourite instruments (fiddle, feet, guitar, bass, accordion - and hurdy-gurdy which is like a fiddle/accordion/vuvuzela mashup!) and they are fun to watch. It doesn't get any better.

1.5. The first hour of the Ceilidh session when LVDN and Genticorum played together. Too. Awesome. For. Words. French boys are lovely, that's all I'm saying.

2. Genticorum - Yes, the other Quebecois band of the fest. And yes, they technically play the same music, but I'd argue it's very different (which is why Genticorum is second and LVDN is first)*. But just as fun to watch/listen to.

3. Te Vaka - This Polynesian band absolutely rocked the hill Sunday afternoon. They were seriously fun. Perfect timing.

4. Jimmy Rankin - As a big Rankin Family fan, I always enjoy Jimmy's solo efforts, and I have seen him numerous times. Though not ground breaking or magical, I really enjoyed this session because I knew (and sang) every single word to every single song. And I quite enjoyed that. Also, Jimmy rocked the sneakers.

5. Our Sunday Morning Sessions - Our first session was LVDN, Lau, Ron Kavana, Brian McNeill and Luis E. Mejia Godoy. It was one big Quebecois/Scottish/Irish/Spanish jam session. So magical. Our second session was the gospel session (which I'd never been too before, why have my friends never coerced me into attending it? I tell you what though, I'll be there next year!) with Dailey and Vincent (most amazing cutie on bass vocals - seriously, how did that sound come out of his mouth?), John Boutte and Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens. So uplifting. Ah, Sunday morning bliss.

It was a different folk fest for me. Lately, as in the last few years, I've been pretty good at (slightly) branching out and hearing new bands and types of music. Recently I've come to enjoy alt-country and some of the indie and world bands. But this year I seemed to lapse into the routine of only seeing the 'fiddle' bands, a habit I had for the first few years I attended. And you know what? I really enjoyed the festival this year. The fiddle bands seemed to be lacking the last few years but were back in force this year (at one point I saw six fiddlers on the same stage, not kidding) and they did not disappoint. Sure, I didn't find any new musicians to devote my CD consumerism to, but I quite enjoyed reconnecting with my favourite bands.

As usual, I also got to see my traditional favourite sites of the festival: particular volunteers and folkies who come back year after year, the venue, our line up routines. I also made lots of new 'friends' by talking to strangers in line ups, at side stages, on the hill etc. This, besides the music, is my most favourite thing about the festival. I love talking to strangers.

I should probably seek help for that.

Anyways, it was another successful folk fest. This year it struck me that everyone at folk fest sees a 'different' folk fest - what I see is strikingly different than what my tarpmates see - and that is why everyone loves folk fest because in this case, you can please everyone (almost) all the time. And after reading others blogs/tweets and seeing other peoples photos, it also occured me (again) that I am a terrible photographer. No photo is as good as the memory though.

At one point, while sitting on the hill watching the sun set, it suddenly occurred to me that life is beautiful. Sure, sometimes every day real life sucks - being unemployed sucks, being single sucks, living at home sucks - but ultimately, as long as you've got good music and good friends, it's pretty darn good to be alive.

360 more days...

* For the record, while LVDN and Genticorum both play similar (and often the same) Quebecois music, they sound different. LVDN are moody-er, and almost medieval sounding (blame the hurdy-gurdy for that), whereas Genticorum are cheerful-er. I don't know much about music but I told a fellow tarpmate that LVDN sound like they're always playing in minor keys, where as Genticorum sound like they only use major keys. This is not actually true, misinformed and un-musically sound, but it seems to get the message across. 


  1. It's good that you talk to strangers! You meet people that way. Strangers generally scare me, so I don't meet new people. And yes, it is rather striking that almost every Folk Fest attending will have an entirely different experience.


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