Music Monday: My First Patio Series at Festival Place

While many Edmonton folkies were enjoying Van Morrison at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival a couple weeks ago, I was in Sherwood Park enjoying Festival Place's annual Qualico Patio Series.

I'd heard murmurs of this Patio Series over the years, but never bothered to check it out. Big mistake. Apparently I missed the Peatbog Fairies last month. Oops.

Here's how it works:

1. You buy your ticket online/at Festival Place - for a steal of a deal at $8.
2. You wander around the Sherwood Park Farmer's Market, conveniently located in the parking lot (don't worry, there is still parking, plus there's also parking nearby at the high school or pool).
3. You either a) eat dinner at the Farmer's Market (hot dogs, fries, fruit) or b) buy something from the Patio BBQ (sandwiches, burgers, beverages).
4. You wander back through Festival Place to the backyard. A small stage was set up on one side, the BBQ tables on the other, and a whole bunch of plastic tables and chairs make up the middle.
5. You sit and listen to the music.

It was...quaint. Actually, the venue is pretty ingenious. Really, you don't even have to pay, because instead of a fence to keep cheap onlookers out, the backyard is bordered by a sidewalk that runs through the park. On the other side of this sidewalk is a grassy area and a lake, so people had ridden their bikes or stopped by during their walk. Some people sat on the grass or a picnic table, and some brought their own camping chairs to sit on. Honestly folks, it's only $8, help out the artist next time, k?!

The first act on the particular night I went was The Command Sisters, a U22 group consisting of two young teenage sisters. And you know what? They were really good! They were singer/songwriter/bluegrassy kind of, and regardless of whether they were singing covers or their own songs, it just sounded lovely. The harmonies were pretty and they were both talented musicians. They had quite the stage presence (especially the 12 yr old, that girl's gonna be a star one day - her banter was endearing). I hope the girls really do well with their musical career. I know I'll keep an eye out for their concerts in the future.

Listen to The Command Sisters at their U22 or myspace page.

The headliner was Matt Landry and the Dryland Band. Apparently he used to be the lead singer of Tupelo Honey, a local rock band that made waves recently (if you read their website, it doesn't sound like it was a good split), but this solo effort was more singer/songwriterish. Actually, compared to those girls that were on before him, his set was dry and forgettable. I didn't mind the music too much, and entertained myself by watching the fiddler, but my companions kept dissing the unimaginative lyrics until we left (early).

Sorry, no pictures, it seemed a bit weird to take photos in that type of venue. You'll just have to check out the websites. (Photo above from Festival Place's annual Qualico Patio Series webpage.)

I'm going again at the end of the month to see Lizzy Holt and Erica Viegas - can't pass up an $8 concert in such a lovely setting!