This past weekend marked Edmonton's first ever Interstellar Rodeo - a new summer music festival put on by Six Shooter Records that focused on Americana/Alt Country, Folk, Blues, Bluegrass (and other related) music.
As soon as I heard about it I knew I wanted to go. I love that type of folk music - and the name is awesome!! And then they announced Blue Rodeo and Whitehorse as part of the line up, and they weren't playing on the day I had to go to a wedding, so I was in for sure!
Pretty much as soon as I arrived Sunday, I fell in love with the festival. It was so civilized. No crazy lineup for sold out tickets, and actually very few line ups at all. Shaded, covered amphitheatre seating, yummy food trucks, clean area, and indoor plumbing!! The venue was fantastic, and the vibe wonderful.
Plus, the music was fantastic!!
The Sojourners started off Sunday with some great gospel songs.
Shakira S'Aida bluesified the crowd!
Wagons - the lead singer was a hoot and really got the crowd involved, including running around the stands. The Aussie accent added to their charm.
The Beauties also did a great job. Guitars were definitely the stars of the entire afternoon.
Whitehorse - aka Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland. They're a favourite of mine and put on a great show as usual.
It's no secret I have a crush on Luke Doucet's guitar. It's a Gretsch White Falcon and sounds awesome. He makes it sound like magic. I could listen to him play that guitar for days.
Blue Rodeo. I've seen them a bunch of times over the years, but I always love their shows. With such a back catalogue, they always manage to put together a rockin' show with all my favourites plus some new tunes I've never heard before.
Have I mentioned yet I love Jim Cuddy?!
The last song of the festival - my absolute favourite Blue Rodeo song 'Lost Together', with Luke, Melissa, and Luke Doucet's daughter Chloe. Awesome way to end a great day at Interstellar Rodeo. Perfect.
I couldn't help but compare IR to the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. Yes they are different festivals. Yes the music skews differently. Yes EFMF has sessions and more folk genres and I've enjoyed it for the past 12 years. But, one of the people I was sitting with said it best: "The hassle of Folk Fest currently outweighs the awesomeness of it." I don't think IR will ever replace EFMF, but it certainly has positioned itself as a great alternative. It's already been suggested IR will likely end up being a victim of its own success (too crowded and impossible to get tickets) just like EFMF. I will not stand in line for 6+ hours to buy EFMF tickets next year. I will buy IR tickets. That says it all. I'll still try get Folk Fest tickets online (doubtful that'll work), and I'm researching alternative folk fests to attend next summer somewhere in Canada (possibly Ontario, or maybe Quebec).
I am ready for a musical change, and next year Interstellar Rodeo will be my Edmonton summer music festival. I can only hope its second year will be as fantastic as the first!