Jesus Folking Christ

August 10, 2007

I just got in from the first night of the Folk Festival, and I’m high on the whole thing. I got home from work completely bagged and considered bailing, but I’m glad I didn’t. What a fucking hot night of music. Not literally of course. It was a shivery 12 degrees for most of the night – not too comfortable, but just cool enough to keep everyone on their toes. And the fellowshipping. The first night of the festival always feels like a reunion. I always seem to run into some long lost relations. Such a great vibe to the thing. I don’t recognize too many of this year’s headliners, but that’s cool. It’s thrilling to discover “new” artists, both old and modern. After demolishing some blissfully unhealthy festival food (Onion Blossom – don’t try it), we hit the hill. City and Color put on a great show, including a fantastic version of The Band’s old warhorse, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down. Truth be told, I found Dallas Green’s whole schtick (head to toe tats, flannel shirt, bushy beard and fedora) tired and contrived. The guy does have a helluva voice, though, and I give him huge props for that. Nanci Griffith closed the night down with class and style. For my money, the true highlight of the night was her version of From A Distance, during which I must admit to a bit of a lump in my throat. However, it wasn’t until she pulled out Tom Waits’ Grapefruit Moon that she truly made her way into my heart. Any woman who covers Tom is in there, no questions.

One night and two more days of music to go. I’m really looking forward to Buck65, and of course my old pal Utah Phillips. Ah, yes. Some say “good ‘ole Utah”, and some tell the truth. Remind me to tell you about a saloon gig I did with Utah back in ’02, Charleston, West Virginia. Interesting to say the least, and lets just say that Utah and I cant’t walk into Murray’s to this day. A real shitshow. Long story.

Vignette #221

4 reader comments (closed)


Adam Snider

How upset were you when you heard that Utah wasn’t playing, because of illness (or whatever the reason was, I can’t quite remember)?

Also, Buck 65 was at the Folk Fest this year? Damn! I love seeing that guy live. He’s one of the most incredible performers I’ve ever seen. He puts on such a good show, and manages to inject a good amount of humour, too. It’s part music, part poetry, and part good ol’ fashioned story telling. He’s the hip hop hick! I love it!

His website says he’s got a new album out soon, so I guess I’ll have a chance to see him again when he comes out to support the new disc.

Aug 13, 2007 • 18:27



Disappointing that Utah wasn’t able to make it. Didn’t find that out until his workshop on Saturday. And, I missed Buck 65. I had to stay home on Sunday AM and didn’t get to see him.

The highlights of the festival for me were:

  1. Jim Cuddy on stage 6 on Saturday afternoon. He did an acoustic version of “After the Rain” to close the workshop. Fabulous.
  2. James Hunter on Saturday night. I felt that I was at a sock hop in 1957. Fucking fabulous.
  3. Ozomatli on Sunday night. At one point, I swear I saw a mosh pit at the side of the hill. Nuts.

And, one honourbale mention:

Mary Margaret O’Hara on Saturday night. She was…I dunno…strange? Not sure how to describe it. Bizarre?

Aug 13, 2007 • 22:26


Adam Snider

I’ve never been a huge fan of folk music, so I’ve never gone to the Folk Fest, but the stories I’ve heard in the last couple of years have made me start to realize that I might be missing out on something truly wonderful. I think I might have to check it out for at least one night next year.

Aug 13, 2007 • 22:54



I would say that the Folk Fest is definitely more of a “music” festival. It does focus on roots and traditional music, but I’ve seen everything from rock to country to traditional fiddle music to hip hop. On Saturday night, Ozomatli had everyone on their feet. It felt like a hip hop show, and it was crazy to see young kids and old people alike getting their rocks off – everyone jumping around waving their arms in the air like it was a fucking Eminem show. They even tore into a few chords of Ozzy’s Crazy Train at one point. Really crazy.

I don’t think that you have to be a fan of folk or traditional music to enjoy the festival. As far as BIG music events go, it’s by far the most civilized event you’re likely to attend. It’s a great time.

Aug 14, 2007 • 10:52

Folk Festival Hill - Blur Image, August 2006

Folk Festival Hill - Blur Image, August 2006



StreetRag is an urban weblog and podcast about the city of Edmonton, which is located in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is authored by Edmonton-based writer, web advocate, and poet Michael Gravel and is updated frequently with written urban vignettes, amateurish photographs, deuteronomous audio material, barely coherent musings and rambling ecumenical treatises. StreetRag is a love letter to a lonely prairie burg struggling with its big city ambitions and small-town feel.

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