Welcome to the West: Up and at 'em, Calgary Folk Music Festival
As of last night, Folk tradition on Prince’s Island Park is surging, thus queuing up Calgary’s largest and most storied musical event. Thursday night is always a sneak-a-peak leading into three days of multi-disciplinary discovery amidst the Bow River’s weeping brush. Local songsmith, Reuben Bullock and the Dark took main stage, sandwiched between funk troubadour, Charles Bradley and Brooklyn’s, Beirut. Capping off the night with some bright ruby and rhinestone studded romance was Chris Isaak who sent the crowd into a coo slew singing “No, Iiii don’t wanna fall in love” on his most famous hit, Wicked Game.
Despite having to account for the altered decisions caused by Calgary Folk Festival’s stage-to-stage flow (a well-executed jam set will usually always suck me in) here are some Welcome to the West weekend picks:
Main attractions: I can’t really gush more about getting watching Jeff Mangum (Neutral Milk Hotel), Gillian Welch and Justin Townes Earle each of the next three days, respectively. For anyone who has their doubts about this year’s lineup and hasn’t seen any of these rarely-available to Calgary performers, all doubts be expelled. Mangum’s cult-famed album, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (in this writer’s opinion) was the best indie-rock album through 1995-2003. Gillian Welch is a hard-nosed, modern day Emmylou Harris and Justin Townes Earle is gradually turning out to be a cut above his old man.
Mid-level exceptional: In the same vein that we here at the West tend to gravitate to the old tyme tunes, we would be fooling to not mention these two groups: Chatham County Line and Pokey Lafarge & the South City Three. If you like yourself some Bluegrass, Rag Time, Delta songs – Saturday pencil in Stage 6 at 3:25pm and Sunday Stage 5 at 4:45pm.
Also peep: The best dancing at Folk Fest will be during Besh o droM, who are from Hungary. We are also excited to hear and hang out with Lowlands, out of Ontario.
You can catch us down on the grounds shooting some video, we accept poutine bribes in return for photographic portraiture. We never really know what to expect going into a festival, but in one way, shape or form, the spectacle always takes hold. Below is one of such – a late night pool session with the Head and the Heart.