by Lisa Wilton
Music may be the main reason people come to the Calgary Folk Music Festival year after year, but it wouldnt be the same without the extras.
Music may be the main reason people come to the Calgary Folk Music Festival year after year, but it wouldnt be the same without the extras. I love the crafts and clothing tents, said 24-year-old Brittany Charlebois of Calgary, whos attended the festival on and off for the past seven years. Clad in leather sandals and a flowing one-piece summer dress, Charlebois says she spends close to $150 each year at the folk fest on such things as dresses, hats and particularly CDs of festival performers. Every year there are three or four bands that I discover and just have to have their CD right away, she said. Its good that theyre available here. Kate Wagner, 21, Rose Campbell, 20 and Kate LeBlanc, 21, were also happily checking out merchandise while basking in the early afternoon sun.Dozens of tents have been set up around the Princes Island site selling everything from soaps, candles and pottery to flutes, sunglasses, Tarot card readings and theatre subscriptions.Were just shopping around, said LeBlanc. Were really here to see Ani DiFranco, added Campbell. Were die-hard Ani fans. The New Brunswick college students are currently on a four-month cross-country trip that will take them to Victoria next month. We quit our jobs in Banff just to come to the festival, said Campbell. Stressed-out individuals could relax with a 30-minute chair massage or connect with their higher self during a guided meditation offered by Sahaja Yoga Meditation. But it was more of a family affair yesterday as parents and children came out in droves, spending much of the day in the fun-filled childrens area. Manned by volunteers, the area features live entertainment, a climbing wall, parachute, face painting and inflatable bouncing rooms. Dave and Cheryl Stewart brought along their two-year-old daughter Jena and three-month-old son Sean. Its our first folk festival as a family, said Cheryl. We thought it was a very reasonable price. It was cheaper for the whole weekend than one night at Cirque du Soleil. Jann Arden once said one of her favourite things about Calgarys folk festival was eating her way across the island. Shes not alone. There were constant lineups at several food kiosks, including India Palace Restaurant, Santa Lucia Mediterranean Grill and One Night in Bangkok Thai Restaurant from Winnipeg. Actually, our sales are down from the Winnipeg Folk Festival, admitted restaurant partner Jim Sutherland, who helped serve up curry, pad thai and rice to hungry patrons. But its been okay. Everol Powell, head chef of Strangers Caribbean Restaurant, said his kiosk had been a bit slow as well, but expected business to pick up throughout the sold-out weekend. People have been interested in tasting the food, he said. Calgarian Brenda Jenkyns and niece Ashlee Fraser of B.C. were selling deliciously ripe, fresh fruit from their kiosk. Its been good, said Jenkyns. Better than last year.