Chris Lake, Calgary Herald: Stay folked up, even after Folk Fest

Posted by Johanna on 28 July 2011

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Crowds rushed the stage after one song by The Head and The Heart for the biggest satellite stage surprise. The masses were silenced by k.d. lang's rendition of Hallelujah for the least surprising moment of awe.Hula hoopers, hippies and tarpies converged in harmonious coexistence with weekend warriors and festie rookies, like myself.

If you were there or have read anything about Folk Fest you likely know all of this. My first multi-day experience at the fest yielded these finds and countless others but it was the overall experience that I felt uncomfortable writing about until it was complete 

Folkie is essentially a 4 day vacation in the park. My first day was spent speed walking from stage to stage according to predetermined schedule. On the second day there was rain - mother nature tested the mettle of the crowd and there I sat throughout with a devoted crew of few. The third day, after my initiation, I walked a little slower aiming my momentum wherever the sounds of big stages and cheering crowds took me.

And, on the fourth day, I rested. Basking in the sun with eyes closed and ears open or dancing loose limbed - peaceful in very different ways. 

It seemed that I was moving in rhythm with the rest of the crowd as, together, we all shed the shackles of the concrete jungle that stood peeking just over the treetops. However, it is the commerce represented by those towers allows us to live in a city so vibrant with opportunities to explore outside their glass and aggregate walls. So often we deride what makes our city a great place to work and live; so easy comes the inability to balance the two.

Finding this equilibrium is our job as individuals but paying a little more attention sure helps. Prior to my first month of rediscovering this place I had assumed it to be full of potential based on nothing more than logic. Now I've discovered that it has always been kinetic in its motion - it's just being driven by a larger and louder populous than I ever imagined. 

While Folk Fest is a ripe example in its 4 day island lifestyle glory, I have found smaller examples of this everywhere I go. The one tie that binds, as I have learned, is the people and their infectious enthusiasm for making the most of Calgary while also doing their part to make Calgary great. It's really quite simple, it's really quite beautiful, it's really why I love this place.

All this leads me to one question:

Where the folk have I been? 

Stay local, my friends.

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