Island Girl

Posted by on 17 August 2004

Review, Lisa Wilton, Friday, July 23 Part 2 - Calgary Sun

The Calgary Folk Music Festival isn’t all about the music — it’s an island of fun. The Sun’s Lisa Wilton went down to Prince’s Island Park July 24 to check out the action:

10:30 a.m. — Supposed to meet my sister at the Ship & Anchor Stage.

11:30 a.m. — Arrive at Prince’s Island Park. I’m pretty sure I’ve missed her. On to Plan B: The Lost and Found tent. Unfortunately, the tent is not where I thought it was and by the time I find it, my sister has given up on me. Write an apologetic note on the community board along with a dozen other people looking for friends and one announcement reading: “Vegans Unite — Don’t ‘meat’ me anywhere.” This is definitely folk fest.

11:45 a.m. — Plan C: Stuff my face full of food. The festival could offer nothing but yodeling hillbillies and I’d still come to eat my way down Concessions Row.

It’s baking hot already, so maybe a drink first. Water? Juice? Beer? Iced Spiced Yerba Mate?

“It’s energizing and stimulating, but you don’t get the nervous jitters like you do with caffeine,” explains Nadiv Urban, a grey-bearded, new-agey looking man, who co-runs the Mate Factor kiosk.

A big believer of Yerba Mate’s natural health benefits, Urban and his crew own cafes in Nelson, B.C. and Winnipeg, where Mate is the featured beverage.

“People are starting to drink Mate more because they want to get away from caffeine,” he continues.

Down a few stalls, Sunterra Market is cooking up some mouthwatering fruit crepes. It’s as good as it looks. And although I could probably keep chowing down, I think it’s best if I hold off for at least an hour … or half an hour …At least 15 minutes.

12 noon — Introduced to some visitor from the U.K. experiencing their first Calgary Folk Fest.

“I like the fact that you can see all ages here,” says Pippa Jones, 35, of Manchester. “It’s a gorgeous setting as well. The park is lovely.”

Marie Graham of Cleethorpes says the Folk Fest crowd is surprisingly friendly: “They all seem really laid-back and relaxed.”

Neither has seen my sister.

12:15 p.m. — The Arts Market is filled with people browsing the wide array of strange, cool and largely all-natural wares. Must not buy too many scented soaps.

12:30 p.m. — Catch part of an incredible side stage set featuring Los de Abajo, Mighty Popo and Spearhead’s Michael Franti. Scan crowd to see if any of the bopping heads and dancing bodies resemble a certain family member. No luck here.

1 p.m. — “On the outside you look pretty healthy, but on the inside you’re all knots.”

So says Dr. Michael Yoon, from Century Chiropractic, who has just finished a free five-minute pressure point massage on my rock solid (in a bad way) shoulder and back muscles.

“I think people are enjoying this,” says Yoon with a smile. “People like free massages.”

1:15 p.m. — I have just seen a massive mosquito nearly land on another woman’s head. Time to high-tail it to First Aid and douse myself in Off.

“It’s been Band-Aids, sunscreen, Off and Tylenol all,” says Dr. Lara Nixon.

1:30 p.m. — Make my first visit to the beer gardens. The Rankin Sisters take the stage.

Speaking of sisters … Ah, but it’s the beer gardens.

2:30 p.m. — Check out a couple of side stages.

3 p.m. — Hark! Who do I see before me? Could it be? Yes, it is! My sister and her boyfriend waving at me looking every bit the Folk Fest vets they are (complete with regulation-size compact lawn chairs.)

“I was there,” is thankfully how far the guilt trip goes.

3:30 p.m. — Resisted the mini-donuts, cannot resist the vegetable curry.

3:45 p.m. -— I have lost my sister again.

4:40 p.m. — The Weakerthans. Canadian rock doesn’t get much better than this. Oh look, my sister.

5:30 p.m. — Hunkered down in front of the main stage.

5:45 p.m. — I think I might enjoy this more from the beer garden. I’m sure my sister will understand … maybe we’ll meet up at the gates at closing (11 p.m.). On second though, I’ll call her tomorrow.