Folk Festival lures Canadian talent, Calgary Herald, May 18, 2006

Posted by on 31 May 2006

Folk Festival lures Canadian talent Calgarian Feist leads lineup of acclaimed musicians Theresa Tayler, Calgary Herald Published: Thursday, May 18, 2006


The 27th annual Calgary Folk Music Festival runs July 27 to 30 at Prince's Island Park. Early bird tickets go on sale today at Ticketmaster, Megatunes and the Calgary Folk Music Festival office or Tickets: four-day pass $120; day pass, $45. After June 22, a four-day pass is $140, a day pass is $50.

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High flying Canadian musicians will storm the mainstage of this year's Calgary Folk Music Festival and share the bill with some of America's most famous folk rockers.

Leslie Feist, a local songstress turned national phenomenon, will headline The Calgary Folk Music Festival's opening night July 27, which will feature many big name Canadian performers on the mainstage.

Along with Feist, Canadian alt rockers, Bedouin Soundclash, Jeff Healey's Jazz Wizards and Matthew Good will share the stage with high-profile American acts such as Kris Kristofferson, Ani DiFranco, Macy Gray, Neko Case and Son Volt.

"We've got a really exciting line up this year -- it hits the past, the present and the future of music," says Kerry Clarke, associate producer of the Calgary Folk Festival.

Before her solo performance, Calgary-born Feist will open the event with her side project, Broken Social Scene, a Juno-winning collective of Canadian rockers.

While famous Canucks take over the mainstage, the festival's side stages will feature a number of local artists, including bluesy Ellen Mcllwaine and Cassius Khan, folksy song writer Lorrie Matheson, and Afro-jazz group Jay Crocker and the Electric Apes.

This will be Matheson's third year at the folk festival, and tentative plans have the folk-rocker jamming with Son Volt during a day workshop performance on the weekend.

"That would be pretty amazing," says Matheson, adding the workshop jam sessions are his favourite part of playing the annual fest. The festival, which runs through July 30, expects to draw at least 12,000 people a day.

Calgary-based jazz guitarist and song writer Jay Crocker just returned to Calgary from his first national solo tour. He says he's hyped to play a festival he has attended only as a spectator in the past.

"This has always been been an amazing festival compared to other folk festivals around Canada," says Crocker.

Clarke says making sure the festival is eclectic is the organizers' No. 1 goal.

"Our mandate is to try and introduce people to new music.

"We have people coming to play who have had some really long careers, like Kris Kristofferson, but, we also have a number of artists playing new music," says Clarke.

This year's festival will also feature several Dub musicians, such as Leroy (The Grandmaster) Young, a street-talking dub poet from Belize, and Little Axe, a U.K.-based blues/dub band made up from former members of the Sugarhill Gang, and Living Colour.

The massive summer concert has been around in one form or another since 1980 and organizers have always aimed to bring a number of multicultural acts to the event.

Side stages this year will feature musicians from the Middle East, Asia, Europe and Africa.

Niyaz, an acoustic-electronic fusion artist who creates a mixture of Persian, Indian and Turkish music, comes to Calgary from Iran. Daby Toure, an artist from Northern Africa, brings a Afro-centric mix of music built on rhythm and bass.

In previous years, the festival has featured afternoon shows on the mainstage. But, for the first time this summer, organizers are abandoning the midday mainstage shows and instead will keep the six side stages running throughout the day.

Another change to this year's festival will be the Friday and Saturday evening schedule which will feature not only mainstage performances, but also an added east stage show featuring several side-lining artists.

Boot Camp is a new program of masterclasses that will be held at the Cantos Music Foundation. Artists such as Stephen Fearing, Doug Cox and Sam Hurrie will give interactive classes on singing, song writing and guitar playing to those who sign up on the Calgary Folk Festival website.

Event co-ordinators are hoping for warm and dry summer weather this year as the 2005 Folk Festival was nearly derailed when one of Prince's Island Park's roads was destroyed after Calgary experienced heavy torrential rain and spring/summer flooding. The city had to build a last-minute temporary causeway to the island to ensure the show would go on.

This year organizers have a new obstacle to overcome in the form of a newly enforced concert bylaw requiring that events with more than 5,000 people in attendance hire one police officer for every 1,000 people on site and pay $1,000 for a licence.

Festival organizers are still in negotiations with the city on how security will be handled this year.