Blind Boy Paxton hits the flood trifecta

Posted by Stephen Hunt on 27 July 2013

Blind Boy Paxton hit a flood trifecta, of sorts, with his appearance at the 2013 Calgary Folk Music Festival.

With roots in Louisiana, he has plenty of relatives in New Orleans, which got the granddaddy of all the floods from the fallout of Hurrican Katrina, in 2005 – not that New Orleans, which is under sea level, needs much to get the water flowing through the streets.

“It rains in New Orleans, and Canal Street floods,” Paxton said while hanging in the press tent following a set early Saturday afternoon.

Now, he lives in Queens, New York, which just got hammered by Hurricane Sandy in November, and now he’s here, barely a month after Calgary’s.

The subject came up when we were trying to guess the wi-fi password in the media tent.

“I was gonna say high water,” he said, “but it might be too soon.”

And to tell the truth, it’s a little jarring, touring the festival site on Prince’s Island Park. Entire swaths of what used to be prime napping area and perfect picnic space are fenced off, still no-go zones following the June flood.

There’s a layer of sand everywhere, it seems.

“It’s just amazing that they’re even able to hold the festival this year,” said one festival patron, surveying the scene down by the riverbank.

It’s hard not to think about the major trauma that the island, and the city just went through.

Paxton received a standing ovation for his banjo set earlier Saturday, which was excellent, reports Herald music critic Mike Bell.

He’s performing on the main stage Saturday at 7:05 doing a tweener set, and again Sunday at 11:30 on Stage 6, and at 12:50 on Stage 3.