Calgary Folk Music Festival 2015 Day One

Posted by Willow Grier on 24 July 2015

CALGARY — The first day of the Calgary Folk Festival has a lovely indication of music to come. Beginning the day and welcoming crowds to the beautiful park (complete with sunny, blue skies after the surprise rain shower) was the bouncy and lively Bombino. Playful songs trickled out from the stage while crowds settled in, explored and generally got acquainted with the festival grounds.

Shakey Graves during Calgary Folk Music Festival 2015. Photo: Sebastian Buzzalino

As a result of the unfortunate illness of planned main-stage act Patrick Watson, Texas innovator and one-man-band Shakey Graves stepped up to the main stage, surprising the audience by sharing the stage with backing musicians. About 20 minutes in his true talent came to life as he took the stage alone, reminding the audience of his shining ability to create full-bodied, guitar laden songs solo. Somehow summoning an atmosphere of intimacy despite the burgeoning crowd, he was a consummate performer. The audience clapped, sang along and hung heavily off of the enticing vibe he created.

In between sets, ruby-throated Canadian East Coaster Jenn Grant took the side stage. She played with a stripped down band of hand percussion and two guitars and while initially much of the audience had waning attention, she reeled them in with her soft, summery anthem “Dreamer.” To be performing Sunday in a full set, she wet the audience’s appetite with her intricate vocal nuances.

The John Butler Trio during Calgary Folk Music Festival 2015. Photo: Sebastian Buzzalino

With The John Butler Trio taking the stage for the headlining act came the pink and gold sky of sunset. Butler’s enchantingly complex guitar work perfectly created a musical atmosphere of suspended effervescence, fitting well with the physical atmosphere of mystic colours and fading sunlight.

Reuben and the Dark during Calgary Folk Music Festival 2015. Photo: Sebastian Buzzalino

Meanwhile, on Stage 4, Calgary’s very own Reuben And The Dark were creating a very different, but equally fascinating atmosphere. With their songs heavily based in multiple layered vocals and tribal, earthy drums (sometimes with an extra floor tom played by the singer), they unleashed a stormy cloud of dusk and dark. As night fell, they brought the crowd back to the earth and closed out the first day with a heart pounding warmth.