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Found 18 results

  1. Van Morrison Wilco Of Monsters and Men The Sheepdogs The Barr Brothers Passenger Wintersleep Walk Off The Earth The Avett Brothers St. Paul & The Broken Bones UB40 The Tubes Patrick Watson Lord Huron Steep Canyon Rangers Built to Spill Will Butler Elle King Lisa LeBlanc Lucinda Williams Kitty, Daisy & Lewis Amy Helm Lucius and more, obviously... During CityFolk, ticket holders will be able to access the paid side on the Great Lawn, which will feature two side-by-side stages that will offer alternating musical acts and a VIP viewing section. The Aberdeen Pavilion will feature free programming and incorporate a food and micro-brew experience. There will also be workshop SESSIONS and numerous free family activities, including a KidZone. The newly renovated Horticulture building will house the ‘Hort Stage', an additional and intimate setting for ticket holders. All main stage headliners will start their sets by 8:30 p.m. and the music will be moved indoors at 10 p.m. There will be a one-day pre-sale on Thursday, June 4, beginning at 10 a.m. On this day only, a limited number of five-day transferable passes will be sold, starting at the incredible price of $99. A limited number of VIP passes will also be sold, starting at $199. The regular on-sale campaign begins June 5, when all levels of tickets are up for grabs, including single- and multiple-day tickets. Ticket information visit: www.cityfolkfestival.com CityFolk runs from September 16 through 20. The festival site will offer a wide variety of food and merchandise concessions and is licensed. Check out the CityFolk website for more to come in the weeks ahead.
  2. Photos: Mike Bouchard Words: Jay McConnery Sunday, brought Folk Fest’s deserving fans some blue skies and the warmth of autumn sun, reviving weariness with a lineup spilling over with curiosities, sonic gold and various country flavours. Beginning to slip behind in real world responsibilities, I spent the majority of the day completing school work, but made certain to arrive on site in plenty of good time for Philadelphia band: The War on Drugs. Their latest album ‘Lost in the Dream’ has been getting a lot of play on my stereo, and I was ecstatic to hear the production of the live performance faithfully matched the sonic standard set on the record. Huge! The sound was colossal, with Charlie Hall’s killer Ludwig vistalite kit and deliberate groove playing treating listeners to drum tones immaculate, confidently escorting the psychedelic drone which magically entranced listeners young and old for the brief hour they were on stage. Offering tracks from their three albums, but focusing mainly on ‘Dream,’ frontman Adam Granduciel channels the desirable elements of Dylan’s vocal within spacey melodic progressions set to punchy driving beats. There are elements of Americana, and Space-rock, and stoner rock, which all sound exactly right in the WOD stew. Sounds pretty perfect to me, really. Often I found their most simple melodies and progressions became the most memorable. I realized part of the depth was derived from some backing tracks- but oddly, I didn’t give a shit. I’m by no means a purest, or consistent in my assertions- are you? Anyway- to avoid going all Blue Rodeo on them, I’ll admit they aren’t the most diverse act on earth, but they do their thing really really well. I took a brief break from the set to check out on the tiny hillside stage, which proved to be one the most confusing sets I encountered. I arrived to a downtrodden Wesley Willis vibe, with Murphy slumped over in his chair on stage, barely able to hold his guitar: kind of like he had just demo’d a flat of beers backstage. He was sloppily playing through pedestrian blues riffs which the average Blues-Dentist could surely have eagerly provided- while a concerned woman with very little charisma stood watching on stage, concerned yet annoyed. The keeper, we learned, was his wife and she was helping him through the set because he recently has had a stroke. It wasn’t clear how long ago this occurred, but it has robbed his ability to play. Matt broke up the playing with brief question and answer periods which were exceptionally awkward, as people approached him on stage with questions and kudos, which only Matt heard- leaving the audience with a broken response to unknown questions. I felt moved by the impermanence of things as Matt begged the crowd to ‘ .. as long as you remember that’- clearly these gifts are not ours to keep. As he broke into a downright terrible version of Stormy Monday, I felt like a bit of an a-hole creeping away from the stage, as I spoke with a friend of the incredible power of a successful brand. More photos on Flickr I left to catch the start of Joss Stone, an incredible talent, and after a few soulful tracks slipped down the hill to enjoy the country stylings of ‘Asleep at the Wheel’. Recommended by many dads, this old school swing country outfit brought a taste of authentic Austin Texas to the Valley stage, against the breathtaking backdrop of Heron Rd. Running into several friends, I spent the remainder of the night catching up, hanging out, and making plans with friends I’ve again come accustomed to see nightly. Hey Rosetta! closed out the MainStage with a huge performance, and though the cancellation of Gaslight Anthem was a hit for the audience, the Festival closed out a memorable if not a benchmark rendition.
  3. Photos: Mike Bouchard Words: Jay McConnery Cold as Folk Fest continued Saturday with another diverse line-up of exceptional talent and somewhat uncomfortable muddy, toe-freezing weather. The craft beer tent kept things toasty, as well as it's patron's insides tingly with tasty sample-beers and east coast revelry, but elsewhere on the site, crowds were left to huddle en masse and stay warm by jostling as much as possible. After a day of cold torrential rain, navigation on Saturday was a mucky challenge, but enthusiastic audiences kept the mood jovial and tolerable. As I entered, Seasick Steve entertained the main-stage area with a series of unique, hand-altered instruments set to thunderous bluesy back beat. After some wandering, I settled in to check out Elephant Revival on the Hill Stage. They are an eclectic folk grass group from Colorado with a phenomenally unique sound, marked by soaring harmonies, an electric guit-banjo and subtle washboard percussion. This was clearly a special opportunity to see this group on such a small, intimate stage- and the faces of the musicians suggested it was one they were enjoying as much as the audience. Lead female vocalist Bonnie Paine sounds like a cross between Edie Brickell and Sarah Harmer – charming my long johns partially off with her toothsome timbre, and Bridget Law entranced with her quick fiddle work and toothy grin. From here, I jockeyed for position at the Ravenlaw stage for Neutral Milk Hotel, along with a swath of dedicated fans and curious onlookers. In advance, spoken word poet Mustafa presented some interactive pieces both creative and thought provoking. Perhaps not a popular choice for those with four or more drinks in their system, but I felt his brief slam drew the audience into a reflective mode and propelled the NMH performance even further. Bearded Jeff Magnum emerged to begin the set alone. He picked up a beaten-up hollow body jazz box , 'I will bury you in time' and then 'Holland, 1945.' Regardless of one's familiarity with the singer (or band), it's impossible to not be drawn to Magnum's iconic delivery or his challenging, enigmatic lyrics- some of which paint immediate pictures in the listener's mind, and others of which are left to stew in a discomforting heap, somewhere in the upper intestine or esophagus. He was soon joined by the line-up which produced the group's legendary 'Aeroplane over the Sea,' and the band delivered a zealous reproduction of much of this classic material, manipulating the ebb and flow of their presentation with skill. The band employed an endless array of instruments and tools, as Cardigan wearing multi-instrumentalist Julian Koster shifted between bass, percussion, musical saw and keyboards where appropriate. I was definitely reminded how much I enjoyed this music, and plan to re-visit the recordings, um, now. The only draw back were the choruses of fanboys singing at the top of their lungs- but of course it's fun to feel like you are in your favourite band. After some recalibration, Blue Rodeo took the stage to blast through their ridiculous catalogue of hits with skill and professionalism otherwise unmatched. The sound for their set was fat and pristine, and although its not always cool to admit- I love Blue Rodeo. I really think they are arguably THE quintessential Canadian band, in theme, lyric and tone and in many ways narrative, having spent their early days slugging it out unsuccessfully in the US market. I laughed with a colleague earlier in the day that their low end authority, bassist Bazil Donovan, was genuinely born to play the instrument, or at least, born with the name of a bass player and realized at some point he had no choice. Cuddy and Keelor are so distinctly complimentary and oppositional as the central yin and yang of the group, it'll be hard to deny somewhere in the future that they aren't Canada's imperfect equivalent of a Lennon-McCartney, perfect storm partnership. The guitar work of Colin Cripps is tasty enough to keep the gear hounds interested, and the pedal steel and keyboard work finish a masterwork in rock performance. After seeing this band a dozen times, and never really going into it, I thought I should this time.
  4. Ten degrees C is pretty much the precursor to the feeling of winter. Cold, shivery times that aren't really great for standing around outside. Luckily, a music festival promotes motion to stave off the chills and "Ice Cold Beer" sounds great to the ears but ungloved hands prove that a hot chocolate with a bit of bailey's would be more satisfying (hmmm... hot chocolate and bailey's food truck...someone should write this down for next year) The Ottawa Folkfest, located at Vincent Massy Park, is clearly bigger than it ever was and the organizers seem to have found a great groove in the fourth year that the Ottawa Bluesfest entity has been running the shows. While the festival initially appears to be twice as large as it used to be, it actually feels like two self contained festivals that share common ground and two-tiers of service. Many people are surprised to discover that they could actually come without paying for a ticket and enjoy great craft beers, plenty of distinctive food trucks, vendors and charity driven craft tents and see live music in a dedicated music tent with great sound, lighting and tons of space. The side effect is pleasantly having the ability to listen to acts in the paid live music grounds from the free side of the bike path on the lawn. The likely promotional interest is selling tickets to the fully lined up main and side stages on the east side of the NCC bike trail since there's no way those acts could perform in a free model with the production that is constructed and presented. For example, tonights presentation by Lorde was pretty high on technology. 4+ very large screens, with a couple directly behind Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor which allowed her to sing in between herself and thousands of other people. Along with that, there were lights, but not obsene lights like the spaceship of Zedd that landed at Bluesfest this year, but enough to know this is more than a folk festival. However, since this is an expanded festival, acts that don't focus on live instruments and lean into pre-recorded tracks could eventually draw towards MacBook-playing DJ's creeping in and knocking out the guitars. Lorde was met with possibly and also declared later as the "largest attedance of Ottawa Folkfest History" yet the announcer didn't mention how many super sized lenses were pointed at her in the photo pit. It was thick with glass and shutter sounds. With having the opportunity for two songs worth of photos, Lordes crew made sure there was plenty of white light available yet the ambiguity of when the second song started was cause for some attention. The media concierges were in hysterics trying to backpeddle on their first thought that first song shooting was still in play and had to update every photographer to get ready to exit. Lorde seemed like a big karaoke show. One that sings in front of people while backed with recordings isn't far off. If there is a teleprompter in the mix, then it is basically professional karaoke. That's obviously stripping out any respect for the super talent and performance that she delivered, but that's an example of a gracefully lame narrative segue into the next act. Since it was chilly, and Lorde wasn't illiciting movement but rather a frigging shitload of screams from the incredibly large crowd that came to see her and the perfect-every-time hypothetical band, Serena Ryder's firey entrance on the Ravenlaw Stage was perfectly timed with the sharp temperature drop that was slowly coming into place. She had a very high powered attitude that instantly instigated toques to bounce up and down sympatico with her as she worked the stage in what could have been a trampoline. Winning minor Junos like "Artist of the Year" and "Album of the Year" (which is out of ALL the artists and albums btw) must gild an artist into a place where music fans can be guaranteed into seeing some professional action on stage. It must feel like winning the Lotto Max, because that's how Serena was projecting herself. Incredible energy, a glowing unforced smile that came without any effort while playing her gorgeous Gibson Flying V. The sound was very big despite being programmed at Ravenlaw and that immense crowd from Lorde had to realign with the shallow depth aspect of the relative side stage of the slightly muddy, thanks to big rain yesterday, paid grounds. Overall, this festival is a great experience whether or not one buys a very reasonably priced $100 pass or just comes to hang out for the day, paid or not. At this place, there's no need to pay to have a great time enjoying people, crafts, music, food, fresh air and familiar faces from other local festivals and live shows. Just be prepared for the unpredictably ranging weather. It's highly possible tonight that the folks selling the blankets in the tent in the craft area made a frigging killing.
  5. Sunday began as the first day of the festival I was able to attend with my family. We arrived on the grounds to a very small and sparse crowd, probably due to the early hour and the weather. It took a while to make it to where I wanted to get to because my boy was slowly taking in all the sights and sounds that were unique to him. As parents, we try to look through our child’s eyes but that becomes more of a presumptuous activity bordering on vanity than anything else. All I can say for sure is that he was very interested in the tuba player doubling as a kick drum while leading a parade around the side the food area was on and I realized soon enough this is a perfect kid-friendly festival. Bring your wee ones. We slowly made our way to Todd’s Musical Petting Zoo. It was a tent containing instruments for any age to pick up, pluck, strike or bang. A washboard, shakers, ukuleles, guitars, mandolins, banjos, fiddles, accordions and various percussive instruments were all available. It was unfortunate that the crowd was so sparse because only a few hours later I saw that tent full of bouncy children having a blast. We then decided to take in some music and enjoyed the songs and harmonies of Anders Drerup and Kelly Prescott in the tent. We then took in a touch of Anais Mitchell before the boy decided the gravel rock pile he was making wouldn’t solve his need for supper so I walked the wife and him back to the car. I then ran back for what I consider to be the surprise of the festival. Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth was giving an interview on one of the stages just west of the RavenLaw stage. I knew almost nothing with regards to his history but walked away stunned by his intellect and ability to give well thought out answers which never seemed to deviate away from the context at hand. He spoke of how the art of making mix tapes is lost and that he still actively seeks out new music because he is interested to see where others are at but I think my favourite section of the interview was his discussion regarding signing with a big label. At one point in their careers they were gaining much critical acclaim so naturally the labels came a calling. They did everything they could to sell themselves to Sonic Youth while saying all the same things as the other previously had but once a label would actually listen to their music they would pull away their offers. “What is this alien music?” Thurston joked that Sonic Youth’s “one mistake was not breaking up.” He surmised that they could have made a lot more money had they broke up in 1996 and got back together for a reunion tour in 2006. Back to the mid 90’s though he felt more connected to “avant introspective music like Pavement” compared to the pop rock of the day. They could have made that kind of music which pretty much guaranteed commercial and financial success but they were always allowed to do whatever they wanted and he assumed it’s because they brought Nirvana to Geffen which gave them the free pass. I was sad when it was over but as soon as he signed an autograph for me all was ok once again. I’m not sure what I did the next couple of hours aside from catching a couple of songs by Hayes Carll. They were providing some fun country rock on the main stage. I did get a bite to eat and made it on time to a couple of meetups but before I knew it, time had flown and Thurston was about to take the stage in the Tent. A poem followed by Never Day started things once the sound issues were dealt with. Thurston dedicated the next song to the poet Mina Loy and things started to sound interesting, possibly due to sound issues being corrected. I don’t know how else to describe these new songs as dissonant desert weirdness. Many themes made my brain melt. Thurston’s music is not for the faint of heart even when it isn’t overly powerful as far as volume and distortion are concerned. This track in particular had great melodic spaces and culminated into a crazy climax that showcased drummer John Moloney’s jazz chops. January was a great example of how Thurston spoke earlier of having been critically acclaimed yet big labels not getting it. There were incredible underwater themes, so much so it was easy to envision floating deep in the ocean listening to its heartbeat. It was wonderfully hypnotic. Benediction came out and I had to force my way to catch the start of The Levon Helm band because I knew my photo pass would only offer me the first couple of songs in the pit. The rush was on when Levon took the stage. I’m still getting my feet wet in the photo pit but if you have ever sat back and watched worker ants carrying things to a from their respective hills you get the sense of what it is like. I got the sense there are some unwritten rules I have yet to figure out so I typically try to stay out of everyone else’s way, which actually might be the first rule. The Shape I’m In began strongly while being up close to the front you could feel the rush of energy from the crowd as they were feverish about greeting Levon. Before I knew it, a gorgeous Long Black Veil was over in seemingly seconds and three songs had passed. I was at the back of the crowd getting my bearings during Ophelia which was a struggle for Levon’s vocal chords. Later he strapped on a mandolin for a solid take on Deep Elem Blues and provided the crowd with some laughter when he provocatively danced in front of Theresa Williams. A couple of songs later and I had to pull the chute. I was exhausted and not looking forward to my thirty minute walk so I ducked my head and left the grounds. As I made my way I could hear The Weight waving good night and good bye to what is one of the great festivals you can attend in Ottawa. As stated so many times, the size, the layout and the picturesque grounds have made this a constant end of summer beacon for me. I won't be able to recommend it enough, but it should be said that this festival is only going to get bigger so you probably want to experience it sooner rather than later.
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