2010 Summer Folk/Roots Series:
Elphin Roots Festival, June 26, 2010
The rustic and rural Lanark Highlands in Eastern Ontario is the perfect setting for the “Elphin Roots Fest”.
Elphin is the home of double-Juno-winner Jenny Whiteley & music/life partner Joey Wright. The annual one-day Elphin Roots Festival is programmed by Jenny, and provides all the elements of a family friendly, multi-generational, original-music-filled day featuring stellar players.
Now finishing its fifth year, Elphin Roots presented a wonderful mix of musical talent from across North America. The heavy rain didn’t put a damper on the day, as musicians and festival goers moved into the unique McDonalds Corners Agricultural Hall. Steeped in history, and richly echoing in community spirit, this renovated hall still has the feeling of the many old time fiddlers and players who’ve gathered over the years to fill the hallowed walls.
Jenny Whiteley, Halls of Fulsom from Juno-winning CD, Hopetown (2004)
From the official opening played & sung by the pre-teen Elphin Elves with a lovely rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow to the closing set by Kingston area group Rueben DeGroot, everyone was happily tapping their feet & swaying to the music. Jenny Whiteley presented the crowd with singer-songwriters and musicians like Jim Bryson, Jill Zmud & Lindsay Fergusson, Luther Wright, Joey Wright, Notre Dame de Grass & Dan Whiteley. Throughout the day & into the night, the talented Christine Graves, Peggy White, The Jack Grace Band (New York, USA), Shade (Toronto), and local favorites Dave Balfour & Melanie Morris kept the juices flowing. As well, Oh Susanna showed up for a surprise visit and serenaded us all with her beautiful soulful voice and songs.
From newborns to teens, old folkies and the elderly, this festival has enough variety to keep everyone happy for many hours. This variety stems from many of the musicians blending old country, folk, blues, gospel, and jazz into a sound all their own. From double entendres to political statements supported by incredible playing, this magic kept us all listening attentively. The relaxed atmosphere allowed for stage versatility as onstage artists were often joined by other players in the hall to add that special memory of those lucky to be there.