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Dispatches from Summerfolk – Day 3 (Sunday)

Photo by Rachel Barreca.

Folk festivals are living choose-your-own-adventure novels. Everyone comes away with a different story to tell. Different events, different endings, but similar plots. We are all here as part of the same story, and our stories involve a lot of the same characters. What’s your Summerfolk 43 adventure?

Today, my chosen adventure was reconnecting with old friends and making new ones.

In the morning, I was enjoying the lake near the Sharing Circle Acoustic tent. Working on yesterday’s report, I was typing away as The Hut People started setting up for their workshop.

The tent went from an empty circle of chairs to filled seats facing what looked like the auxiliary percussion section of a music store, and this all happened in a matter of minutes.

The Hut People is an instrumental duo project created by Hull, U.K. musicians Gary Hammond and Sam Pirt. It was clear from the moment they started their workshop that they had a relaxed and humorous disposition, the kind that immediately puts audiences at ease and encourages people to take part in the experience. Gary started off the workshop by describing how the role of percussionists can be varied depending on the situation. Creating atmosphere and drama and adding to an overall soundscape can be just as important as providing rhythm. Among their more unusual instruments were the helix bowl, finger shots, laptop congas, wambooka, and the thunder drum. If you haven’t heard of those before, do yourself a favour and search for some of them to see how they sound!

Demonstrating each instrument and then handing it to an audience member, Gary and Sam led the audience on a journey, guiding us in creating our own soundscape. They also had us playing along to a two-section song that followed a specific rhythmic pattern. Everyone came away from this adventure with a smile.

My next adventures involved interviews and catching up with my friends, as I had to leave early today. I will definitely be back next year, because Summerfolk is such a perfect place for families to enjoy music, crafts and the outdoors. For a smaller-sized festival, there was a lot of variety to choose from, and there were well-planned camping areas. The workshops were varied, and some of the crafts from the vendors were breathtaking. The children’s parade (complete with parade members on stilts) was another highlight of the weekend, and that’s a reason my son is asking to come back next year too.

And if you are wondering, I did get my selfie with Fred Penner. And it was worth the trip to Summerfolk 43 to make it happen.

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