Home Feature Dispatches from the Edmonton Folk Music Festival day three (Saturday)

Dispatches from the Edmonton Folk Music Festival day three (Saturday)


Saturday was yet another day full of amazing music here in Edmonton. If I discussed every act I was able to catch today, this article may turn more into a long essay – so I’ll just share with you what I thought were some of the highlights.

The workshop entitled Changes featured Julian Taylor, The Paper Kites, and Jeremie Albino. All three acts here proved themselves to be competent singers and songwriters. Julian performed a song of his entitled “The Ridge,” which has been a favourite of mine since I first heard it a year or so ago. This B.C. boy was shocked to find out that he had written it about Maple Ridge. For those unfamiliar, Maple Ridge is a city located between the Fraser River and the Golden Ears with a population of approximately 90,000. The Paper Kites shared some great material, and the Aussie band brought a few laughs with their attempt at a Canadian accent during a story they were sharing. Jeremy shared a few songs that showed he is no slouch in the songwriting department and can definitely turn a phrase.

Stage 5 saw a huge turnout for the legendary Irish band Dervish. One thing I’ve always enjoyed about Dervish is their ability to captivate the crowd using such a variety of music. They had their audience listening to slow ballads one minute and then on their feet dancing the next. I, for one, had a great nostalgia moment when they led the crowd in a heartfelt rendition of the traditional “Galway Shawl.” It brought back many memories of me as a young boy hearing my father’s Clancy Brothers and Dubliners albums.

After Dervish, the stage was taken over by Cape Breton’s legendary son Ashley MacIsaac. Bounding on stage with sunglasses, an orange bucket hat, and a white shirt, Ashley began his set with a piece entitled “The Pandemic Air,” a slow haunting piece which then quickly turned into some upbeat Irish reels. It was great to see Ashley on the top of his game and the crowd soaking it all up. My two-month-old son, Liam, couldn’t stop grooving along to Ashley’s music the whole time.

When going back to my hotel for some dinner, I saw a massive crowd at one of the side stages. I knew I had to poke my head over to see what all this fuss was about. Steph Strings had the crowd captivated. I only got to hear her last song but she is definitely a name I will be looking for more in the future.

I was absolutely blown away by the musical stylings of Molly Tuttle and Golden Highway. Everything about this act is pure class – their musicianship, stage presence and songs were all amazing. In an emotional moment, Molly shared how at three years old, she had developed alopecia and had lost her hair; she spoke of meeting a 10-year-old girl at the festival today who was going through the same condition. In a show of solidarity, Molly removed her wig for her
last few songs – there was not a dry eye in the park at that moment as the crowd gave her a roaring applause.

Lots of great music still to come!


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