Home Feature Dispatches from the Edmonton Folk Music Festival day four (Sunday)

Dispatches from the Edmonton Folk Music Festival day four (Sunday)

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Although I was exhausted from my music-filled day yesterday, I woke up early and headed down to Gallagher Park to catch the opening of the final day. And boy, am I ever glad I did!

I made my way to the Across the Pond workshop; the next hour of music I heard turned out to be my personal highlight of this year’s fest. Le Vent Du Nord, Ashley MacIsaac, and Dervish completely mesmerized the audience and even though it was so early in the day, had most of the crowd on their feet dancing for their upbeat numbers. The crowd was given a special treat when Irish Mythen jumped on stage to join the crew for another go at “The Galway Shawl.” Their version got a lot of laughs and a roaring applause when during the last chorus they changed the
lyric to: “She wore a bonnet, with a hangover on it!” Their set also included a spirited version of the well known and much loved “Saint Anne’s Reel.”

Julian Taylor. Photo by Alexandra Kalewska.

During the afternoon, I got to catch up with Maria Dunn, a Scottish born, Alberta-based singer. I had seen her performances throughout the weekend.

“Someone brought me a Pogues record and that blew my mind,” she told me when asked if traditional Celtic music had an influence on her writing. Telling me of growing up in a Celtic culture, Maria mentioned how “you grow up learning music in a very communal way, so I had many of those Scottish melodies in my head.”

Whenever I speak to a musician, I’m always curious to hear what they think we should be listening to. The two names Maria Dunn mentioned were Alison Russell and Julian Taylor, the former having played EFMF last year and Julian this year.

“Alison’s music just blows me away with her tremendous courage and just how loving she is in things that need to be challenged,” Maria told me. “I love the quality of Julian’s voice and I just love what he’s writing about. He’s writing about some difficult things that we all need to be thinking about in terms of reconciliation. Those two artists are both on my playlists.”

Later, I got to catch an impromptu performance by some of the musicians from the Nikamowin stage. This stage presented First Nations, Metis, and Inuit artists; the word Nikamowin means “song” in Cree. Their set concluded with a lively instrumental version of Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues mixed with the Orange Blossom Special and a few other melodies that had the audience clapping along.

Next we caught a set from Julian Taylor, who drew a large audience for his only full band performance at the fest. His set included many of the songs he has been receiving radio play with including “The Ridge,” “Back Again,” and a personal favourite of mine, “Seeds” – which by the way, is an acronym for “someday everyone eventually dreams, somehow.” Margo Price was up next on the main stage. Although she had more of a rock sound than one might expect on a Sunday evening at a folk festival, her music was full of catchy hooks, and the crowd was loving it.

Unfortunately, the heat seemed to do me in and I had to call it a day around 8 p.m. Another year at the Edmonton Folk Fest, and I can once again see why this is one of the most loved folk festivals in Canada.

I must also once again compliment the festival on their accessibility. Some services the festival provides, which I feel they must be applauded for, include a designated listening area for those in wheelchairs at all stages, program schedules in Braille, and an accessibility change tent. These are just a few of the services they provide which are, unfortunately, too often ignored by many other events.

Thanks for reading along with us this year and we hope to see you all in Edmonton again next year!

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