Home 2024 festivals Dispatches from the Mariposa Folk Festival – Day 3 (Sunday) daytime stages

Dispatches from the Mariposa Folk Festival – Day 3 (Sunday) daytime stages

Wyatt C. Lewis. Photo by Richard Barry.

Sunday mornings are by far my favourite time at folk festivals. I’ve had time to settle in. I’m right in the middle of the total weekend experience. If the weather is cooperating, with that first cup of coffee in hand, all feels right with the world. And then on this particular Sunday morning, to make it perfect, I find the first workshop of the day, the 11:00 a.m. slot at the Estelle Klein theatre featuring Colin Linden, Rick Fines, Ken Whitely, and Ellen

Some of these folks have been playing music together for decades and it shows. If you’re like me, you realize you’ve been enjoying their music for decades. You get the feeling that if the audience wasn’t there, these fine musicians would be sitting around telling stores, laughing and playing music for themselves just the same. They effortlessly play together, throwing in a little solo here and there just like they were in someone’s living room. It’s blues, it’s hot guitar picking, it’s Gospel music – because it’s Sunday morning and Ken Whiteley is on the stage. So that was cool.

Next up is a sort walk over to the Mariposa Pub Stage to listen to a bunch of the more traditional string band, bluegrass, old-timey musicians on the program delivering a rollicking bunch of tunes to make absolutely sure everyone is completely awake. We’re talking Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys, Union Duke, Onion Honey, and Rick Fines again. This stage is very well attended, though pretty much everything was at this sold-out festival.

Lucky for me I got to chat with my old friend Steve Pritchard who
knows as much as anybody about this kind of music telling me about everyone on stage, their backstory and other interesting bits of interesting information.

Field Guide. Photo by Richard Barry.

And then at 1:25 p.m. it’s back to the Estelle Klein Stage for a workshop featuring a fine group of singer-songwriters talking about and performing the songs they’ve written. Donavan Woods, Irish Mythen, Loryn Taggart and Rose Cousins were featured. As we all know, songwriting can be such a “bare your soul” experience and listening to these fine artists putting it all out there for an audience is a real joy.

Time for a break, a bit of lunch and a pint. It was hot on site on Sunday and the big tent in the middle of the grounds that also housed the open mic stage was a great place to relax and get out of the sun. As I mentioned in my notes about Saturday’s workshops, I really enjoy the whole open mic experience. Sure, most of these folks are amateur players, but getting up in front of a crown of strangers is no small thing and should be appreciated.
Not to get into a long thing here, but consistent with the Pete Seeger school of folk music, participation is a big part of what we all enjoy about folk music, and I love these brave souls who remind us of that.

Around 3:00 p.m. I decided to do something I rarely do. I found a nice spot in front of a stage, in this case the Barnfield Stage, and sat myself down for a couple of hours to take in music from artists I knew nothing about.

First up was a solo workshop by Wyatt C. Lewis, a young singer-songwriter who described himself as being from the Treaty 7 Territory in Calgary. He was backed up by a bass player and drummer. Wyatt has all the tools; a fine voice, compelling song-writing and great stage presence. I would highly recommend him to people who are interested to know more about the great stuff coming our way.

Joseph. Photo by Richard Barry.

And then I stayed in the same spot for what was the final workshop slot of the afternoon, again waiting to hear a group of acts unknown to me. The first thing I noticed was that a lot of young people were making their way over leading me to believe that the acts coming up were not unknown to them, which was evident once the music began. They were totally into it.

Anyway, I was absolutely blown away by what I heard. The performers were Joseph, an Oregon bred indie-pop trio; Jeremy Albino, an Americana, blues, country, and folk guy; Field Guide, a sing-songwriter out of Manitoba, and Iskwe, a Cree Metis artist.

It was an incredibly entertaining workshop well within the scope of the kind of music I enjoy at folk festivals, even if it pushed the boundaries a bit, which I love to see. Do yourself a favour the next time you are at a festival, go listen to some music you know nothing about, even music you might think at first blush is not for you. It might be.

That was my afternoon. I’m glad it didn’t rain, though the sun was at times brutal, something festival organizers were probably okay with. Another great festival from our friends at Mariposa.


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