This past weekend at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival brought a change of 20 degrees in temperature, starting with HOT days of 34.5 degrees Celsius and changing to cold, day-long rain showers with a couple of light thunder storms and temperatures of 12 degrees Celsius. Add to the hot days smoke that rolled into the province from the forest fires in BC and you have a lot of variety in four short days.
There was a lot of variety in the music which was magnificent although I missed a lot due to poor health and a necessity to go home and get out of the smoke and rain. Here are some of the highlights:
The first day, Thursday, the festival kicked off with the concerts at night on Main Stage. First up was Tinariwen from Mali, whom I heard more than saw.Next was the first time that I have seen DakhaBrakha from the Ukraine despite the fact they have played here before and I was amazed at the sounds they created using their voices, and loved their energetic percussion. At first I thought they were weird then I fell in love with them and visited a session again during the weekend to hear them play with City of the Sun which created some magical moments for me as they blended their voices and instruments.
DakhaBrakha on Main Stage on Thursday night
DakhaBrakha with City of the Sun at Stage 5 on Saturday
I am a big Buffy Saint Marie fan and have seen her three times, first time being a fundraiser in Calgary in 1987 then at the Folk Fest in 2007. She sang songs that covered decades, including Universal Soldier and Up Where We Belong to Skywalker and War Racket. She had a red dress hanging on stage to commemorate Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Her singing was powerful and she still speaks out strongly against injustice. Everything is hazy from the smoke that has drifted in from the forest fires in BC.
Buffy and her band from high on the hill.I went up the hill to capture the sunset over the city.
The second day, Friday, I woke up after a nap after completing my shift and the air was so thick with smoke I couldn’t see across the grounds and having asthma and a lung infection, I went home. That means I missed all the concerts that day, and got no photos.
Saturday, wearing a mask, I attended Stage 6 for the Peace Train session. I liked the big strong voices of The War and Treaty and enjoyed John Craigie and Michael Franti. Here I have a picture of the crowd as I enter the area, then Michael Franti and his band stirring up the large crowd with their positive message.
This hill was packed with fans.
The air is still smoky as evident in the distance.
It started raining after this and I did not take my camera out for the rest of the weekend because I did not want to damage it, but had fun and enjoyed dancing to West African, Celtic and Blues despite the fact it was pouring. Honestly, it was such a relief to come home to a warm bath and cozy dry bed when it was over. Despite this year’s weather I look forward to next year when it will be the 40th anniversary of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. I plan to be there both as a volunteer and a fan.