FolkFest 2010, Day 1: Thursday Night Main Stage a Must-See


My name is Isaac.

I’m 13 years old, and I’ve been a regular FolkFest-goer since I was 18 months old.

In 2007 I delved into the media side of the FolkFest by getting a media pass at the Calgary Folk Festival and writing for my newspaper called Die Zeitung that I started in 2005. The next year I got a job writing for The Edmonton Journal at the Edmonton FolkFest and last year I wrote for Die Zeitung and the blog that I had started called 'Who’s Left and Who’s Leaving'.

This year, I will be writing regular updates from the festival for SEE’s Gig Bytes Blog. I will also have an article published in next week’s SEE Magazine

Of all the main stage line-ups at this year’s Folk Festival, tonight’s is by far the one that I am most looking forward to. Four very respected performers will play the main stage tonight.

Opening up the festival will be Patrick Watson, followed by Canadian icon Gord Downie. Next performing will be English folk singer Kate Rusby, and to finish the night off, former Wednesday night headliner Ben Harper will perform. 

California-born, Quebec-raised Patrick Watson is probably the artist that I am most looking forward to seeing at this year’s festival. I first heard of Patrick Watson in 2007 when his album Close to Paradise won the 2007 Polaris Prize. He has since come “into the light” for me again after I saw a video on YouTube of him playing a great duet with Lhasa.

Watson's 2009 album Wooden Arms was also a finalist for that year’s Polaris Prize. Perhaps my favourite song of Watson’s is on off of Close to Paradise called The Great Escape, which I tried to learn on piano. 

Gord Downie is a Canadian icon, and his band The Tragically Hip is one of the most famous Canadian bands ever. The Hip has received 14 Juno Awards over the years and was inducted into the Canadian Walk of Fame as well as the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

I think that the reason The Tragically Hip has become so famous is because Gord Downie’s lyrics really resonate with Canadians. He uses real Canadian stories in his songs, and because of this my mom swears that the song Wheat Kings is about my great-grandfather who was the chief commissioner of the Canadian Wheat Board (minus being a killer of course). 

Kate Rusby is an artist that I am not very familiar with. The only time that I have really heard her name is when it has been mentioned in the media, so I'm excited about hearing her for the first time today.

Rusby was born into a musical family and learned to play the guitar, fiddle and piano at a young age. She's quite well known among folk fans in Britain and has won 4 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. 

To finish off Day 1 of the festival I feel that Ben Harper’s performance is sort of a gift. Harper (not to be confused with Stephen) was originally going to play the Wednesday night show, but has been moved to Thursday night.

One of the reasons Ben Harper gets so much respect is because of the sheer amount of activism he does: he participated in Vote for Change and contributed his song "Oppression" for the CD For the Lady in 2004. He is part of No Nukes Group and participated in Songs for Tibet in 2008. And besides all this he is also a 2 time Grammy Award winner!

Tonight’s main stage performance is bound to be something special. Sharing the stage will be a Polaris Prize winner, a Juno Award winner, a BBC Radio 2 Award winner and a Grammy Award winner! So for all those attending the folk fest tonight, you are in for a treat.

See you on the hill! 


more in Music Preview     |     posted Aug 5th, 2010 at 1:16pm     

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