Here is some of what I recall that July of '89. Landing in Winnipeg, the first thing that strikes me is how flat it is. They say it's so flat that, on a clear day, you can see the back of your head. Attending the festival is also the first time in years I experience a hot, July day without one drop of humidity. The breeze that caresses the oceans of wheat fields on the drive to Birds Hill Park is cool and delicious. Perfect.
John Mann. Be still my beating heart.
Addicted to cowboys.
Four years after I attended that festival, The Boy I Loved would tell me a very special story concerning his boss and that festival. It was a sad story. Also, a pretty beautiful one. A moving one. Sad and beautiful and moving. So this particular folk festival holds a certain place in my heart, you understand.
I haven't been to Winnipeg in 21 years now. This July, I looked up who was playing and wanted to kick myself for missing this year's amazing lineup. Among the fabulous performers this summer, the following fall into my own, personal, not-to-be-missed category:
The Avett Brothers (sample: The Ballad of Love and Hate)
Del Barber (sample: Coming Home with the Summer)
Delhi 2 Dublin (sample: Apples)
Devon Sproule (sample: Plea for a Good Night's Sleep)
The Dodos (sample: The Season)
Luluc (sample: My Little Suitcase)
Pieta Brown (sample: Faller)
Gregory Alan Isakov. Warped hats are cool.
and last but definitely not least, and perhaps my favourite, whom I still hope to catch live some time:
Gregory Alan Isakov (sample: That Moon Song)
Even though we couldn't make it out West this summer, last weekend, my baby boy and I did attend a local folk festival closer to home than Winnipeg. We danced to Lovely Allen by Holy Fuck and, Holy Fuck! They were amazing! On the Sunday evening, he fell asleep under the stars to Stars and their Ageless Beauty.
The Boy I Loved. The one who told me the story about his boss and the Winnipeg folk festival? He once wrote me that he would always avoid folk festivals. I hope that ain't true. 'Cause otherwise he's missing some damn fine music out there. And the special vibe unique to catching live music at an outdoor venue under summer or autumn skies. The kind of event that brings people together who don't mind getting rained on or being caked in mud while they wander from one stage to the next; who spread blankets and sprawl out under stars that peek out of a much larger, indigo blanket hanging above; who close their eyes and open their hearts to the sound of instrument and voice. A capella or accompanied. Guitar, banjo, sitar, accordion or harp.
There just is nothing like spending time with some really good folk...
(p.s. Happy belated, Monica. Thanks for all the fun twenty years ago. Hey girl, we was wild then. This one's for you. Keep on rockin, girl.)