THIS WEEK Festival Archives 1        Letters ARCHIVES 


Vancouver- A silver anniversary

It shone like silver - every aspect of it. It would be impossible to wish the organizers better weather, bigger crowds or a more diverse and accomplished line-up. It was a complete success from beginning to end - this in no small measure due to the efforts of the festival staff and the army of volunteers present.

There was an army of volunteers on the site, expertly organized into various work crews, keeping the place ticking nicely. Sound at the workshops was outstanding, with the stages running like clockwork. The grouping of musicians around the workshop schedule was often inspired and sometimes mystifying but always entertaining. We played one with Utah Phillips, Rory Macleod and Bitch and Animal. It was hard to envision how that one would gel, but gel it did. There is something to be said for sameness, but diversity can lead to some fun as well.

Utah Phillips

I also shared workshop stages with James Keelaghan, Stephen Fearing, Ruthie Foster, the Road Dog Divas and Kim Barlow to name a few. Everyone brought something to the table and the ensuing feast was a memorable one.

It was a good time for me to meet some friends I hadn't seen since last year or longer. Karla Mundy who I met in Lennoxville and who sang on Far End of Summer was up for singing and staying up far too late. I finally got to put faces to some of the folks I had not yet met at Festival Distribution and our management team, Mainstage Music. (check out the photos below!)

Musical friends Karen Savoca and Pete Hientzman were nothing short of magical on the main stage, performing work from All My Excuses, their newest CD. I've been waiting a year for that one, and it has been worth every minute. It is a compelling and imaginative album, shot through with soul and intensity, lyrically and musically. These are two brilliant musicians who happen to be completely unpretentious so their company is valued highly.

Pete, Karen and David, photo by Dave Clarke

There were many other players there, far too many to mention. I wish you could have seen them for yourselves. It was a remarkable array.

We did a two song "tweener" on the main stage Saturday evening. The sun was streaming onto the stage from down the harbour, the crowd was pushing 12 thousand. Dave Geoff and I had a quick round of hacky sack and then stepped up to play. Our introduction was by none other than Bill Richardson of CBC's "Richardson's Roundup", a favorite of the band for his work and for his personal kindness. We did Saints and Sinners and February Morning Drive. It was thrilling - partly due to singing into such a powerful sound system and partly to the ambiance created by that number of people out to enjoy themselves in a beautiful place on a beautiful day. Perfect.

Dugg Simpson, as Artistic Director, is the man responsible for the lineup and operational organization of the festival, the lightning rod and point man. It is not a position for the faint of heart. The myriad number of problems that arise during an event of this magnitude will inevitably find there way onto your shoulders, with every intention of settling down for the ride. I for one would not welcome the weight. Apparently, Dugg has the temperament and capacity for suffering to deal with it all. My guess is he puts his faith in the tensile strength of human nerves and sees just how far they'll stretch. I looked around, taking in the thousands of people, at the mountains of supplies and equipment, at the vastness of the whole project. Then I looked up to see Dugg sauntering through the site - seemingly without a care in the world. A literal "walk in the park". Well done Sir!

Celtic Woolens: Continuing the thread…or…Sweating under the sweaters.

There are many benefits to this job, not the least of which are the people you meet. Beth and had an e-mail from Michael and Lynn about setting up a post festival show. It was very pleasant. I had the opportunity to meet up again with Tim Redman, as well as the members of Cliea, a local Vancouver Celtic band. The audience was in glorious voice throughout, and I had the delight of singing with Karla Mundy again. That alone was worth the evening. Some of us stayed behind afterwards and sang late into the night. Michael and Lynn favoured us with a few tunes, as a duo and individually. I enjoyed both very much.

everyone waving to me! (Beth) photo by David

Many thanks from all of us for the generous hospitality.
Thanks also for keeping the music alive.

back home

 photos by David, unless otherwise noted

Vancouver Folk Music Festival, the city as a backdrop

James Keelaghan, photo by Cheryl Oattes

Workshop, Geoff, David and Dave, CO

David and new friend, Christine, photo Dave Clarke

Main Stage, Saturday evening, photo Blair Lewis

Dugg and David, end of a very successful festival

David and Karla, photo by Blair Lewis

Jack, Rachel (with David) Jill and Heather, some of the great folks at Festival Distribution and Mainstage Management