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Octoberfolk- A one day indoor folk festival

Octoberfolk is nothing if not a celebration of music. For twelve hours, on an October Saturday, the Best Western in Brantford is given over to folk music and its adherents. The setting works despite the odds, by dint of excellent organization, a friendly and gregarious group of volunteers, and a knowledgeable and appreciative audience. It is a wonderful place for musicians and audience to meet, and there is a relaxed and unhurried pace to the proceedings. This is remarkable in and of itself, given that the entire festival takes place between noon and midnight.

The workshops were well thought out and well attended, with no shortage of singers in the crowd. A personal favorite was the Traditional Music of the British Isles, that found me happily ensconced on stage between the glorious voices of Eileen McGann and Lisa Moscatiello. I was thinking I had the best seat in the house, what with the opportunity to sing along and all. Dave, Geoff and I opted to concentrate on the songs of Robert Burns, fellow Ayrshireman and my favorite singer songwriter of the seventeen hundreds. I hope everyone had as much fun as I did.
I also got to take part in Songwriters (part one), as opposed to Songwriters (part two), the Humorous side of songwriting. Ray Bonneville, Scott Cameron Smith and I were left to assume that our Part One workshop should be the Morose and Dismal side of songwriting, although none of us stuck to the script. Ray Bonneville was an electric shot in the arm in this workshop, with his spare and groove driven sound. Chicken skin music, to be sure.

The Bill Hilly Band closed the night by bursting into song acoustically as they entered the hall. This of course got their set off the ground like a rocket and their extraordinary talent kept us all up in the stratosphere until the final song. The musicianship and exuberance of this band is not to be missed and I would highly recommend catching them whenever possible. The fact that they are about as nice a group of people as you could ever hope to meet is simply a bonus.
Octoberfolk closes traditionally with the massed singing of Wild Mountain Thyme, led by our host for the event, Don McGeoch. He received a loud and heartfelt thanks from the audience and in particular the musicians. It was thoroughly deserved. Its not everyone who can take a folk festival, move it into a hotel, compress it into 12 hours and still delight audience and musicians alike. Well done Don; well done all who volunteered their time and efforts. Thank you.

October, 2001
Brantford, Ontario

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