While weeknights at the Ottawa Folk Festival rocked (oh, ha, I’m so puuny), the weekend lent itself an even greater opportunity for folking awesomeness. Being a photographer and working in collaboration with my friend and fellow writer, I was able to catch all of the best action over the two days.
Saturday: Day 4
Since I already wrote an entire article on Chris Hadfield, I’ll skip over to the next portion of the weekend. The Carolina Chocolate Drops belted their blues-y songs to an eager audience, my favourite being their introduction to a musical instrument called “bones”. In practice, the instrument seemed similar to spoons, but even just the name bones made them a million times more awesome!
The main draw of the night was definitely The Sheepdogs. After Vampire Weekend’s disappointing performance, I was a bit sceptical of big-name performances, but the Sheepdogs did NOT disappoint. If anything, they were a perfect copy of their album, but with the addition of fun hats and colourful plaid shirts. For me, it was more than enough.
Day 4 Summary: learn to play the bones. They’re an awesome instrument.
Sunday: Day 5
After a great Saturday, I was pretty pumped for Sunday and kicking off the day with Go Long (!) only added to this. While they were a stereotypical folk group in the fact that their female singer spoke with an over flowy, sing-song voice even when she was speaking, the guitarist subbed out for a mandolin on occasion and the group featured a double bass, all three members were undeniably talented. With all 3 performing as solo acts in the past, they did a great job of giving each other the opportunity to solo it up and showcase their talents during their set. The only negative comment I have is the fact that the group announced their separation following the completion of their upcoming scheduled events. :(
Next on the Sunday setlist was World Party. After watching about 2.5 seconds of their “Ship of Fools” video, I wasn’t impressed by their old-school mimickry-vibe and wasn’t really looking forward to their performance. However, my writing partner insisted they were worth a shot and I begrudgingly followed. As things would have it, I was impressively surprised by their performance – the group was full of energy and I was fully won over not only by their live sound, but also their bright red pants ;)
The festival’s final act followed a performance by Gordan Lightfoot, for which all can say is that after photographing him from up-close, I’m surprised he made it through the act alive, he’s so old now. Although I was sad to admit the Folk Fest was coming to a close, there was no better way to end things off than with The Wailer (yes, The Wailers from Bob Marley and the Wailers). Although the mention of the famous Jamaican group guaranteed police presence, the group was 100% on top of their game, giving a stellar performance. Ottawa might not always be the liveliest crowd, but their 5-day folk fest certainly proves their love for the art.
In Summary: I want to say indie folk bands are awesome, but am failing at finding a way to phrase this without sounding stupidly hipster.