Calgary Folk Festival 2012 Day Three Recap and Photos
By day three, the Calgary Folk Festival was in full swing: all seven stages were in use by 10:30 a.m. with both solo shows and workshops, and food trucks continued to swell “vendor row,” offering fresh sushi, gelato and rice sandwiches. An entire children’s section (“little folk”) had been raised with rock climbing, face painting and even fort building. It was evident from blocks away, as even the area surrounding the park began to fill with vendors, that street performers and troubadours were lining the streets.
Workshops were spread all over the park, featuring artists who had previously taken the Mainstage along with those who had yet to perform a solo show, but the largest draw of these was “tinder dry.” With Sam Baker, both members of Whitehorse, Tom Wilson of Blackie & the Rodeo Kings and Dan Mangan all together on one stage, the typically loose crowd packed itself in so tightly, it bordered on overflowing into other areas of the park.
As the the numbers continued to grow in the park throughout the morning and early afternoon, many performers who had been playing variously around the festival in the days previous were given their solo time, such as Ellis Paul, Joe Nolan, Rae Spoon and Joy Kills Sorrow. For local darlings Reuben & the Dark’s set, the crowd filled out the surrounding green space, but for others such as Carrie Elkin, concert-goers remained in the only small, shaded areas, leaving the space by the stage relatively empty.
Stage 6 had a constant, packed crowd, although whether it was the draw of the musicians or the only full tent remained ambiguous, as Leeroy Stagger, Mercedes Peon and Chatam County Line performed there throughout the afternoon.
Abigail Washburn was one of the day stage enders, competing for time with John Doe and Sam Baker, mesmerizing the crowd with her varied talents, speaking (and singing in) Mandarin Chinese, telling off-kilter anecdotes, and even clogging.
While the Mainstage riled up for the night with a very jazzy set from Shakura S’Aida and Hungarian hodgepodge Besh o droM, before Junior Brown took the stage with his guit-steel in hand. The Twilight Stage featured folk and world alternatives, hosting Jon Lanford & Skull Orchard, Little Scream and, fittingly, the Rural Alberta Challenge.
On the Mainstage, Canadian artist Serena Ryder, backed by the Beauties, who had been playing solo throughout the weekend, brought the crowd into full form the for the first time. And while Mary Chapin Carpenter was the headliner of the evening, Gillian Welch (accompanied by Dave Rawlings), absolutely stole the night, commanding such a presence as she picked her banjo. Closing with “I’ll Fly Away,” the pair stole back on stage for only the second encore of the festival, breaking into a titled and beautiful version of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit.”