Calgary Folk Festival 2012 Day Two Recap and Photos
With the weather warmer and sunnier than the sweater weather of the day before, day two of Calgary Folk Festival began with a series of mid-afternoon shows at stages scattered around the park.
The second afternoon saw the beginning of the workshops, a Calgary Folk Fest mainstay, where different bands are brought together in front of an audience and given a loose theme, encouraged to collaborate and more-or-less publicly jam.
With the day’s themes ranging from “rip chords” (a mixture of bands with punk, alt-country and roots heritages) to “you bellowed?” (music made with accordions), the workshops play host to creative, non-rehearsed music in a format audiences rarely have the chance to witness. The highlight of these was the rollicking “radiant cities,” featuring bands from Canadian metropolises: The Magnetic North, Little Scream, The Beauties and the Barr Brothers. While some workshops took on more of a round-robin atmosphere with each band taking their time, “radiant cities” had an air of 13 (by my count) musicians that had always played together, just having a good time.
Small, individual shows took place in a small corner of the park throughout the afternoon, with Toronto-based married duo Whitehorse beginning the day in a fit of folk rock. Alejandra Robles and the Cold Specks took the stage afterwards, with Robles breaking into flared salsa before Cold Specks brought in her solemn, soulful heartbreak soundtrack.
Once evening hit, Shooglenifty kicked off the Mainstage with lyric-less, Celtic bluegrass, warming the crowd for country rockers Blackie & the Rodeo Kings. Other evening entertainment awaited those suited to different tastes, with a hip-hop line-up at the Twilight Stage featuring Melvin Gibbs & Elevated Entity, Blitz the Ambassador and Shad.
But by the time Bettye LaVette sashayed onto the Mainstage, people had largely replaced the empty chairs. Del Barber and Cold Specks both played “tweeners,” balancing her soft melancholy with his soulful, acoustic country. But when Canadian favorite Dan Mangan appeared, with his romping folk-rock, the entire crowd was mesmerized, cheering and clapping along.
As Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum came on with only his acoustic guitar and the jumbo screens turned off, the crowd seemed to deflate, many more enamored with the children carrying paper lanterns through the festival pathways (a yearly tradition). But while the field largely began to clear, a dedicated group stayed universally standing at the front, ever enthusiastic, singing along, and hanging onto his every last word.