Calgary Folk Festival 2012 Day Four Recap and Photos

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Calgary Folk Festival 2012 Day Four Recap and Photos

While there were a handful of notable solo shows early on in the day, namely Lowlands, Del Barber and the Magnetic North (all who went on before noon), the real draw of day four of Calgary Folk Fest both musically and crowd-wise were the workshops. Sunday was the first day that they noticeably outshone the single concerts, and crowds were enamored by the large range of jams taking place all over the park.

“Game set and match” (Jeff Stuart and the Hearts, Dan Mangan, Leeroy Stagger and Little
Scream) and “waiting for my man” (Jon Langford and Skull Orchard, Justin Townes Earle,
Reuben and the Dark, and Eve Hell and the Razors) were two of the biggest crowd draws, both overflowing from their designated space. But neither could compare to “last 10 pounds” in pure energy. Featuring Marco Calliari, Elage Diouf, Besh o droM and hip-hop artist Shad, the collected group played a whirlwind set of varied world music that, while different artists stepped up and took the spotlight, there was not break between songs, all flowing into one hour and a half dance marathon.

But none could compare to the raw, harmonic beauty of “string theories.” With The Breakmen, Chatham County Line, Lowlands and Del Barber all on stage together, the distinctly different bluegrass and folk melodies perfectly complimented each other, even if the artists only played together for a single song, earning them a rare daytime standing ovation.

Although not as well attended, the day played host to entertaining solo shows, such as those for Jim White, Jeff Stuart and the Hearts, and Lindi Ortega.

For the last night, all non-Mainstage shows ended promptly at 5:30, as Marc Ribot Y Los
Cubanos Postizos warmed the crowd. In comparison to much of the rest of the festival, the last night was a soft affair. Justin Townes Earle spun his earnest folk tunes before Randy Newman captured the crowd with only his piano. But the highlight of the night was Iron & Wine closing, as Sam Beam played both solo and with a backing band.

Although he made a few stray comments about the stagnant crowd (“I fear I may have lulled them to sleep”), he received a full standing ovation from the entirety of the Mainstage lawn. And in a true community-oriented finale, a portion of the 1,400 volunteers joined a handful of the weekend’s performers to engaged the crowd in a sing-a-long dedicated to Woodie Guthrie.