Jul 09, 2014
The sun has finally come out to stay, and people all over the country are gearing up to make the most of the warm months. For me, this means scoping out the best patios, forcing myself to start running again, and picking up my Folkfest wristband.
Festival season brings countless sources of entertainment, with diversity enough to sate even the most specific appetites. Each region has its own iconic events and, in my city, nothing compares to the Calgary Folk Music Festival. With annual attendance of over 50,000, a horde of 1650 volunteers, six stages, and four days of programming, CFMF has come a long way from its humble 1980 beginnings.
This year marks the thirty-fifth iteration of Folkfest (that makes it their jade anniversary, if anyone’s shopping for gifts), and in anticipation of the event, I’d like to give a few examples of the acts I’m particularly excited about:
It’s been nearly 10 years since Hey Rosetta!’s first EP, and in that time they have made a definite impression. With beautifully written, intimate lyrics and full, complex sound, this Newfoundland band produces music you can savour for a lifetime. Songs like “Welcome”, (off the 2011 album Seeds) demonstrate this perfectly; lead vocalist Tim Baker sings to his newborn of the life ahead, while crashing drums and gentle strings set the varying backdrop.
Hey Rosetta!’s live shows are polished, personal, and highly energetic. New fans will be swept up in the moment, and even long-time fans will experience the music in a wholly new way. Hey Rosetta! will be playing Thursday, July 24 on the Mainstage. In the meantime, check out the music video for “Young Glass” below to tide you over:
“Young Glass” by Hey Rosetta!
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan
I’m not sure that my description of Yamantaka // Sonic Titan can do them credit. This band, originally from Montreal, sits comfortably in the spaces between the established genres. With inspirations and styles taken variously from J-pop, prog-rock, metal, and any other suitable paradigm, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan produces one-of-a-kind, stirring music which lingers long after you first hear it. With origins as a performance art act, it is no surprise that the band’s live performances are known for visual and theatrical flair, creating an experience beyond a normal concert.
If you don’t know them yet, try listening to “Queens”, off the 2011 album YT//ST. It’s a personal favorite, and the combination of full pads, intense drums, grungy guitar leads, and haunting vocals gives a good representation of some of the diversity and uniqueness of their composition. Yamantaka // Sonic Titan is headlining the Twilight Stage on Friday night (July 25), and it will certainly be a show to remember.
Stream YT//ST by Yamantaka//Sonic Titan
The best way to convince people to be excited about HYDRA is to explain just who they are. This many-headed beast is a collaboration between three Canadian bands: The first is AroarA, a duo comprised of Apostle of Hustle’s frontman Andrew Whiteman and Ariel Engle from Montreal duo Moufette. Snowblink is the second band, which consists of Daniela Gesundheit and Dan Goldman. The final member of the super-group is Canadian icon Feist, who really needs no introduction. HYDRA performs songs from each of these three source bands, with added harmonies and instrumentation from the other members.
For the time-being, at least, HYDRA has not released any recorded material, so don’t pass up this chance to see them live! They take the stage Sunday, July 27, and I cannot wait to hear them play.
Read more about HYDRA here
Of course, these are merely 3 of the 70 or so bands scheduled for the festival. On top of all the individual shows, there will be the usual workshop sessions, where different bands from different genres are thrown together in totally unique collaboration. The workshops are always a blast, and you never know what to expect (and the schedule for these sessions should be posted any day now!).
It would be remiss of me not to mention the Folk Boot Camp as well, which is once again at NMC (July 22-24). This is an excellent opportunity for Calgarians to work with renowned musicians and learn from their wealth of writing and performing experience.
To view this year’s guests, and to purchase tickets, please click here.
To check out all the rest of the fantastic line-up for this year, or any other information you need, visit Calgary Folk Music Festival’s website
– Aaron Swanbergson