Folk Fest Day Two: Fire trucks on the scene but the music plays on

Jul 26, 2014


Lee Fields & The Expressions on the Main Stage day two of the Calgary Folk Music Festival. Credit: Brandon Wallis.

The crowds on Friday afternoon and evening had swelled for the second day of the Calgary Folk Music Festival, with Calgarians eager to enjoy some great music and summer atmosphere, basking in the knowledge that Saturday was on the horizon. And so with the sun beginning to dip below the tips of the trees, the Great Lake Swimmers about to take the stage, and the beer garden line taking up most of the south portion of the venue, spirits were running high among all those in attendance.

Known for their commitment to their folk roots and a penchant for using the geography of Canada as a literal backdrop to their recordings, Great Lake Swimmers are a natural fit for any folk music festival. Unfortunately on this day they did not seem to be able to rise above the energy of the crowd, whose focus appeared to be elsewhere. Perhaps it was the rush to the beer and food lines, but as the set went on Great Lake Swimmers felt like they were slowly fading into the background.

Perhaps as well, the crowd was saving their energy for the next two sets, which created a vein of elation between the Mainstage to the National Stage 4. The groups responsible for this were Lee Fields & The Expressions and A Tribe Called Red. In the case of A Tribe Called Red, the crowd seemed hardly able to contain themselves, getting more and more passionate as the set went on. With their own unique brand of hip hop and electronica mixed with traditional aboriginal music, A Tribe Called Red are becoming increasingly popular and relevant with each passing day, and Friday was ample proof as to why.


Not to be outdone however, soul veteran Lee Fields and his band The Expressions got the crowd at the Mainstage on their feet, waving their arms, and giving a standing ovation in appreciation of a memorable performance.

Rufus Wainwright was up next and calmed things down with a solo set putting his beautiful, affecting voice front and centre. As everyone settled in to what promised to be a powerful set of music, the flashing lights of fire trucks broke through the trees, not to put out the fire of the previous sets, but in fact to put out a fire in the Taiko Taco food truck. The rubbernecking soon began with Folk Fest volunteers doing an excellent job of keeping attendees separated from the ensuing excitement. Hopes are that the popular and delicious Taiko Taco will soon be back in action. Luckily, this didn’t take away from the intimacy of Rufus Wainwright, who late in the set dedicated songs to both his late mother Kate McGarrigle and his father Loudon Wainwright III.


A Folk Fest volunteer directs traffic as the fire is extinguished. Credit: Brandon Wallis.

The evening came to a close with two very different groups. YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN brought their Noh-Wave sound to the National Stage 4 along with a crowd of diehard fans. A definite departure from the previous acts of the festival, their conceptual art rock was certainly something to behold in a live setting and based on the crowd reaction was wholly satisfying.


YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN at the National Stage 4 on day two of the Calgary Folk Music Festival. Credit: Brandon Wallis.


Fishbone had the final slot of the evening on the Mainstage and the rock-ska legends kept the energy pumping until the last minute, with members partaking in crowd surfing and playing each song with their trademark zeal. Like day one, day two of the Calgary Folk Music Festival ended on a high note, leaving much anticipation for day three.


–Nathaniel Schmidt

Contact me with any comments or suggestions at natey.greaty@gmail.com
Twitter: @N88TE

About the Author

Brandon Wallis

Brandon is the Director of Marketing, Communications and Visitor Experience and for the National Music Centre and Editor-in-Chief of Amplify.

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