Monday, August 08, 2016


Did you hear me sigh this morning? It was pretty loud; you probably thought it was wind or something. You probably thought, Huh. That's funny-sounding wind.
Nope. Just me. 

It started as a wee ache in my poor sweet heart that kind of slipped from my lips as I lay in my bed half awake, but as I gained consciousness and became aware of where I was and where I was not going today, the sigh grew up into a plough wind that gusted from my bedroom window and blew all the birds and airplanes right out of the sky.

It's the day after the Regina Folk Fest, and every year when I wake up the day after Folk Fest, I sigh like that.

There she goes, being all melodramatic about live music again.

As per usual. I don't know how else to be about it.

For those who don't know, Folk Fest is a yearly thing that happens right in the centre of my city, in Victoria Park. It's three days long and all of the stuff that happens during the day is completely free. There are food vendors and interesting booths with art and jewelry and all the usual festival-ly stuff, and there are fascinating people - all supremely happy because, hey, everyone is at a free music festival - and there are three stages of music (four, if you count the kids stage) (I don't). Sometimes, the stages have straight-up concerts on them, and sometimes they have workshops, which are when three or four bands learn each others' songs and perform them together. I don't know which I like better; it depends on the bands I guess.

Like, yesterday, we saw the Strumbellas playing with a band from Winnipeg called the Dirty Catfish Brass Band, and that was really cool and I hope the Strumbellas look into just absorbing the brass band permanently into their little organization there. But I also say this as a firm believer that every single band, regardless of genre, needs some horns. A trumpet or something.

(I said this to someone once and their eyes bugged out and they said something about trumpets being so annoying and obnoxious. Like trumpets are the belligerent jerk on a city bus. But do you know why belligerent jerks are belligerent jerks? Because they don't know how to express their souls, I think. I think belligerent jerks are just sad inside. And trumpets are the saddest, most soulful instruments around if you just listen to them. And I like sad, soulful music. So. Trumpets.)

Anyway. My purposes for writing this blog post are twofold: 1. I took too many pictures of Folk Fest for Instagram and 2. I needed an outlet for my post-festival sadness. 

Also, I guess, to make my case for Trumpets.

Oh, AND, to tell you about some good music that you should listen to.

And, of course, for future me to look back on fondly. 

So, a little something for everyone - something for me, something for you, something for trumpets.

On Saturday, Barclay had to work, so Sullivan and I went without him. Sullivan loved it, and I loved having him there. He's good company. He likes to watch what's going on on the stage and ask me about the different instruments ("Is he playing a bongo drum, Mom?" "Yep." What's that thing?" "A saxophone." "Satsabone. What's a satsabone do?")

Here's a picture of us that must have been taken by the paparazzi:

I even braved the kids stage with him for a whole hour, for a comedian named Al Simmons, who Sully refers to as Fish Guy because at one point in the act there was a fish and that's how kid brains work.

I remember walking past the kids stage in festival years past and pitying the parents sitting there with their children, missing the fun at the grown-up stages. I vowed I would never be one of them. Now, I have learned never to make vows. And I have learned that the fun of seeing your kid have fun is funner than the fun of seeing yourself have fun.

On Sunday, Barclay stayed home with Sullivan for a few hours so I could go to the festival by myself. I haven't done this since... let me see. It would've been the year Ohbijou was there, so, 2010? I usually have some combination of family or festival friends with me at all times, but this year everyone was busy - honeymoons, injuries, kids, etc - so I went solo.

I brought my friend Melanie Dale's book to read in between sets and stage hopped to my heart's content. It was pretty wonderful and I might make it a practise to always take in a few shows at RFF by myself from now on. I did regret, however, that I had no one to pinch excitedly when Iskwe covered Bjork's Army of Me. I smiled at the woman beside me though, and she returned it. So. A friend.

I think I covered all of my genres in the two hours I was there by myself - brassy pop punk and straight-up brass band and soft, acoustic indie and dancey, electronic hip-hop, among others.

My favourite set of the day was from a band called The Royal Foundry, and if you ever get a chance to see them live, absolutely, absolutely do. I give them ten out of ten and both of my thumbs and five stars. Their set was completely captivating.

Here, watch this, this is them:

Also, fun facts: The frontpeople are a married couple (awww), and the lead singer, Jared Salte, is the son of Arlen Salte, who was my favourite musician when I was five and who I saw live every single summer as a child. He sang a song called When the Ducks Go By, and I think it's probably playing in the background in the majority of my home videos.

That's all very cute, isn't it? This is the actual circle of life.

Barclay and Sullivan joined me for the last couple sets of Sunday, and that was great too.

We finished the day off with pirogies from Baba's, and that was just one more in a long string of solid choices we made this weekend. 

Bye for one more year, RFF.

PS: In case anyone cares, my current wishlist for RFF 2017 is:

Snarky Puppy, MewithoutYou, Gruff Rhys, Fiona Bevan, Bear's Den, The Milk Carton Kids, Seinabo Sey, and Aqualung.