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Category Archives: 2015

Summerfolk40 President’s Message

Presidents Message on the Anniversary Bash Summerfolk 40

Summerfolk 40 and the Anniversary Birthday Bash certainly exceeded all expectations in every sense of the word. It was a special weekend for everyone involved from young to old, festival patrons right on through to our volunteers.

A special thanks to James Keelaghan who did a superb job programming the festival this year. A special thanks to Roxanne Davidson, and her great team of Summerfolk Co-ordinators for transforming Kelso Beach into a place of pure magic. A special thanks to the army of volunteers who are the glue that hold us all together and allow each one of us the opportunity to truly experience something special. What a treat!!! What great memories!!!!

I was asked many times over the weekend what it was about Summerfolk weekend that continues to surprise and delight people. Simply put I believe it is the recognition and respect that our staff, our volunteers, performers, artisans and our community have for what Summerfolk has come to mean to them personally and to the fabric of this community. People really care about this event. I hear it every day when I am out and about.

Summerfolk will continue to endure and flourish because I am confident we all understand and appreciate that Summerfolk is a true gem, something extraordinary and that we are simply caretakers of something very special.

We are already hard at work planning for Summerfolk 2016 and beyond. We continue to need committed folks to step up and come on board to assist us with this work. I would love the opportunity to chat further with you about some specific opportunities right now. We need some folks to assist us with volunteer co-ordination and management, sponsorship and fundraising, marketing and promotion, and perhaps serving on or board. If you have an interest in any of the above areas, please get in touch with me through the office at 519-371-2995 or gbfs@bmts.com. Let’s get together for a coffee and a chat.

Keep an eye on summerfolk.org for more announcements that will soon be coming your way.
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Phil Bye,
President
The Georgian Bay Folk Society

The View From Stage Right

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By David Newland

The other day, my teenage daughter confronted me: “Dad, why are you still wearing that t-shirt? It’s ten years old!” I looked down, stunned. “What?! This is my Summerfolk 30th anniversary shirt!” Okay, guilty as charged. But I can explain…

In 2004, I’d been playing as a singer-songwriter in Ontario for a couple of years. Festival gigs were hard to come by. I had played at a Last Chance Saloon for a slot at Summerfolk, and despite many a plastic beer cup raised to my effort, I didn’t get the gig.

 I did, however, get a chance to walk through the site at Kelso Park, where so many of my musical heroes had played. Walking among the standing stones with the winter wind whipping off Georgian Bay, I dedicated myself to someday playing Summerfolk.

 Elsewhere on the scene, fellow performers and volunteers talked of great moments spent at Summerfolk; of Willie P. Bennett and Stan Rogers; of passionate fans lined up to place their tarps; of late night jams, summer storms and endless encores; of a volunteer corps second to none.

 I got invited to play one of the off-season GBFS songwriter series shows, in a lovely theatre above the old courthouse. I stayed in a B&B with a basement vault, a relic of the Prohibition era whiskey trade. At the Tom Thomson gallery, I discovered the painter’s mandolin, a poignant artifact I have made a point of visiting time and again. If I couldn’t play the festival (yet) I could love and admire the place. And I did.

 When Liz Harvey-Foulds took over as AD in 2005, she hired some musical friends of mine, and one of them, Jory Nash, asked if I could help out as a volunteer stage host at the Homemade Jam stage. I jumped at the chance. You know the old saying: if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with… hosting. People I’d been listening to for years were playing: Tanglefoot, Rita Chiarelli, Garnet Rogers. I got to sit in on an Ian Tamblyn workshop! I was hooked.

 The following year I was back, hosting Down By the Bay. The dream was coming true by tiny increments. Prairie Oyster, Lynn Miles, Crooked Still… I was still a fan, but now I was finding myself backstage with these folks. On Sunday morning I caught the gospel workshop from my canoe, Suzie Vinnick’s voice echoing off the grain elevators.

 In 2009, with Richard Knechtel at the helm, I was back with my band, The McFlies. Rocking Down By the Bay, right before Hoots and Hellmouth on the Saturday night, was one of my favourite musical moments ever. The next day, Sharon, of Sharon, Lois & Bram showed up at a kids’ workshop I was hosting and joined me onstage for Skinnimarink. Does it get any better?

 It did. In 2011, Richard called again: how about hosting mainstage? Yes sir, I said. Summerfolk was one of seven festivals I did that year with my fiancée by my side, weeks before our wedding. Now I had someone to share all my favourite things with: the steam powered corn cooker, the deep fried turkey legs. The beach and the tipi and the smiling faces now becoming familiar: Pete Miller driving the shuttle van, Ariel Rogers managing the tweeners. Steve and Steve in the CIUT tent. The instrument petting zoo!

 In 2012, Summerfolk had a new Artistic Director, and I had a new album. James Keelaghan offered me a night hosting mainstage again, the usual workshop slots and a spot in a brand new venue: the Wine Bar. Now my wife was pregnant and the in-laws were along in support. Summerfolk had become a multi-generational affair in more ways than one: Nathan Rogers (with Dry Bones) took to the stage named after his father, just one among a slew of acts like Chic Gamine, Al Simmons, H’SAO, and my old buddy Dave Gunning. Wow.

 Two years later came another call from Keelo, this time with a bold request: would I host all three nights on main stage? On that long-ago winter’s day, all I’d hoped for was the chance to play the festival one day. And now I would be introducing the likes of Laura Cortese, Oh Suzannah, and the incredible Buffy Ste. Marie? Yes, I said. YES!

 And now here we are in 2015. Once again, I find myself heading to Owen Sound to host mainstage at Summerfolk. Now, it’s not just heroes, but colleagues and friends I have the honour of introducing: Up-and-comers, the Young Novelists. Ukulele wizard James Hill and the wildly talented Shari Ulrich. Samantha Martin, whose band will simply blow people away. The profound and insightful Evalyn Parry and the passionate and inspiring Digging Roots. The outlandish Steve Poltz and the haunting Sarah MacDougall. Joel Plaskett! Trout Fishing in America! Whitehorse!

 So yeah, I’m still wearing my volunteer t-shirt from 2005. It’s not yet holey, but it’s kinda… holy. Still, I may pick up a new one this year. Summerfolk 40? Sounds like a dream come true to me.

Workshops and Festival Magic

Randy represents the audience at the Songs from a Hat workshop in 2014

Randy represents the audience at the Songs from a Hat workshop in 2014

By James Keelaghan

We have a lot of people who buy tickets to the festival before we announce even one name from the lineup. They know that what happens at Summerfolk is unique. They don’t need to see a lineup to know that the entertainment will be top notch.

The schedule for the entire weekend is up on the website now. I looked at the spike in web traffic when we posted it. I knew what was going on. The serious were handicapping the schedule.

They were figuring out how to maximize their time at the festival. Plotting how to see everybody that they want to see. I also see it in that first hour on site, before the music has actually begun. The calm before the song, as it were. People are hunched over their programs, the highlighting tool of their choice in their hands. They are circling things.

Every year, we hear same thing,“ you can’t possibly see it all ”. It’s true, you can’t. With seven daytime stages and two to three evening stages, you’d have to have clones to take it all in.

It’s my job to program all that activity. Eighty-eight separate shows that add up to one festival. I would like to take all the credit, or blame for that, but the ideas for the workshops come from a lot of different places.

When performers return their paperwork for the festival, they also return a sheet where they have listed their workshop ideas.

Workshops, if you haven’t seen them, take a few performers, give them a theme and sixty minutes or so on stage. Performers play to the theme, but if they are feeling particularly comfortable, they start playing with each other. The very best workshops end up with the performers becoming a pick-up band. It’s electric.

They might also mention people they would love to be in a workshop with. The Bombadil’s really wanted to do a workshop with Grit Laskin. Done ( Saturday August 22 11AM, Down BY the Bay stage). Ann Lederman wanted to do a workshop with Bruce Molsky. Done ( Sunday afternoon, August 23rd, 4:30 at the Wine Bar. Be there or be square).

There are often existing relationships between musicians that you know will bear fruit in a workshop. Leonard Podolak is at the festival this year with his group, the Duhks. Mark Schatz is here as part of Claire Lynch’s band. Mark and Leonard have known each other for years. Mark produced two of the early Duhks’ records. He also taught Leonard to hambone and clog. Clogging, you are probably familiar with, or you can take a wild guess and probably will be right. Hambone, you might not be familiar with. It’s a form of dance mixed with body percussion and it’s a great thing to watch and an ever better thing to do. Master and student will teach it all to you at Noon on the Sunday of Summerfolk ( Over The Hill stage).

There are many other instructional workshops over the weekend. David Essig has a workshop called Art of the Jam that could help those who tend to stall out around the campfire. How about learning how to write a haiku, be a part of the Summerfolk choir, or learn how to spin poi?

Other workshops are about throwing musicians together and, with the relaxation that comes from the Summerfolk atmosphere, magic happens, not to mention a few sparks. I anticipate the last workshop on the Down By the Bay Stage, Sunday afternoon, called Groove Summit with Whitehorse, The Mackenzie Blues Band, and Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar is going to take the roof off the tent.

Another Down by the Bay workshop (1PM Saturday), Songs from a Hat has become a favourite of the audiences in the past few years.
The idea is simple. I have a hat. It’s filled with song titles written on long scraps of paper. Steve Poltz, Anne Beverley Foster, Trout Fishing in America and David Woodhead square off against the audience. The challenge is to sing at least the first verse and chorus of a song pulled from my hat. If the pros can’t do it, it’s up to the audience. There’s only one other rule. Don’t throw the microphone!

Shari Ulrich, Claire Lynch, Wendy McNeill and Sarah MacDougall are four writers with very different styles, but my bet is they find common ground at a workshop called “Wolf at the door”, (Down by the Bay, Sunday at noon).

Those are just a few of the things we have in store for you. The best part is, you still don’t know what it is that is going to surprise you.

You’ll find the weekend schedule and everything else you need to know about Summerfolk at summerfolk.org. The 40th annual Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival happens August 20-23 at Kelso Beach Park, Owen Sound and is brought to you through the efforts of the Georgian Bay Folk Society.

A workshop on the Down by the Bay stage in 2014

A workshop on the Down by the Bay stage in 2014

Fruitful artists have roots in tradition

Joel Plaskett

Joel Plaskett

By James Keelaghan

Several years ago, I was teaching at a music camp in New Jersey. I had a group of about 16 songwriters as students. On the first night they invited me down to a songwriters’ circle at one of the cabins. I went, stayed for one round through the circle, and said my “good nights”. I then went and played for two hours with the contra dance band.

The next day, they asked what I thought about the circle. My inner Canadian was still asleep and instead of being polite, I said what was on my mind. I told them that the best thing they could do as songwriters was to go back home and find a traditional band to play with-traditional Irish, traditional Rock and Roll, it didn’t matter. They were writing songs that had no tie to any tradition, except a singer songwriter tradition. To write better songs, they had to grow some roots. Case in point-Joel Plaskett.

Joel is a node. He’s one of these people who works well with others. He has written the occasional song with Matt Andersen. He produced the latest James Hill CD. He’s recorded and performed with Rose Cousins and Anne Egge. He’s played everything from orchestral shows to Cafes. Later this month, he’ll be performing as part of the Interstellar Allstars for the Interstellar Rodeo in Edmonton with Kathleen Edwards and Luke Doucet. He clearly likes to play. He likes to explore and bring people along for the ride.

Joel has spent most of his career in bands-Nabisco Fonzie, The Thrush Hermits, Neuseiland and his eponymous Joel Plaskett Emergency. Lately, he’s been appearing more as a solo or a duo. It allows him to be more nimble, to switch up the material. He’s a great live performer, relaxed and comfortable. His melodies are catchy. Though he has dabbled in a lot of styles musically, his lyrics maintain a consistent conversational tone. There’s a lot of storytelling.

Joel has enjoyed and is enjoying the kind of success that independent artists aspire to. Great sales, sold out concerts, nominations and awards are all fruits of hard work and talent. But there is something else.

Joel is, in fact, a poster child for the value of exposing kids to live music.

Before moving to Halifax, Joel grew up in Lunenburg Nova Scotia.The town is the embodiment, in wood and stone, of what every Canadian imagines Nova Scotia to be. Trim wooden houses rise up from the harbour. It looks prosperous because it was. The Bluenose is the most famous of the vessels that was built in that harbour, but she was only one of thousands born in Lunenburg’s cradles. In the mid 1800s, there could be as many as 18 vessels under construction at a time. There may be busloads of tourists now posing before the picturesque, but it’s still a working harbour.

Joel’s father, Bill Plaskett, is a musician in his own right. He was one of the founders of the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival. On festival weekend the town is dominated by the tent atop Blockhouse Hill, the highest point in town. Music also happens on the docks on the waterfront.

From the beginning, the festival was plagued by a lack of accommodation for the musicians. Volunteers and members of the board offered their houses as billets. Kitchen parties at the Plaskett house during the festival were a big event, but there was live music in the house all year round. Joel did not learn to be a musician in isolation, it was part of the fabric of his youth.

Evalyn Parry, who is going to be with us at Summerfolk this year, puts it this way

I was raised in a tradition: squeeze boxes in the kitchen.
Heads thrown back, call and response, feet stomping, gut strings thrumming.
Believing in the songs I was raised with .
Songs sung from festival stages, around campfires…
You can circumnavigate the globe in song, but you know you are home
When you know all the words

That’s why Nova Scotia, or Winnipeg, or the Ottawa Valley continue to produce consistently great musicians. There is a tradition of music being part of the everyday fabric of life.

That’s essentially what I was trying to say to that group of writers in New Jersey. They had some catching up to do. You don’t write good songs unless you come out of some sort of tradition. The more music you are exposed to in your youth, the better you will be. Luckily, it’s never too late to have a great childhood.

Joel Plaskett will be playing in the amphitheatre at Kelso Beach on Friday, August 21. He will do a workshop on Saturday Morning at 11AM with James Hill and Steve Poltz. They are just three of the over 40 acts that will be playing the Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival August 20-23. Tickets and information can be found at summerfolk.org.

Putting the Crafts into Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival

By Jon Farmer

When the first Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival was held in 1976, organizers intended to promote folk music and folk arts. They filled the space between musical stages with crafts people demonstrating and selling their wares. The artisans didn’t have electrical access in 1976 and instead used candles and lanterns to light their booths at night. Forty years later, the Artisan Village is still a bright spot at the festival.

I discovered the magic of the Artisan Village one night at my first Summerfolk. I was heading back to the amphitheatre, following my new favourite artists between stages. Part way through the Artisan Village some acoustic music caught my attention. A group was jamming in a vendor tent ahead of me. I lingered at the entrance watching a handful of people in the dimly lit space, some sitting on the ground, some on chairs, all playing the handmade instruments from the displays. When the song ended someone greeted me and handed me a guitar that I couldn’t have afforded as a fifteen year old. I played Folsom Prison Blues and someone pulled a harmonica out of their pocket for a solo. I left the jamming artisans with a smile on my face.  I’ve forgotten whether that booth belonged to Ron Belanger or Outside Instruments, but both are returning for the 40th Anniversary Summerfolk.

Becoming a Summerfolk artisan is a competitive process. Aspiring crafts people apply through a discerning jury. The criteria are fixed: crafts must be handmade and of superb quality. After that, it’s anything goes. Seventy artisans applied to fill just 46 spaces. This year they’ll bring everything from hand forged metal and carved stone, to jewellery, clothing, instruments, and longboards. The juried process ensures a healthy mix of new and returning vendors. Each year 25-30% of the booths are new. Artisans are invited to submit their best works to the juried craft show over the weekend for the chance to win judges’, artisans’, and people’s choice awards.

Amanda Cuffe came to Summerfolk for the first time in 2014 with her Amanda Sew & Sooo booth, full of colourful handmade coats and sweaters. Amanda grew up surrounded by art in her grandfather’s Tobermory studio. Although she’s created art for her entire life, she only began to sew eight years ago when she inherited the contents of her aunt’s sewing room. She describes her sewing process like painting with big unrestricted strokes of colour. After a quick visit to her website, I she what she means. Her coats are colourful fabric collages that look decidedly spunky and warm. Amanda doesn’t use patterns. Every piece is truly one-of-a-kind. She made a good impression in 2014, winning the People’s Choice Award. She’s back for Summerfolk40.

Work by Amanda Sew & Sooo

Work by Amanda Sew & Sooo

Mark and Shelli Eisenberg brought their Delicate Touch Jewellery to Summerfolk for the first time in 1977 and have been back almost every year since. They use a soft saw technique to create beautifully intricate designs in gold and silver. If you’ve seen silver earrings shaped like the Georgian Bay Folk Society logo, then you know their work. Over their own 40 year career, Mark and Shelli have vended at hundreds of fairs and festivals but Summerfolk is their favourite. “We come back every year because we enjoy it and we do well,” Mark said on the phone from their studio in Hamilton. “It’s kind of like coming home”.

Summerfolk is a family affair for Mark and Shelli – in fact, their family started at the festival – and they brought their children every year after. One year the kids set up a face painting station to make a little money. “They ate like kings all weekend”, Mark said.

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Rings by Delicate Touch Jewellery

Artisans camp behind their booths during Summerfolk, a tradition that helps the Artisan Village live up to its name. Richard Cox started to make wooden flutes a decade ago and has brought them to Summerfolk for almost as long. You’ll find him at his booth through the day, in the Down by the Bay tent enjoying the music at night, and cooking breakfast behind his booth in the early mornings.

Vince Bowen brought Rockrose Pottery to the festival in 1979 and hasn’t missed a year since. He’s known for fine porcelain ware with classic, simple forms, colourful glazes, and an eye for function. He has a history of winning the juried competition. Vince has shown his pottery at festivals across the country gathering a following of patrons, volunteers, and well-known musicians. Summerfolk is close to both his home and his heart.

Over the weekend, festival goers wander through the Artisan Village like treasure hunters. They chat with artisans, linger over pieces, and circle their favourites, deciding whether to carry them home. It’s not uncommon to see young and old walking the festival grounds showing off their newest souvenirs whether it’s one of Joel Brubacher’s Banjo Puppets or Lisa Spalding’s henna tattoos. The art, like the festival, is easy to get attached to.

You can find out more about all 46 of the artisans at www.summerfolk.org and meet them for yourself at the 40th anniversary Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival at Kelso Beach in Owen Sound, August 21-23rd.

Trevor MacKenzie trying out a Rosbilt TinCan Banjo/Ukelele at Summerfolk39

Trevor MacKenzie trying out a Rosbilt TinCan Banjo/Ukelele at Summerfolk39

Q & A with the Wareham Forge

The Artisan Village puts the ‘Craft’ into the Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival.  Recently, we asked Darrell Markewitz of the Wareham Forge about his over 20 years of Summerfolk experience.

At how many Summerfolks have you vended?

“Over 20”

I think my first year was either 1992 or 1993. I’ve missed two years over the period to this year.

How would you describe your experience at Summerfolk to another vendor who has never been?

The atmosphere at Summerfolk is far more relaxed than a typical ‘just sales’ event. There are a large number of people attending who come for all of the three days, plus a large number who actually camp on site for the whole event. This means a lot of ‘browsing’, people typically will make several returns to an individual booth, after viewing the entire selection of artistic work available, before making a purchase. This also goes for people who return year after year, watching your work as it develops. Generally I feel that although this does mean more effort on my part, it does make for a ‘better educated’ customer.

The very relaxed ‘old hippie’ tone to the event, coupled with this return flow, does mean that booth security has never, ever, been a concern for me personally. If you wander off yourself for a half hour (to see a music set), nothing will be missing and any potential customers know they can just catch you later.

Balanced against this are the length of the working days. Typically 12 plus hours – longer when you consider the set up Friday and tear down Sunday.

 How does Summerfolk compare to other craft and music festivals you attend?

Honestly, I have cut back on other sales events in the last decade.

Partially because of the huge work involved in transporting and setting up the booth structure. My own work has been come more complex over the decades – with an increase in pricing related to this quality and scale increase. I don’t make $20 candle holders any more, and consider my presentation at Summerfolk more of a gallery setting – than any specific attempt to generate sales. This year Summerfolk is the *only* retail sales event that I will be taking part in.

One significant part of Summerfolk is distinctive : the Artisan Gallery.

The original intent of this was to allow individual artists to display work well beyond the scope of typical sales items. Supporting this effort with cash prizes has proved especially effective in encouraging this additional effort to produce more elaborate objects by the artists.

(I’ve won a good number of these over the years, and personally I can tell you this recognition has been very important in personally encouraging my own work.)

What is your favourite Summerfolk memory?

For me it comes down to the people.

There are a group of regional artisans who over the years I have come to consider my peers. Many of these people I only see at Summerfolk, but even still there is a warmth of seeing ‘old friends’ every year.

This extends to the ‘customers’ as well. I do have some regulars who have in effect been ‘collecting’ my work over the years.

Personally, my many years beside Jim MacNamara has had a major impact on my direction of work and outlook to the ‘way of the artist’. Over the years, the line between our individual work has blurred, with echoes of the influence on each other (or at least Jim’s on me) showing. Not to mention general inspired craziness. At its height, the two us where actually showing up early Thursday morning and hauling in several tons of rock to create the large garden style displays which themselves became one of the many Summerfolk traditions.

What should people know about your art?

I am distinctive in the depth of historical research that goes behind the work people see displayed at Summerfolk. Since 2001, I have been involved in a series of experimental archaeology projects, recovering lost methods of actually smelting metallic iron from raw ores, based on Northern European ancient technologies. This makes Wareham the centre for this research, most certainly unique in Canada, and perhaps the primary site in all of North America.

The bloomery iron produced by these ancient methods is a distinctive material, with properties different than modern industrial steels. My effort to create objects revealing the forms and textures of bloomery iron will continue with new work presented at Summerfolk this year.

wareham forge

Visit the Wareham Forge online at http://www.warehamforge.ca/ and in person at Summerfolk40

Building on Musical Mentors

By James Keelaghan

In April this year, I lost a good friend. Ron Casat had been one of my earliest mentors. He taught me pretty well everything I know about music. He taught me how to be band leader and about the fundamentals of song writing and performance. He taught me the importance of musical community.

His memorial was held in Calgary on a bright May afternoon. Five or six hundred people attended to remember him and to play music. There were reggae bands, folkies, country singers, There were hundreds of people that he had played with over the years-hundreds who couldn’t make it. There were no “kinds” of music for Ron, there was just music. Ron built community and connected us all because he knew that was the only way for musicians to survive.

Most musicians have a “Ron” in their lives. I talked to Samantha Martin a couple of days ago and I wanted to know who were the influences on her musically. I wanted to know if there was something special about the Grey Bruce in her musical development. Sam was born in Edmonton, but her dad’s family have been on the peninsula for 4 or 5 generations. At various stages in her life, she found herself living by the shores of Georgian Bay. She says there is a special community vibe here, a feeling that’s hard to find in other places.

Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar

Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar

Her voice is always true. True enough that she could belt out show tunes when she was in elementary school. Like most great musicians she plowed through a lot of different styles before finding the music that speaks to their heart.

Eventually she spent a lot of time hanging out at the intersection of gospel, blues, rockabilly and soul music.

2015 may be her biggest year yet. She was featured in the prestigious Women Blues Revue concert at Massey hall in Toronto last November. She’s in demand at festivals in Canada and Europe. The critics have been universal in praising her power and originality.

Who was her Ron? Without hesitation, Samantha answered that it was Trevor and Tara MacKenzie.

When Martin came back to town in 2004 after time away at college, it was Trevor and Tara that helped her focus on what she wanted and how to get it. They encouraged her to write and helped her join what was in her head with what was in her heart.  She recorded her first EP at Trevor’s studio. She’s hardly looked back, except in gratitude.

Musicians are like sharks. In order to live you have to keep moving. You have to try to carry your music to its farthest geographical limit. But in doing that, it’s easy to lose home and community.

When Tara MacKenzie came back to the Grey Bruce after being away for the better part of her 20’s, it was only for a family visit. She had been playing and studying in Amsterdam, Budapest and throughout Europe.

On that trip back, she met Trevor MacKenzie. In Trevor, she found someone who shared her passion for building musical community. She did what is hard for a lot of touring musicians to do. She put down roots.

You can see Trevor and Tara’s contribution to the musical community everywhere you look. It’s  can be seen in The Choir that Rocks, the constant recording sessions at Trev’s studio, their participation in the Youth Discoveries program. They’ve provided hands on education and vocal training and many more initiatives.

In the past 3 or 4 years, though, the road has been calling again. The MacKenzie Blues Band has been wandering farther from home. They have a full slate of festivals this summer. If you don’t know them from here in town, you haven’t been paying attention. As blues outfits go, there are few as tight or as powerful as MBB. Trevor is a truly awesome electric guitar player. At Summerfolk three years ago, no less than Oscar Lopez, threatened to steal him away. Trev declined. With a rhythm section anchored by Mike weir on Drums and Joel Dawson on bass, the Mackenzie Blues Band make a mighty sound.

 

The MacKenzie Blues Band

The MacKenzie Blues Band

The beating heart of the band is undoubtebly Tara MacKenzie. She gives the band a run for its money in the power department with a voice that will literally blow your hair back. As a vocalist she does more than blues, though. If you haven’t heard her sing Irish Traditional music you haven’t lived.

No matter how much they tour, though, there is no way that they will abandon the scene they have helped to build.

Summerfolk survives because of the community that has been built over 40 years, by the work that is done every year by over 700 volunteers, by the kind contribution of sponsors. It also thrives because there is a vibrant musical scene in the Grey Bruce that gets better with every passing year.

Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar, The MacKenzie Blues band and over 40 other acts will be building a community by the shores of Georgian Bay at the Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival this year. Summerfolk gets underway with a 40th Birthday bash on Thursday, August 20 and continues for three days of music, art and food August 21-23 at Kelso Beach Park. Information can be found at summerfolk.org or by calling 519-371-2995

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trout Fishing in America

Trout Fishing in America

By James Keelaghan
Nineteen eighty-eight was the first year I played Summerfolk with my own band. The festival, as usual, supplied rooms to out of town performers. Our rooms were on the ground floor of the hotel. My mandolin player, Kathy Cook, shared a hotel room with a young up and coming songwriter named Shaun Colvin. I shared a room with my curmudgeonly bass player, Bill Eaglesham.

On the Friday night, at the hotel, the party spilled out of the function room and into the hallway. People would emerge from rooms with mandolins, guitars or banjos and disappear into one of the many jam sessions going on. At the far end of the hall, a door opened and a man stepped into the hall. You couldn’t miss him. He was 6’8 with broad shoulders. He seemed to fill the hallway. Behind him, a more diminutive man was negotiating the passage with an upright bass. That was my first glimpse of Keith Grimwood and Ezra Idlet, better known as Trout Fishing in America.

I got to see them in action that night and they were the life of the party. Over the course of the weekend, I caught them as many times as I could. I came to realize they are that most essential of festival elements-the spark plug. They are musical instigators. They are also so proficient, and so sensitive, that they can play with anyone. Ezra and Keith manage to put other performers at ease and get them playing with one another.

Their personalities are as different as their heights. Ezra is more playful and extroverted while Keith is more serious and reserved. The difference is what makes them so strong. They bring out the best in one another.

Keith began playing music professionally when he was still in his teens. He was part of the Texas All-State Orchestra for years and later earned a degree in music from the University of Houston. At 22, he landed a position with the Houston Symphony Orchestra. Keith put himself through college with the inevitable basketball scholarship and by playing pop music in local clubs.

Idlet and Grimwood met  in 1976 when they became members of the eclectic folk/rock band, St. Elmo’s Fire. When St. Elmo’s dissolved in 1979, Trout Fishing in America was born (named for Keith’s love of Richard Brautigan’s writing and Ezra’s love of fishing).

I have rarely met two musicians more accomplished than Keith and Ezra. There are many reasons that they have been doing this for almost 40 years-solid rhythms, blazing riffs and great writers who also know how to cover other people’s material. Add to that four grammy nominations and an upright bass full of other awards and you get the idea. It’s only fitting that they join us for our 40th on the eve of their 40th. They are also one of the most requested acts from Summerfolk fans.

It’s rare to have a band that has seen you through a couple of decades of your life. The other day I pulled up a list of performers from that year. Of the 13 duos or bands at the 1988 festival, there are two still in existence. Trout Fishing in America is one of them.

One of the great things about Trout Fishing, from an artistic director’s perspective, is you get two bands in one. There is no denying their appeal to the adults, but Keith and Ezra discovered early on that they also were kid magnets. There are very few artists that can pull that off. Usually one or the other suffers. That’s why they will not only headline our mainstage, but will also be the highlight of our Family programme.

Summerfolk has always been a family affair. In fact, some families are represented by three generations at Summerfolk. We’ve expanded the family programme and made it easier on the family pocket book this year by making admission free for children 12 and under accompanied by a ticketed adult.

This year our children’s area will feature, the massive craft tent, Todd’s musical petting zoo, a Sunday afternoon children’s parade, and a return of Elephant Thoughts with reptile displays, Science gizmos and gadgets, a bubble station and more.

Our children’s parade was one of the highlights for the festival in 2014 and it’ll be even better this year. Stilt walkers, costumes, a 30 foot articulated dragon decorated by the kids and a parade route that takes them through the park and to the opening of the evening concert.

This year, we will also be having a children’s open stage session in the gazebo tent. It’s a chance for the youngsters to strut their stuff.

Trout Fishing will be doing workshops all weekend at the 40th Annual Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival and will headline the amphitheatre stage on Saturday Aug. 22. Their featured kid’s show will be that same Saturday afternoon. Summerfolk happens at Kelso Beach Park Aug 20-23. All the information you need, and links to tickets can be found at summerfolk.org or by phoning 519-371-2995.

Deep Roots at Summerfolk

By James Keelaghan
The other day, I was doing research into Canadian folk festivals. Every now and again, I like to go old school on the fact finding. I went to my Canadian Encyclopedia. In the entry for folk festivals, 6 festivals are mentioned-Winnipeg, Vancouver, Edmonton, Mariposa, Miramichi and…Summerfolk in Owen Sound. We’re even a little more prominent in the online version.

 

When the first Summerfolk debuted in 1976, I was 15 years old. I had never been to a folk festival. There wasn’t one in Calgary. We had a folk scene that was just beginning to take hold. There were house concerts at Lynn and Barry Luft’s place as well as Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy recording a television series at the local TV station, CFAC. There were plenty of clubs with acoustic music, but I was too young to frequent them because they served the demon alcohol.

 

Over here in Owen Sound, two brothers, Tim and John Harrison decided it was time for a festival. Out of thin air, with the help of friends and volunteers, they launched Summerfolk. It would take Calgary and Edmonton another 6 years to start festivals of their own.

 

I came to Summerfolk for the first time when I was 25. That was just shy of the 10th anniversary. I was the guitar player for a Scottish folk singer named Margaret Christl. It was the first time I had gigged east of Regina.

 

At the time, the festival at the time housed performers in a downtown hotel on 2nd Ave E. I have quizzed people about this, but there doesn’t seem to be agreement on what the hotel actually was. I distinctly remember there being a sign on the front that said St James, because a friend and I kept referring to the place as the St James Infirmary. There was a respectable motel attached to the back, but the hotel itself seemed like it might have been used as a squat. All the rooms were funkily decorated. There was an elevator that required an operator and a swimming pool that had been drained. I played a late night game of imaginary water polo in that pool with Odetta, Ron Casat and several others.

 

The hotel sessions at Summerfolk have always been legendary. I availed myself. I jammed hard on the Friday night with a group of people up in my 2nd floor room.

 

The next morning, when I arrived on site a woman, who I now know was Sandy Hogg pulled me aside and told me “her crew” had been singing my praises. She wanted to know who I was, precisely and she wanted to hear me sing.

 

I played the festival another eight times. I came to love it because it marked, in the sweetest way, the end of the summer touring. If you were lucky you started at Bumbershoot or Seattle Folklife in May, and ended up in August, right here beside Georgian Bay. I’ve always loved the fact that Summerfolk made it easy for musicians to play together. Since I took over as Artistic Director, I’ve made it my priority to keep that feel. There is, after all, a four-decade long tradition to uphold.

 

Since Summerfolk is turning 40, we are going to celebrate with a Birthday Bash!

 

The first Summerfolk opened on August 20, so the decision was made to crank up the site for Thursday August 20th this year. We are going to celebrate in style! There is a new tent for the Down By the Bay Stage. We’re going to raise the roof with 3 hours of outstanding music from Ottawa’s MonkeyJunk and New Brunswick’s Matt Andersen.

 

Matt Andersen

Matt Andersen

When Matt played the festival 4 years ago, he sold the most recordings of any solo artist in our history. Matt is real. He sings with his entire being. Since then, he has recorded a fantastic new album produced by Steve Berlin ( Los Lobos, Tragically Hip). He’s been keeping up a gruelling tour schedule, but wanted to be with us to celebrate our birthday!

 

He has over 2 million views on YouTube, platinum-sized independent cd sales, a 2013 European Blues Award, and won Best Solo Performer at the Memphis Blues Challenge. The entire world is now discovering what we at Summerfolk always knew-Matt Andersen is a powerhouse performer with a giant soul-filled voice and commanding stage presence. He has built a formidable following the old fashioned way–touring worldwide letting his reputation spread through word of mouth.

 

Also on the bill is MonkeyJunk. They are a powerhouse swamp rock R&B band with a fistful of awards and nominations. I’ve been trying to get these guys to the festival for a few years. It’s extra special that they will be making it for our 40th birthday.

 

MonkeyJunk

MonkeyJunk

You can buy your ticket to the Thursday Birthday Bash as a single night ticket or add it to your weekend pass. All the information you need is at summerfolk.org  or on our facebook page facebook.com/Summerfolk

 

The Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival happens at Kelso beach in Owen Sound August 20, 21, 22 and 23, 2015.

*This article first appeared in the Owen Sound Sun Times on June 5th, 2015

Claire Lynch Has The Voice

By James Keelaghan
Every now and again I play a little game with myself. I imagine which musician I would like to be. Sometimes I’d like to be Phil Ochs, sometimes Captain Beefheart. Lately, I’ve wanted to be Claire Lynch.

ClaireLynch

Claire Lynch and band

 

Claire possesses that high reedy voice that is the hallmark of Anglo-American roots music. It’s reminiscent of Alison Krauss or Hazel Dickens. She can whip you into a frenzy with a holler or seduce you with a lullaby. When Dolly Parton says you are one of her favourite vocalists you must be doing something right. The International Bluegrass Association agrees. Claire Lynch is a three time winner of their Female Vocalist of the Year award.

 

There are singers and there are songwriters. Sometimes you have singers who sing their own songs but they really aren’t writers. Sometimes you have songwriters who sing their own songs, but they aren’t really singers. It’s very rare that you find someone who can really do both.

 

Claire Lynch is that person. Her songs have been recorded by Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea and others. At the IBMA’s last year she also won the Best Song award for “Dear Sister”. The song is based on letters written between a brother and sister on the eve of the Civil War battle of Stone River. It fuses the world of the traditional and the original.

 

Her band is an astounding group in and of themselves. Mandolinist-guitarist Jarrod Walker is a soulful singer and skilled player. Bryan McDowell is a young string wizard who, at 18, had an unprecedented hat-trick at the Winfield, Kansas National Flat-picking Championship winning first place in fiddle, mandolin, and flat-picked guitar. Mark Schatz is a two-time IBMA-winning bassist-clawhammer banjo player-dancer-percussionist. He makes the coffee as well.

 

Mark Schatz also has a close connection to a member of the Winnipeg band, The Duhks. Some of you may remember Leonard Podolak being here 4 years ago with Dry Bones. One of the highlights of their sets was the hambone solos. Leonard learned to hambone and clog from Mark. Schatz also produced one of the Duhks recordings.

TheDuhks

The Duhks

 

I met Leonard Podolak when he was 10 years old. My band and I arrived in Winnipeg by train early on a cold October morning and cabbed it over to Mitch Podolak’s house. Mitch was the concert promoter for the show we were playing in town that night. He is also the legendary creator of the Winnipeg, Vancouver and Edmonton Folk Festivals.

 

I knocked on the door. There was the scurry of feet. The door swung open and a cloud of smoke billowed out. Leonard’s ten year old face screamed, ”I’m makin’ pancakes”!!

 

His level of enthusiasm has never dimmed.

 

He grew up in a house that was the centre of folk music in Winnipeg. The Podolak place housed anybody who was anybody in folk music. Stan Rogers, Utah Phillips, Odetta, Tom Paxton, Spirit of the West, you name them, they slept in the spare room. Leonard soaked it all up getting lessons and advice from them all. Banjo became his area of expertise, but he also learned how to build and run a band.

 

The Duhks, Grammy nominees and Juno award winners, play a high energy version of Old Time music. They get their instrumental power from the guitar, banjo and violin. The Duhks added a signature percussionist to give it more drive and then topped it all off with an incredible lead vocalist, Jessee Havey.

 

Jessee joined the band as a teenager. She received her musical education on the road. Because of the immense touring range of the band—they regularly play in the US, Europe and Australia—Jessee was able to learn from cajun musicians, traditional British singers and jazz greats.

 

The band has always described itself as polyethnic. It has certainly taken that approach with its material, but the band is diverse as well. Fiddler Anna Lindblad is from Sweden and brings a nordic style to the strings. Less raw, more melodic, but still capable of unstoppable groove. Guitarist/bouzouki player Colin Savoie-Levac is from Quebec where he’s in great demand. He splits his time between the Duhks and filling in when needed for Éric Beaudry in star trad trio De Temps Antan. He also guides his own group, Les Poules à Colin. Drummer/percussionist Kevin Garcia is from Detroit originally but now make Brooklyn his home where he plays with, well, everybody.

 

The Duhks has been a labour of love for over 14 years. Doc Watson, no less, said, “Oh God, it is so beautiful, some of the finest music I’ve heard in many a day.”

 

The band has evolved over the years, losing and adding members as bands do. What has never changed is the absolute dedication to producing music that is true, focused and as enthusiastic as a 10 year old making pancakes for the guests.

 

Claire Lynch and the Duhks are just two of the over 40 acts that will be playing the Summerfolk Music and Crafts festival this year. The festival happens August 20, 21, 22, 23 at Kelso beach in Owen Sound, just like it has for 40 years. You can find information about the festival at www.summerfolk.org

 

*This article first appeared in the Owen Sound Sun Times on June 19th, 2015

Thanks to Karen Kuczeryk-Uyede for the photo

In the Spirit of Camping

If we were going to explain the spirit of Summerfolk in one sentence it would look something like this: “People gathering outside to share music and art”.  Visitors find folks doing just that at every one of the seven stages on the festival site, along the paths in the artisan village, and in the campgrounds beside the festival. You find it again just to the north when volunteers transform a soccer field into a friendly village of tents and trailers where flashlights and torches cast shadows on old and new friends telling stories and sharing songs.  Across the road at the municipal Kelso Beach Campground, festival goers arrange tarps, tents, and trailers into homes away from home complete with sing-a-longs and decades’ worth of Summerfolk stories.

The spirit of Summerfolk follows the people, moving east to the festival grounds in the day and back to the Kelso Beach Campground when the stages shut down. Musicians and music lovers flock like moths, drawn by the light of bonfires and familiar choruses. Generations of festival goers teach each other songs, pass drinks in thanks, and share stories about their favourite performances from the day.  Strangers have been known to pass instruments freely, trade solo’s spontaneously, and send multi-part harmonies drifting up with the smoke towards the stars. There are few places in the world where people who don’t yet know one another’s names can jam and laugh so freely. Sometimes festival performers even drift over with guitars, double basses, and noisemakers from around the world. After all, they’re musicians because they love the music. It’s all part of the spirit that has brought people back to Summerfolk for four decades.

We’re expecting a big crowd for Summerfolk 40 and the City of Owen Sound made 40 additional campsites available at Kelso Beach so that even more campers can share the spirit. If you don’t manage to secure a spot at Kelso Beach, don’t worry. There are other campgrounds in the area. The Harrison Park Campground is only four kilometres to the south (that’s a 7 minute drive or  – if you’re not in a rush and prefer to cycle – a 14 minute ride on your bike. Private camping is also available in the surrounding area at Whispering Pines and the local KOA campground (both good options for motor-homes and trailers).

Thanks to Karen Kuczeryk-Uyede for the photo

Photo Credit: Karen Kuczeryk-Uyede

 

 

General Information 2015

GATES OPEN:

Thursday ~ 7pm – music from 8 – 11pm

Friday ~ 4:30 pm – music from 6pm – 1 am

Saturday ~ 10:30 am – music from 11:00am – 1:00 am

Sunday ~ 10:00 am – music from 10:30 am – 11:00 pm

 

TICKETS:   Tickets are non-refundable. The festival goes on rain or shine.  Tickets can be purchased in advance through Ticketpro by calling 1-888-655-9090 or online at www.summerfolk.org or by contacting the GBFS office in person or by calling 519-371-2995.  The on-site ticket booth will open starting at 7:00 pm on the Thursday and at 4:30pm on the Friday of the festival.

Tickets for evening concerts Friday, Saturday, and Sunday go on sale at 8:00 pm on the evening of the concert; only if there is space available.  There are no advance sales on evening concert tickets. 

WHAT TO BRING:  Suitable clothing for a range of temperatures.  Temperatures range from hot August days to cool and cold nights.  Definitely bring rain gear, as umbrellas are not permitted in the Amphitheatre because they block the view of other patrons.  You may bring your own food; there are picnic tables throughout the park. There is an extensive food court with over a dozen food vendors offering a variety of food options vegetarian.

ENTERING THE SITE:  Volunteers from the Security and Front Gate crews are present to ensure an easy and safe entrance for everyone.  Line ups form early.  The gate line up will be 2 people wide.  For those who wish to go directly to the Amphitheatre when the gate opens to set up seating for the evening concerts, groups of 30 patrons at a time will be escorted to the entrance of the theatre.  There will be no running.  Runners will be escorted to the end of the line.  Patrons are asked to remain at their selected seat in the Amphitheatre until the opening line has cleared.

AMPHITHEATRE SEATING POLICY:  One person can save seating space for a maximum of 4 people in the Amphitheatre.  Lawn chairs are permitted but must be single seat, standard size only.  No gravity chairs, high backs, combination cooler/chairs, chairs with extending foot rests, leg rests or canopies allowed. Tarps 5’ x 7’ may be used to save up to 4 spaces, however, in the tiered section they must be confined to one level.  Aisles in the Amphitheatre must be kept clear of chairs; coolers and bags must be stored under chairs.

SPECIAL NEEDS:  There is a designated wheelchair and special needs seating area at the north-east side of the Amphitheatre stage right.  There are 10 ‘Handicapped’ parking spaces beside the main front gate entrance.  You must have a government issued permit displayed on the vehicle in order to use these spaces.  Individuals who do not have a parking permit may drop off their passengers at the main gate and then find a parking spot.  There are paved pathways in the park, as well as gravel and grass paths.  The paved pathways reach to the Food Court, Artisans Village, the licensed area and Amphitheatre stage.  There is a grass pathway from the licensed stage area to the General Store and First Nations Village.  Stages are not signed but we offer several Braille programs.  There are wheelchair accessible Port-a-potties located throughout the park.

ALCOHOL AND DRUGS: Festival goers are prohibited from bringing alcohol or drugs onto the festival site.  Festival Security has the right to search containers and confiscate any prohibited materials.  There are licensed areas on site.

PETS: Not allowed on the site with the exception of service animals which must be properly harnessed.

BICYCLES: We provide a secure bicycle corral however bikes are not permitted onto the festival site.  Bile racks are provided at all gates.

SMOKING: There is no smoking in the Amphitheatre during concerts, in the Children’s Area and in the Cafe of the Senses.  The entire licensed (Down By the Bay tent and Backstage Bar) areas are smoke free as well.

LOST KIDS/PARENTS: Children may be registered free of charge at the First Aid Trailer.  Children and adults will have a corresponding number written on their wristbands.  If there was no admission charge for a child, a wristband will be given at the time.  If a child is lost, Security crews are notified and a volunteer will stay with the child and take them to the First Aid/Lost Kids area.  The identification number only will be broadcast from the stages to inform the adults.  If the child has not been registered, the proper identification will be required to the satisfaction of volunteer security or a police officer before the child is released to any adult.  We do not offer babysitting services and children are not permitted to be left alone while participating in Children’s village activities.

CAMPING: There is no camping on site (except for volunteers).  There is a City run campground across the street from the site at the Kelso Beach Campground.  This site is not recommended for families.

         The Harrison Park campground opens for reservations on May 1st and the Kelso Beach Campground opens May 11th.

*****Mark that day on your calendar!!****

Campers are not permitted to bring their own firewood into the campground in an attempt to prevent the spread of invasive insects.  The 2015 rate for camping at Kelso Beach is $30.00/night. Camping is also available at Harrison Park or the KOA Campground and Whispering Pines campgrounds further from the Summerfolk site.
The campgrounds take reservations.

                   Kelso Park and Harrison Park: 519-371-9734       email: www.tourism.owensound.ca

                   KOA Campground: 519-371-1331

Whispering Pines: 519-371-9833

 

ACCOMODATIONS: There are no accommodations within easy walking distance.  All accommodations fill up very early for Summerfolk weekend and it is recommended that people reserve their accommodations first – it can always be cancelled later.  There are an array of hotel/motel/bed and breakfast available throughout the City and surrounding area ranging from inexpensive to luxury.

Contact the Owen sound tourism office for details.

Owen Sound Tourism office: 1-888-675-5555 / 519-371-9833 or          www.vacation@e-owensound.com

Grey Bruce escapes  website; under accommodations

 

PARKING: The curb lanes of the main road servicing the park are designated for parking free of charge.

There is also free parking on the residential streets surrounding the park.

                    Please respect the residents and neighbourhood.                

Alysha Brilla Warmed a Windy April Night

Alysha at MicAlysha Brilla brought a taste of the Summerfolk spirit to the Roxy stage on a blustery April night. The Georgian Bay Folk Society partnered with the Roxy Theatre to bring Alysha and her band back to Owen Sound 7 months after they rocked the stages of Summerfolk 39. With a full band behind her and an enthusiastic audience in front, Alysha raised the temperature in the theatre with heartfelt love songs, powerful political messages, and irresistible grooves.

When Alysha plays she invites the audience to participate, literally. Before the concert a four year old fan had the chance to meet Alysha and – to her surprise – recited an entire verse from one of her songs. Halfway through the first set, Alysha invited her youngest fan up on to the stage to perform that part of the song with her. Hearts melted. By the end of the second set all barriers were down, audience members were dancing in the aisles, and Alysha pulled over a dozen people up on to the stage for one final dance party. Even band members took turns setting aside their instruments to move their bodies alongside the elevated audience. One of the great truths of music is that busting a move can bring people together.

Alysha and the band gave three collective bows before leaving the stage but the crowd didn’t let them get away easily. On their feet in the seats, the audience’s standing ovation morphed into a steady chant of “Brilla, Brilla, Brilla” while the band huddled in the wings deciding on the encore.

When the house lights came up for the final time and the last ringing notes were fading in the theatre, fans gathered around the merchandise table to meet Alysha, collect autographs from the band, and buy Juno-nominated albums  to take home. Summerfolk may be four months away but watching the audience make their way to the street at the end of the night  you wouldn’t have known it. They left with the smiles and certain bouncy step that best characterize Kelso Beach on the third weekend in August.
Alysha and horn section
Alysha and crowd dancing onstage
Special thanks to John Fearnall and  Good Noise Photography for the images.

Fiddlefern celebrates the Country Dance and Song Society’s Centenary,April 28-May 3rd

Dance has always been a part of what Summerfolk and the GBFS do. We’re getting behind the Fiddlefern Country dancers as they help celebrate the centenary of the Country Dance and Song Society.

Owen Sound is one of only two Canadian stops on the CDSS Centennial Tour!

Join Fiddlefern for a celebration of the CDSS Centennial Celebration April 28 – May 3, 2015
Country Dance and Song Society Logo

Fiddlefern Country Dancers is one of seven groups across North America awarded a community residency as part of the CDSS Centennial Tour. CDSS is a national leader in promoting participatory dance, music and song with roots in English and North American culture. We are excited to have the CDSS Centennial Tour come to our community to ensure dance, music and song will be strengthened.

Come and take part in workshops for callers, musicians and dancers, as well as evening dances. CDSS Touring musicians include Sam Bartlett (Notorious, former member of Wild Asparagus and The Clayfoot Strutters), Ben Smith (The Mean Lids), and Eric Schedler (The Cosmic Otters, Cocks o’ the North), and caller, Louie Cromartie.

Sam, Eric and Ben are exceptional musicians and performers, patient and skilled teachers, and tradition-bearers, with an ability and willingness to respond to new ideas with creativity, enthusiasm and respect. Louie brings decades of experience to the caller’s role, with a dance repertoire to meet any crowd, and the teaching skill to bring everyone on the dance floor together in a supportive and successful experience. All these individuals are skilled teachers and performers, and possess a natural ability to nurture and support. As they collaborate with local musicians, magic will happen!

Owen Sound is on beautiful Georgian Bay nestled into the Niagara Escarpment with hiking trails, cycling, art galleries, many artisan studios, and warm, welcoming people.  See our Links Page for links to local attractions and places to stay.

Plan your visit now! For more information, call Frank or Sally at 519-372-9151.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7N1mNlL-Sn0

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Youth Discoveries Finals- 1 PM at the Harmony centre

 

It’s time for the finals of the Youth Discoveries showcases. Starting at 1 pm on Sunday the  29th , 11 acts will appear before 3 judges and we will find out whose road will  lead to the Youth Discoveries stage at Summerfolk.

 

The order of appearance:

The order of performance as selected by random draw is as follows:

  1. Max Gauthier
  2. Sydney Riley
  3. Kyle Fraser
  4. Grace Watson
  5. Braden Phelan
  6. Limberlost

INTERMISSION

  1. Meline Hanke
  2. Chicks with Picks
  3. Sarah Menary
  4. Darrin Baldwin
  5. Paige Warner

Good luck to all. Stay tuned for results!

The Birthday Bash – Because 40 Years is a Big Deal

matt_anderson_photo1webSUMMERFOLK is turning forty. The Georgian Bay Folk Society is throwing a party to celebrate and you are invited. The festival you know and love will start one day earlier in 2015 in honour of our 40th anniversary. This year, we’ll kick off with a Birthday Bash featuring Matt Andersen on Thursday, August 20th. We’ll break in our new Down by the Bay tent with a night of blues and brews with the gates opening at 7pm. But, we can’t do it by ourselves so we need help.

Matt Andersen is a JUNO-nominated blues powerhouse from New Brunswick, known for his soulful vocals and stellar guitar riffs. The last time Matt was at Summerfolk  he sold more CDs than any other act. Folks were eager to take his music home and the GBFS was eager to have him back. With over 2 million views on YouTube, independent sales over 30,000 albums, a 2013 European Blues Award, and winning Best Solo Performer at the Memphis Blues Challenge, it appears that the entire world is now discovering Matt Andersen. A powerhouse performer with a giant soul-filled voice and commanding stage presence, Matt has built a formidable following the old fashioned way – touring worldwide and letting the converted audiences and Andersen devotees spread his reputation through word of mouth.
Also on the bill, Ottawa blues juggernaut MonkeyJunk.They pile a mix of musical influences on to a solid bedrock of blues to put on a show that gets audiences moving. Since 2010, MonkeyJunk has brought home awards on both sides of the border including the 2010 Blues Music Award for Best New Artist, the 2012 Juno for Blues Album of the Year, and a 2014 Canadian Independent Music Award for Blues Artist/Group of the Year. 
You can turn your 3-day weekend pass into a 4-day musical adventure for just $35. If the Birthday Bash is all you want, tickets are $40 in advance and $45 at the door. We’ve got 40 years worth of memories and music to celebrate and we’ll need all the help we can get. Hope to see you there.

MonkeyJunk

MonkeyJunk

Fiddlefern Country Dancers Workshops & Contra Dance

Fiddlefern bannerCalling all traditional music and dance lovers!

The Georgian Bay Folk Society is proud to sponsor the Fiddlefern Country Dancers as they present their monthly workshop and Contra Dance this Saturday, March 7th at the Harmony Centre in Owen Sound.

The workshops run from 1-5pm and Scatter the Cats will share strategies for pairing tunes, mixing up the rhythm and groove, and keeping the dance simple but interesting. Caller Kate McLaren will highlight the role of the dance caller with a focus on simple, effective dances.

You can join Scatter the Cats and Kate after the workshops for a Contra Dance at 8pm.

Visit www.fiddlefern.ca for more information.

Now with even more Thursday

summerfolk2015_logo_slide-5

Lordy Lordy Look Who’s Forty

That would be Summerfolk.

Forty years is a significant milestone whether you are a festival, a human or even a sea turtle.

That’s why, this year, we’ll be celebrating our 40th with a birthday bash on Thursday, August 20th at Kelso Beach.

We’ve got a beautiful new clearspan tent for the Down By the Bay stage, big enough have 1000 of you under cover, and with no interior poles the new tent means there is not a bad seat in the house.

We’re finalizing the details on the performers for the Thursday so watch this blog and our Facebook page for updates…

On the site during the daytime we will also have more of you covered. Looking back in the archive we noticed some pictures of a tent covering the audience at the Gazebo. How wise were the old ones! We’ll be doing the same this year.

A Clear span tent for the Over the Hill Dance area means that we will have a dance floor free of obstruction. No poles, just clear sailing.

Summerfolk 40. Great music, Great people always

All of these new features are made possible by a grant we received from the Ontario Music Fund.

Tickets for the thursday night are separate from the 3-weekend pass. Ticket info here.

OMDCPNG

Youth Folk School

Folk School 2015

First Session of the 2015 term- Sunday February 15

Hosted by Tara MacKenzie

IMG_0015Our first session will be at the Harmony Centre on Sunday February 15th at 2:00-4:00pm we can accommodate up to 12 youth for the first session.
The topic will be “The language of Rhythm” and will include hand drumming and introduction to some world instruments that compliment drumming. We will have a quick study of rhythm language and a discussion about “what is groove”? Any youth member may attend.

For our after session round robin portion, students should feel free to bring their uke, guitar, song, drum beat, poem, whatever they want to share in a song circle. Others can jam along or choose to sit out. Each person may share, or say “pass”

For info or to reserve a place email gbfs@bmts.com

 

 

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