Gathering of the Hippies - Day 4 (Weather) Report
Only in Calgary could you be suffering from sun stroke one day and hypothermia the next. Hell, it wasn't even one day to the next, actually. Sunday, the final day of the festival - Matt Good day! - started off brilliantly, promising to be less blazing hot than the day before.
I stopped in at the Emotional Weather Report workshop and was dumbfounded after hearing Great Lake Swimmers for the first time. I knew exactly what Dar Williams was talking about when she asked them, after they finished their first song, "Do you make your mother cry every time you open your mouth?" Tony Dekker has a heartbreakingly beautiful voice, and the songs were so lovely and full of yearning that I just had to rethink my plans to catch Elliott Brood's mini-concert in the Megatunes tent in favour of the Great Lake Swimmers concert which was frustratingly scheduled for the same time.
I still somewhat regret my choice, even though the concert was being recorded by CBC Radio and will be airing on The Circuit this Friday evening. Listen for Eva yelling "wooden stars". In concert, Great Lake Swimmers, although still lovely, were a little too repetitively mournful to carry off an entire set.
Jer and I ran into a colleague who invited us into the beer gardens to cool off. During our drink, the wind suddenly blew up, whirling sand about and then, just as suddenly, switched direction, which is never a good thing when you are talking about wind. And the temperature dropped 15 degrees in 2 minutes. We went back to our tarps to put on sweaters and discovered that a thirty foot tree branch had come down a few feet from us. There had been nobody underneath at the time, but the bike helmet that had been left on the tarp was shattered. We found out later that the winds gusts had been clocked at 87 km/hr.
Eva and I settled in for the Dark Horses workshop, featuring Elliott Brood (that's them in the pic - did I ever mention I love them?), Kris Demeanor and his Crack Band, Kathleen Edwards, and the D Rangers.
We howled at the sight of the little 5 or 6 year old girl in the audience just singing along at the top of her lungs to every word of Kris Demeanor's song Get Down, You Airborne Bastards.
Then, as the sky clouded over, we headed back to our tarp for the start of mainstage. I went on a run to Camper's Village to look for blankets or something warm as we were seriously starting to freeze. Found a couple of tarps which really came in handy after the weather really turned foul.
Eliseo Parra warmed us with his flamenco music, Rachelle Van Zanteen smoked the slide guitar for a short between-set, and then Dar Williams broke our hearts with her lovely voice so sweet and poignant. But then it started to rain. And get colder.
At that point Daby Toure wowed us with his jazz/African/worldbeat uptempo fusion. It was pissing pretty steadily by then, but he assured us "the sun will come out if you want it to". And people started to dance and sing along spontaneously with his call and answer rhythms.
But it kept raining. And when Matt Good took to the stage, the skies just opened up and the winds started blasting the rain against us. It was so cold that I could see my breath.
Matt started off with a new song, If I Was a Tidal Wave, full of classic Good political passion. I confess to not remembering all the songs, as there is no way in hell I could have written the setlist down, and my mind was half frozen by then, but he did play Strange Days (just for me, I'm sure!), It's Been A While Since I Was Your Man, Apparitions, and a lovely duet of Hurt (NIN) with Melissa McClelland, with Luke Doucet backing on guitar.
He apologized for the shit weather, explaining that it was his fault, as he had played in a thunderstorm the night previous. And he brought along his Ann Coulter doll! Matt explained that he had limited time so was unable to read us passages from her book (which he likes to do, along with some of Paris Hilton's literary offerings), but he did pull the Ann doll's string and treated us to her vitriolic right-wing diatribe. The hippies ate it up, as did we Matt Good devotees.
As Ani Defranco, the final act, took to the stage, the rain abated and it warmed up slightly. But it was too little, too late for the Zombie family. Jerry was half-dead from hypothermia and he left to go sit in the car. Eva and I braved a few more songs. We wanted to stay for the whole set, as we had never seen Ani perform before and people so obviously loved her, but in the end our broken bodies won the battle and we paddled off to our warm urban assault vehicle before the end of the show.
It was a great day, though, even though I was stupid not to have booked today off work to recover. Next year!
If you can handle one more post about the never-ending folk festival, I've got some of Eva's photos to post tomorrow (Teddy's got some great photos too), along with some highlights and oddities. And some music! So please come back; I promise I will be brief.