Friday, July 23, 2010

didn't even rain till we got home: day one Calgary Folk Fest 2010 volunteer monologues

After last night's post-festival torrential downpour, I'm not sure what mood I will find the hardcore gate-waiters in when I head to my shift at the Record Tent today. Yesterday as I headed into my 10:00 am shift, I asked the first people in line, as is my custom, what time they had started lining up for the 4:30 gate opening. 7pm the previous night, they had told me. But they didn't have the downpour and the cold whipping winds to deal with. Maybe I should hand out hot chocolate to the hardy souls today.

I love working setup for the Folk Festival. When you are unpacking and pricing CDs in the Record Tent, not only does it provide a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with the albums and the artists, it gives you a chance to take in the hum of the pre-festival atmosphere. The entire island virtually hums with excitement, as stages get readied and artists begin to arrive and the food vendors fire up the ovens and start tormenting us with the heady aromas of butter chicken and lamb kabobs and kettle corn and garlic everything.

As I was filling my backpack before I left in the morning, I couldn't locate my collapsible toothbrush, so I brought the cat's. And I used it too. Fortunately the cat had never done so, so it's not quite as crazy cat lady as it sounds, but the kitten was gratified to know that she had done her bit at keeping the festival patrons safe from the ravages of lunchtime garlic.

I had a chance to head over to Media on my lunch break to put in an interview request, having had the go ahead from BC Musician Magazine to write an article about Dan Mangan. When he brought his own CDs into the Record Tent later that afternoon, I had the opportunity to mention it to him and he graciously replied that he would be pleased to chat with me, that he always confirms all media requests.

Take a note, new musicians, this is how you become a beloved and heralded artist - graciously accept all interview requests and offered gigs. Oh, it doesn't hurt to be extremely talented either.

The six hour shift flew by. I worked quite a lot with Micah, organzing and pricing the CDs. She is a fellow music nerd who was duly impressed with my Radiohead water bottle, as I was by her scoring tickets to the James show in Vancouver in October. We were quite pleased to discover that we also work together on Sunday. "I like working with you!" she told me, and I replied "I like working with you too; you're smart and you're organized and I like that in a person". "I'm also a bit of a control freak", she confessed, but I assured her that the Record Tent was exactly the right place for control freaks.

I met up with the Zombie clan at our usual spot and we were thrilled to do a little tarp sha
ring with Susan and Jeff during the main stage show of Library Voices (indie pop group from Regina, all dressed in white, anti-goth, Susan called them), Natacha Atlas (who also did a little belly dancing), the highly anticipated Stars (Amy Millan was sporting the most intriguing blue eye shadow and sparkly dress and a voice that was clear and sweet). Susan and Jeff then had to leave to catch Wolf Parade at the Republik (don't these rock stars ever coordinate their schedules), but they graciously left behind their blanket, which we put to good use, as it was starting to get mighty chilly.

The night ended with the Avett Brothers from North Carolina absolutely flooring the place
with their high energy-stomping harmonizing hair-swinging punk bluegrass country. We suspect that the Asian fellow on the cello was not a blood relation however. They were amazing and I am glad we put a full complement of Avett Brothers CDs into the satellite record tent by the mainstage, as I as pretty sure there was a rush for them after the show.

Today, I head back down to the island for an earlyish shift, leaving the family to drag all
our stuff to the hotel by themselves. We'll be holed up at the Sheraton for the weekend, as is our tradition, steps away from the music and the folks. And I, in an unprecidented move, am leaving the laptop at home, so you will have to wait till Monday for the rundown on the remainder of the weekend.

You can bet it will include CD purchases, artist encounters, falafels, and gelato though. You couldn't call it
a folk fest without them.


Anonymous said...

Dare I ask if there's folk music this year? Hey I just heard there's this stuff out there called new folk music. Geez Louise, I'm still digesting the old folk music. I heard the CBC play some hip-hop-folk too t'other day. That's positively newfangled for this old accordion-boy. I only recently found out that hip-hop wasn't some kind of slang for children's music, yo.


Man, Barb you're too sexy for your shirt!

The crowds were crazy down at Eau Claire today as they trudged, skipped, birkenstocked their way into folk fest; one big line up for hours! I was thinking of you (should have popped in and seen my workspace before I vacate the premises next Thursday)

Hope the entire Zombie Clan has a blast!

umbrellalady said...

Pretty cool t-shirt - like this one a lot!!

umbrellalady said...

Chris says hello and "Like the t-shirt - sure wouldn't mind having one myself. Hope you had fun at the festival."

Dale said...

Sounds like you're having a blast! This crazy life agrees with you.

Allison said...

You left your laptop at home? I don't believe it. ;) It's a bit liberating, isn't? Nice to have a technology break sometimes.

Love the shirt! Hope it wasn't too hot that you had to cut off the sleeves.

Pleased to hear that Stars and the A Brothers put on a good show. I'm looking forward to hearing about Dan and Timber Timbre next. :)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

There was loads of all kinds of music there this year, Mr Anchovy. Quite a lot of traditional folk, even.
I tend to blur the boundaries among genres a lot more. All music evolves, provided it isn't dead, and if it gets people moving and singing along and engaging with each other and the performers, that's folk to me.

The shirt and I were decidedly less sexy by the end of the weekend, UB, but we made up for it in earthiness.
We had a blast. We need to get together next week!

I hope you guys had a nice visit with Chris, Kathy. Tell her she can have the shirt if it survives the journey through the washing machine. I never wear them again.

This crazy life is starting to feel like normal, Dale. Is that crazy?

I have some news for you on the Dan Mangan and Timber Timbre fronts, Al, which I think you will enjoy.
I did find it weird to leave the laptop at home, but I had early morning shifts and was on the island till late at night, so I knew I wouldn't have time to write anyway. There was Wifi on the island this year, which was great, but I had enough to carry already. Shamefully, the Sheraton does not have Wifi, and they charge for $15.00/day for internet use, plus they block other Wifi signals. Nazis! That is certainly not the folk fest way.