Not all the highlights at the Calgary Folk Music Festival are of the musical variety. When you get 12,000 people/day on a tiny island in the river, you get some great humanity sightings as well. Horse head guy, leiderhosen fellow, green man, bee hive lady, nose bleed dude, smiley hippie dancer, and the featured misplaced Saskatchewan Rough Rider watermelon helmet guy are just a small sampling.
Although I had absolutely no complaints about the hospitality food, that I didn't even realize until partway through day two that my guest pass gave me privileges for, the food truck offerings had their ups and downs. The weather, with its occasional severe thunderstorm warnings, was a bit challenging at times. But the music and musicians, of course, took precedence.
Here are some of my own personal picks for memorable moments from this year's festival:
Musician who totally delivered, despite the unreasonably high expectations I held them to:
* Frazey Ford
Highest-spirited party band who absolutely delivered the partaayy:
* The Strumbellas
Hairiest country band with the best choreographed dance moves:
* The Dead South
Band I had never heard of who completely gobsmacked me:
* Lake Street Dive
Musician, from whom I had very little expectations, who wowed me:
* Rhiannon Giddens
Best blistering blues:
* Bombino and Cecile Doo-Kingue
Long-lived legends who have still got it:
* Buffy Sainte-Marie and Richard Thompson
Band that I want at every kitchen party I ever attend for the rest of my life (also recommendation that my sister was totally bang on about):
* The Jerry Cans
Guy I want hosting every kitchen party I ever attend:
Best breakfast workshop, complete with Phil & Sebastian coffee and Sidewalk Citizen oatmeal cookie:
* "Uncorrected Personality Traits" - Robyn Hitchcock, The Dead South, The Strumbellas, Jennifer Castle
Musician who makes my ears bleed, whose workshop I attended just to prove that I could:
* Colin Stetson
Most sublime folk fest moment:
* Slipping out of one workshop early to get to the 4:20 workshop we really wanted to see (which just happened to be at the only tented stage) and arriving just as the skies let loose with cold driving rain, and then being blown away by Socalled, The Leftover Cuties and the Jerry Cans, as they got the entire tent up on their feet and jump-dancing with sheer joy. And then, as the workshop wrapped up, the sun came out.
How do you beat all that? I guess we'll see next year.