What threatened to be a soggy start for the annual Calgary Folk Music Festival turned out to be a beautiful, if somewhat gusty evening that blew some amazing music towards the assembled tarps on day one.
With only two of the seven stages running for the opening night, the more mobile elements of the crowd bounced seamlessly back and forth across Prince’s Island Park, while the tarpies staked themselves in for a heapin’ helping of talent at the main stage.
Highlights included a serenade for the late-arriving tarps by the playfully fun Trampled by Turtles; the powerful presence behind the seemingly stoic but immensely soulful Valerie June; the frenetic energy behind the slow Motown sound of St. Paul and the Broken Bones; and finishing off the night with some creative soundplay from Andrew Bird, which morphed beautifully into a pure American folk melting-pot of music with the arrival of his touring band, the Hands of Glory.
Friday brings with it the much-anticipated sessions, where diverse musicians combine their skills for a one-time-only performance that defies all the gathered genres and puts the audience in the test tube of some musical experimentation; Thursday is softer, more pliant and welcoming. Hey, it says, come sit on the grass. Listen, relax, enjoy. There’s a whole lot to come, and Thursday’s artists were the perfect aperitif.