I don’t know where or when exactly I developed a soft spot for the fiddle or the banjo, but wherever the origin, the inclination remains strong. The Edmonton Folk Fest this year featured plenty of both, and I couldn’t be more pleased about it. Hearing Jerry Douglas play the dobro with Earls of Leicester was terrific, and that was just one of many, many sessions that I caught this last weekend. Most of them are fairly varied — there’s bluegrass, the blues, indie rock, and quite a few others. Getting a change in pace usually just involves moving to another stage or waiting until the end of the set.
I have found over the years that the experience greatly improved by a certain amount of gear packed before setting out. Sunscreen, a good hat (Tilley), low rise chair, a quality water bottle, sturdy shoes, and surprisingly, a couple of carabiners are all essential. I simply hike to the folk fest, and around it, so a couple of heavy duty carabiners allow me to easily clip everything together for easy transport.
Of course, one of the best parts of Folk Fest, as is the case for most things, are the people that I meet there. For years, a friend of mine has helped me secure tickets for the weekend (not always so easy for this festival) and offered me a place on his tarp, which is a terrific vantage point. I will remain forever grateful. I have so many good memories, and it’s largely because he encouraged me to give it a shot in the first place. Hopefully there are many festivals to come for us both.