Since my parents are artisans who sell their tye die clothing and visual art (yes, they are hippies in denial) at festivals and craft shows, live music has been a part of my life since before I could walk, let alone dance (Some may argue that the latter is still a work in progress). Consistently over the years the Summerfolk festival has been one the most memorable and enjoyable experiences in the summer. This year was no exception as once again I saw old favorites and discovered new bands through incredible live sets. Here are my 6 favorite moments from Summerfolk’s 40th anniversary:
- Jojo Wortington was probably the act I was looking forward to most going into the weekend. Her mesmerizing one person live set is unlike anything I’ve seen or heard (especially at a folk festival). This up and coming artist aptly utilizes a loop pedal and other effects on her ukulele and keyboard to make it sound as if an entire futuristic band is behind her. I was pretty excited when she wandered into our tie dye booth and I got my parents to do a trade for her CD (which I was planning to buy anyway). After chatting a bit she seems just as interesting as her music, which once again impressed me throughout the weekend.
- Shred Kelly is one of those bands who seem to truly love performing and make a crowd truly love dancing. It helps too that their music is energetic enough to charge a light bulb. Their set at the Pub tent not only made me (and a mosh pit full of others) get up and dance but also immediately fall in love with their sound. It’s grounded in folk but reaches higher with striking banjo riffs, ambient synths, catchy melodies, and bold drums. I also have to note that they are super nice, since not only did singer and banjo player Tim Newton go out of his way to get me a setlist for my collection, but singer and synths master Sage McBride gave me and my twin a free CD for dancing (which rounded out my collection since I had already bought their latest)!
- Dehli 2 Dublin is one of those bands that upset the folk purists but can start a rave just about anywhere. With a DJ, Celtic violin, bhangra beats and a Middle Eastern music meets dance music vibe, their energy and charm are bound to get everyone and anyone up and moving! At the Pub tent a mosh pit of sweaty dancers rocked until 1:00am, begging for an encore even after they were told to leave. Dehli 2 Dublin even miraculously got the whole crowd dancing during their opening main stage performance (even the people comfy in their lawn chairs!)
- The Ever Lovin’ Jug Band is the most quirky and fun band I have ever seen. Performing 20’s style jug music, it is impossible not to love the old time charm they bring with their instruments (which range from guitar, banjo, and violin to tuba, kazoo, and jug, to name a few.) I use the word quirky to describe them because the band mates are just as amusing as their music. From organizing an entire softball tournament fit with a homemade trophy, jerseys and hats (at the Mariposa Folk Festival) to wearing red and blue 3D glasses on stage, they have a great sense of humour and bring delight to all that watch.
- The Duhks (pronounced ducks) were the highlight of Friday for me specifically because the drummer was performing on a hand drum set and had a solo that may be the highlight of my entire weekend. I saw them three other times over the weekend and their energy never faltered, impressing me each time with great stage presence and an interesting modern folk roots sound.
- For a two person show, Whitehorse sure knows how to fill the stage. This husband and wife duo impressed me with their powerful vocals and indie folk rock sound. Beautiful harmonies, dazzling guitar skills, and high-quality song writing made this headlining Sunday set one of my favorites!