Islands Folk Festival, 2016

I camped at the Islands Folk Festival in Duncan BC. It was my first visit to this festival.

The festival is held at Providence Farm, a former convent of the Sisters of St. Ann, once a boarding school, now an organic farm. It accomodates a crowd of a about 2,000 (sometimes vaguely stated as a few thousand) comfortably. Site Map. There is trailer camping in the “Upper Field”, and tent camping on a treed hill – no parking spots or access roads.  There are a few wheelbarrows available for tent campers to move gear from the vehicle-accessible areas into the camp.  The tent area has shade and some shelter from the wind.

The main stage concert on Friday July 22 was opened by Matthew and Jill Barber, who performed songs from their new album.  They have a few original songs, but the album’s theme is songs that they have known and admired.  They did a cover of Ian Tyson’s Summer Wages, introduced with a story about summer jobs planting trees.  They shifted the emphasis away from the possessive angst of “… never leave your woman alone when your friends are out to steal her” to the reflective:

“… The dreams of the seasons are all spilled down on the floor”

“So I’ll work on them towboats in my slippery city shoes
Which I swore I would never do again
Through the grey fogbound straits where the cedars stand waiting
I’ll be far off and gone like summer wages”

They covered The Song of the French Partisan, citing Leonard Cohen as their main influence, joining Cohen, Buffy St. Marie and other artists.  Ironically, Joan Baez, already an apostle of non-violent resistance, covered this song of armed resistance in her 1972 album Come From the Shadows. They also cover Neil Young’s Comes a Time, referring to the time their parents lived in Winnipeg.

Oysterband played a double slot – nearly two hours.  They performed, as they do in other concert performances, songs from a vast repertoire, written and polished in a 4o year career.  I don’t miss a chance to see them when they come to BC. They have change their performing company.  John Jones, Alan Prosser and Ian Telfer are still performing.  Veterans Lee Partis and Ray Cooper (Chopper) left in 2007 and 2012 respectively.

I was impressed by the arrangements and ensemble work of Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project, at their concert in the daytime Spirit Stage venue. The busy and versatile Moira Smiley was with Jayme Stone and the project for this festival.

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