Looking ahead to July ’05

The Wpg Folk Festival site security volunteer crew seems to be well organized. I received a letter in the mail inviting me back, with appropriate email contact addresses to confirm my plans. I replied, they replied and it’s falling into place. I have been through it once and I have figured out the basics. It’s a good way to see the festival, it’s mostly fun, and there are good people to work with.
The 2005 line-up of performers isn’t catching my fancy.


That’s not to say it isn’t strong. Chris Frayer, the new AD, seems to be on top of his job and he has already lined up enough good acts to please all tastes and provide the partying crowd with good background music for their party.
There are great headliners – Emmy Lou Harris, Odetta, Daniel Lanois, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder. There are returning performers like Xavier Rudd and the Handsome Family who have started to build followings. There are great Canadian acts – the vocal harmony of Quartette, the great Quebecois group Matapat, the Rheostatics. There are many Manitoba performers who are making good. Cara Luft parted ways with the Wailin’ Jennies in favour of a solo career. She’s talented, energetic, witty. Nathan, a clever bluegrass alternative act with a gift for dark comedic songs are on. Romi Mayes, a local bluegrass performer in the same line as Nathan has been picked.
I expect some of the names on the list that mean nothing today are in fact the names of talented performers. I see several world music acts, and generally that part of the line-up has been strong.
It may be that the line up simply does not have the depth of talent of Edmonton. I also think it is quite light in UK performers, Celtic, and great ballad singers in the lines of Gaughan, Jez Lowe, etc. But it’s only April and sometimes the overseas acts don’t commit until they have line up enough other gigs to make a tour, so we’ll have to see how it goes.

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