What a weekend. Today is totally a recovery day. It's 1pm, I'm still in my house coat. I know I'll be heading out at some point today, but I can't say I'm in a rush. It's been a busy few days between the OCFF conference and my friends wedding.
Leaving OCFF early because of the wedding was really hard. We participated in a fantastic workshop about the value of presenters in Canada. The start time was different in some spots than others so we missed the first hour of the 3 hour session. Sad because we really enjoyed it and it felt like there was still more conversation to have. We participated in the small group discussion on demographics. Most folk festivals and folk societies have more ah.. grey hair than what may be sustainable. Nothing wrong with having seniors, but you need younger audiences to replace them at some point. From a festival perspective, they actually do okay with young families by having kids tents and programming, but they struggle to appeal to teens-20's. Personally, I think that's okay so long as you can get them back when they have kids. For us, attendance is a struggle in part because of kids. Either it's an expensive night with a baby sitter, or we only get one of the couple, and if a kid gets sick, it's a last minute cancellation. It's the opposite problem that most of the other presenters have. In talking to someone from the Haliburton Folk Society (they also do Home Routes) he found our problems amusing as they only get senior-seniors, not even boomers.
The afternoon was mostly formal showcases, caught a lot of acts out of the Manitoba room. I'd say my favourite that I could host would be The Crooked Brothers. The Magnificent 7's were also great, harmonies, rock-a-billy meets bluegrass, but... with 5 members, too big for me to host. We'll support them from afar. I talked to one of the band members a few times, they truly seem like a family by choice.
The evening has formal showcases from 8-11, two rooms to bounce between. We saw a great kids act out of Newfoundland, Shelley Bean & the Duckety Muds. We've never hosted a family show, but we're starting to think maybe we should given our demographic issues. We stayed for Beaucoup Blue from Philidelphia. They area father/son duo, beautiful harmony, I think I'm in love with resonators between Beaucoup Blue and The Crooked Brothers. Beaucoup Blue would be perfect for a house concert. We wanted to go to the other room to see Manitoba Hal but were so entranced we stayed for the full set. We also enjoyed Layah Jane, Jadea Kelly, Ann Vriend.
Then off to the craziness of Private showcases. 3rd and 4th floors of the hotel, each room changing every half hour or so. It's insanity and we tried to focus on people we didn't know already. First up was to see Jon Davis out of Montreal. He actually remembered meeting us last year and joined the presenters workshop in the morning. He mostly supports his independent music through teaching and being part of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Choir. Scott Cook was another highlight of the evening. We have his CD already, loved it, but sometimes live doesn't match with produced, but Scott was so entertaining, half an hour was not enough.
And I am feeling a tad sheepish about meeting Mark Reeves. We saw Mark maybe in 2007 at Summerfolk. I thought he was just fantastic, he has some amusing and cheeky lyrics, great sound and a beautiful voice. His song VDub was the first song we played when we bought the Jetta. He has done Home Routes the past two years, but not on the Ontario route and every year when the list comes out I lament that it's not fair that Alberta gets Mark and I don't. So when I crossed him in the hallway with a bit of ah... wine induced false courage, I babbled at him about this. Seriously. I didn't shut up. He was getting an offer to go join some friends outside for a "fresh of breath air" as my high school friends might say and I was oblivious, Mr. Lina told me later. Sigh. At least by the end of it he did want me to email him and remind him of the when and where of our conversation. Good to know I wasn't so scary to be ah, unforgettable.
There were other great music, I'll probably talk about them over other posts. We went to a wedding and I got a few unsolicitations on my dress, but I think this is getting long and link filled enough.
So one last video. Given my Mark Reeves story and as much as I liked a lot of the more country or blues sounds of the weekend, the singer/songwriter folk is my favourite. Also, I found a video of him doing a house concert so this has the feel of what it's like to come to my basement for a show. If you like this, there is a 9 minute selection of the same show on You Tube. Here is a much shorter video for "Takes a While to Get Like This"