Sunday, October 16

OCFF Review

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 BrothersThe 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"


  1. Hope you enjoyed your day off! Sounds like an AMAZING time was had by all, and I'm in awe of how much you can cram into a weekend. I would need a week to recover from all that!

    Out of curiosity, would you say that folk singers tend to err on the older side as well as their audience? I'm asking because I can't think of any YOUNG -- and by young, I mean younger than 35 -- folk singers. So maybe that's why they're not pulling in the younger crowd?

  2. I have officially hit the wall. I think yesterday was completed with adrenaline and today I am really struggling to keep my eyes open.

    There are certainly a lot of older folk performers, but there are young too and most fests have a youth programming of some sort (not kids tents, but teen performers). A few who are 20's and 30's (not quite sure of a firm 35 cut off as they don't publish their ages)

    Ariana Gillis (she turns 22 this month)
    JD Edwards
    The Undesirables were 30/32 when I first met them, Sean just turned 40
    Jadea Kelly
    The Magnificent 7's
    The Crooked Brothers (I'd peg in their 30's)
    Jonathan Byrd was born in Nov 1970, but again, when I first crossed paths with him he would have been 35.
    Lynne Hanson, somewhere in her mid 30's
    Samantha Martin isn't quite 30 if I remember right
    Ben Whitely plays base for lots of people but his work has been Flashlight Radio with his wife and currently New Country Rehab, he's ages with me so probably a little over 35.
    Annabelle Chvostek also felt about ages with me.
    The Warped 45's, Dave was born in 73, not sure about his cousin or the other members.

    Home Routes seems to balance between older acts (Rik Palieri, Mike Agranoff, ummm... so far they are the only people over 50 we've hosted) and people mid career in their 40's or so (Ben Sures, Spook Handy, Joel Fafard) and the younger group like Ariana, Lindsay Jane.

    I think part of the problem is people hear folk and think Joni Mitchell or Kingston Trio. Nothing wrong with either, but folk is broader than that. The issue for places like Haliburton is that their local population is old. There are younger cottagers in the summer, but for year round membership to their folk society, the winter population is dominated by retired seniors. There isn't enough winter work to keep a lot of younger adults in the area.


Thanks for your comments, I love to have a two way conversation. I seem to be getting a lot of spam from anonymous users and am turning off the ability to comment that way. I really would like to hear from you so if you do want to add your two cents without an OpenId, email me at seraphinalina at gmail dot com.