the 2009 Regina Folk Festival in pics & reviews
Basia Bulat on stage w/ Plants & Animals
"I'm not really sure what it is about this little folk festival in the city on the prairie, but they really have something special going on, and it's been going on for the past 40 years. It was my honour to host the very eclectic opening Friday night under cloudy but dry skies in downtown Regina."
[Grant Lawrence, CBC Radio 3 on Day 1]
Grant Lawrence (CBC Radio Host)
Up first was the darling Basia Bulat, who played a strong solo set to an opening throng of fans pressed close to the stage. Basia announced during the set that her new album is entitled Heart Of My Own and will be out on October 6. [Grant Lawrence, CBC Radio 3 on Day 1]
Hitting the stage next was Montreal's powerful art-rock trio Plants and Animals, and they were howlin' LOUD. Last night the "plants" could have been trees being uprooted in a hurricane and the "animals" could have been a herd of stampeding buffalo. They proved too loud for some of the older folkies, but the kids up front loved 'em. Basia joined them for a bashing version of the Queen-like P+A anthem "Bye Bye Bye" to close the set. [Grant Lawrence, CBC Radio 3 on Day 1]
Plants and Animals...
The surprise of the opening night for many was the absolutely outrageous set from Vancouver fusion band Delhi 2 Dublin. Hugely energetic, they blend the traditional sounds of India and Ireland with modern hip hop beats. If Victoria Park had a roof, D2D would have blown it off. The roar of applause at the end of their set was deafening. [Grant Lawrence, CBC Radio 3 on Day 1]
Dehli 2 Dublin...
In stark contrast to Delhi 2 Dublin's world-beat dance party was Iron and Wine, the blond, bearded, indie-singer-songwriter hearthrob from South Carolina. He opened with a stirring cover of the Postal Service's "Such Great Heights" and immediately had the sold-out crowd singing along, filling the clearing night sky with voices. It was a beautiful moment. The crowd was hooked, especially up front, where some truly die-hard fans clung to every soft syllable. [Grant Lawrence, CBC Radio 3 on Day 1]
Iron and Wine...
REGINA -- The word of the weekend was, "awesome."
Organizers of the 2009 Regina Folk Festival could not be more pleased with results of this year's event.
"We've never sold out two nights. Last year, we sold out Friday night. This year, Friday and Saturday," said Sandra Butel, artistic director with the festival.
More than 30 acts performed in Victoria Park over three days. Though the 2,500 tickets for closing night were not sold out as of late Sunday afternoon, Butel said it was close. People packed the park on Sunday afternoon, soaking up the sun, shopping in the Artists' Market, and sampling food in the International Food Court. Tickets were required for the main stage performances, but organizers provided four other stages -- one of which was for children -- for the public.
"The number (of people in the park is) surpassing any we've ever seen," Butel said, adding the crowd remained constant both Saturday and Sunday, despite the weather.
"There's so many people taking in all four stages ... and our vendors and markets are telling us they've never sold more stuff because there's just more people down here," she said.
The weather was cloudy and raining while crews set up for the festival late last week, but Butel was happy to report Victoria Park stayed dry. But, the crowd came prepared just in case.
"Everybody had their rain gear, their umbrellas, their tarps and rubber boots," she said.
It has been 40 years since the first folk festival was held in 1969 at the University of Saskatchewan, Regina Campus. Since then, it moved first to former Saskatchewan Centre of the Arts (now the Conexus Arts Centre) in 1971 and finally to Victoria Park in 1984. [Leader-Post]
Here in the US, The Newport Folk Festival celebrated its 50th birthday just one weekend earlier.