The grand finale by rock legend Robert Plant at MetropolisFolk on Sunday capped off a weekend of musical discoveries that attracted about 50,000 folks, together with those that checked out the free Marvest exhibits.
Among the numerous highlights of the four-day predominant occasion at Lansdowne Park have been a sensational present by Larkin Poe on Thursday, a triple invoice of ’90s rock on Friday and a transferring Saturday-afternoon tribute to Ottawa singer-songwriter David Wiffen.
Friday’s rock present was one of many greatest nights the competition has skilled in recent times, with Our Lady Peace, Live and Bush attracting a thirsty crowd that got here near setting a file for bar gross sales. More than 20,000 drinks have been poured, organizers estimated.
Things have been significantly tamer the following day, which was formally proclaimed David Wiffen Day. The white-haired folks hero sat within the entrance row and watched his songs — from Coast to Coast Fever to Driving Wheel — come to life at the arms of a stage stuffed with proficient musicians. Hosted by Ray Harris, the lineup featured Tom Wilson, Lynn Miles and Julie Corrigan, in addition to former Wiffen bandmates from the ’60s band The Children: Neville Wells, Sneezy Waters and Sandy Crawley.
Wilson, who grew up in rough-and-tumble Hamilton, praised the sweetness and sensitivity of Wiffen’s music, whereas Miles talked about Wiffen’s affect and recalled her first theatre present, a gap slot for Wiffen.
And Harris carried out on Wiffen’s previous Gibson, the identical acoustic guitar he used to put in writing a lot of his traditional tunes. “The songs were already in this guitar. I didn’t have to learn them,” Harris stated, describing the getting old folksinger because the “coolest guy on the planet.”
Wiffen additionally obtained the Helen Verger Award for his contribution to folks music in Ottawa, an honour that was created by the previous Ottawa Folk Festival years in the past.
In addition to paying tribute to the roots of the Ottawa scene, the competition supplied an opportunity to see among the music world’s most buzzed-about new artists, together with American acts like Larkin Poe, Lucy Dacus, and soul man Leon Bridges, who warmed up a cold Saturday night time together with his nice band and clean sound.
A contingent of rootsy Canadians shone within the highlight, too, together with standout performances by P.E.I.’s East Pointers, Newfoundland’s The Once and Hey Rosetta! frontman Tim Baker, who carried out twice, joking that it was his MetropolisFolk “residency.”
Still, Tom Wilson could have been the hardest-working musician of the weekend, making a string of appearances that included the Wiffen tribute, a e book studying and a psychedelic folk-rock outing together with his band, Lee Harvey Osmond.
Attendance was robust all through the competition, and crowds shaped early to take a look at the help acts, a pattern that competition director Mark Monahan attributes partially to the accessibility of music on-line.
“The whole notion of people being able to discover more music online really works well for festivals when you have 30 or 40 acts on the program,” Monahan stated. “With Larkin Poe and The Once, obviously people had checked them out in advance.”
This 12 months marked the fifth anniversary of the launch of MetropolisFolk, previously the Ottawa Folk Festival, and its transfer to the central Lansdowne Park website. It was additionally the fifth anniversary of Marvest, the offshoot competition that brings native bands to the retailers, eating places, pubs and a bunch of non-traditional venues alongside Bank Street. The identify alludes to a “musical harvest.”
“Sometimes it takes a while for an idea to germinate,” Monahan stated. “Marvest has become known as a way to support local music, and more and more people are coming out because of that. The proliferation of young, talent Ottawa artists is also growing so I think, five years in, the Marvest thing is working.”
One new thought on a trial run this 12 months was the presence of ASL interpreters throughout Thursday’s crowd-pleasing present by Toronto social gathering band Dwayne Gretzky on the indoor RavenLaw stage, positioned contained in the Aberdeen Pavilion.
They have been an immediate hit. As the umpteen-member band cranked out hit after hit — from Queen to Springsteen to The Band — the signers stored up a working commentary, capturing the spirit of every tune for the advantage of hearing-impaired followers.
Monahan stated the ASL interpretation was beneficial by competition’s board of administrators as one approach to make the occasion extra inclusive. If that was the purpose, it labored like a attraction. Hearing impaired or not, the viewers liked the eagerness they dropped at their work, and rewarded them with a standing ovation.
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