The Vancouver Folk Music Festival’s 35th edition kicked off last night with a round-up of both local and international talent. I started on Stage 3, where Hungarian gypsy band Besh o droM was in full swing. Actually they are pretty hard to define, as the band is categorized as having folk, R&B, rock, world and jazz also infused into their sound.
The audience was loving them.
I ventured over to the main stage to watch Serena Ryder and band take to the massive crowd. As is typical of Vancouver folk festivals, hard core attendees arrive at the gate just in time for it to open, then make a mad rush to this area to stake their blanket space in time for the evening’s headliners.
Serena is Ontario-born, and is currently one of the country’s most talented songwriters. Little known fact is that she was in a Christian rock band and later in a hard rock group, later starting to perform as a soloist.
A quick (or not-so-quick) food break (7:30 seemed to be a mad rush for dinner at the food area), and I was back at Stage 3, taking in some of Wazimbo’s tunes.
Wazimbo hail from Mozambique, with a contemporary African sound heard through horns, percussion, and vocals. Songs were sung in the band’s native Ronga language. The sounds were soothing and melodic, and a perfect way to cap off an evening at that stage.
It was then back to the main stage to hear a portion of Lucinda Williams. Louisiana-born Williams has been in the music business for over 30 years and is highly regarded in the States as both a strong opponent of the Texas death sentence as well as being an Amnesty International supporter.
And who better to wrap up the evening than our own beloved Dan Mangan, who took the main stage shortly before 10 pm for a one hour loveliest with the audience. “Robots Need Love Too” is still buzzing through our ears, hours after the show wrapped up with the traditional lantern procession out to the exit.
Mangan, who I’d run into backstage earlier in the evening, gave a shout out to the Vancouver Jazz Festival’s range of talent, adding that Vancouver is like a candy store to him when it comes to choosing local musicians to work with.
He feels blessed to be in a such a creatively charged environment and judging by the crowd humming the background vocals all the way to the exit, this was an excellent choice in closing off day one of the festival.
I’ll be back tomorrow to roam the grounds, soak up the sun, and catch more bands in action. Look for more photos and a round up next week.
Meanwhile, more photos from day one can be found here.