Saturday, August 11, 2007

Wolfe Island Music Fest

Last night I went to Kingston to check out the Wolfe Island Music Fest. Friday night featured the Hootenanny Tour, a rotating review of Canada's cow punk scene. It included such talent as Jim Bryson, Julie Fader, Luther Wright and Jenny Whiteley.

After the twenty minute ferry ride from downtown Kingston, the festivities got under way shortly after sunset, just enough time for those people arriving on the 8pm boat to set up their tents in the park around the corner from the Town Hall square.

The show lasted well into the night, with the last note from the one-song encore drowning out over the St-Lawrence past 1130pm. While the pace was hardly frenetic throughout the set, it was nonetheless a delightful evening of music under the stars.

The highlights from the evening were numerous. After some discussion with my fellow concert-goers, Jim Bryson's solo performances stood out as the most inspiring of the evening. His mix of melancholic and up-tempo folk showed off his ever-expanding repertoire. He's truly one of the area's finest musicians.

Another of my favourites was Chris Brown, of Bourbon Tabernacle Choir fame. When he took to the stage to perform some of his own material, the crowd waited in silence for what surely was some of the best music of the evening. I'll be looking out for him in the future.

Also, Sam of Sheesham and Lotus, put on a great performance playing the stand-up bass and banjo, even though at times the banjo was sadly drowned out by the cacophony of instruments on stage. Note to organizers: bring up the levels on the banjo, it's a hootenanny after all.

Lastly, Sarah Harmer came on and sang a few of her own songs, and in my mind made up for her abysmal performance at Bluesfest a month ago. She was a wonderful addition to the train of performances.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to stay for the second day, what they were calling the 'rock' day, but one night of bluegrass on Wolfe Island was enough to convince me to go again next year.