Folk Fest

It’s all about harmony. Regardless of whether the men and women on stage can actually carry a tune, the harmony of the patrons is one of the things that makes the Calgary Folk Music Festival so magical. Where else can your gaze drift from a pair of sixtysomething Southern Alberta ranchers to a twentysomething hippy couple, swinging their young child between them?

The 24th annual installment of the popular Calgary event (it fell just a couple thousand people short of a sell out this year) was one to remember. Thirty degree days, a deliciously diverse talent pool and smiles all around, what more could anyone ask for?

Whether it was the gripping intensity and power of Ani DiFranco’s poetry reading to close Saturday’s festivities or lazily sitting on the banks of the Bow on Sunday afternoon, Folk Fest delivered–just like it does every year.

It is a collection of countless little perfections that make the weekend what it is.

There is the feeling of being in the middle of nowhere, in a field far away with 10,000 of your closest friends, despite the fact that you’re in the heart of a sprawling major Canadian city. There are the friends and faces you remember from early ’90s all ages shows at the Republik (remember Red Autumn Fall?) and the annual conversations that accompany seeing them. There are those moments when the sun breaks from behind the clouds, scorching down on your neck while you curl your toes in the cool grass and a musician you’ve never heard of entrances you with his mastery of the slide guitar–those moments where you think to yourself, "Why isn’t life always this perfect?"

Above all else however, there is the feeling you take with you on your way home Sunday night. The smile you can’t wipe from your face, the inner peace you don’t understand and don’t want to, the knowledge that, push come to shove, nothing really matters. It puts it all in perspective and puts your mind at ease, all for less than $100 a year.

Forget therapy. Forget prozac. Folk Fest is the cure for all that ails you.

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