Tuesday, July 29, 2014

All Hail HYDRA: the Calgary Folk Fest stand out

Every July a very random group of Calgarians come together on an Island in the inner city to listen to music, eat from food trucks and hang out in my favorite spot - the beer gardens. Obviously I am talking about the Calgary Folk Festival!

This year the beer gardens ruled my world (as they usually do) as did Feist and her collaboration band HYDRA. (No, they nothing to do with Captain America or the Avengers - sorry dudes.)

 What I didn't understand was why there wasn't more people packing the park on the final night of the festival to see the hometown girl and her super alt-band perform. IT'S FEIST! There were a lot of empty tarps during her performance - AND there were still tickets for sale. Last year there were some tickets left for sale on the Sunday, however, as you may recall - the park was down two stages and after the flood a lot of people were surprised that the festival was even able to happen at all.

So why weren't you watching HYRDA Calgary?

It is possible that they didn't know that HYDRA was Feist's band. Or maybe they had already seen the Sunday festival closer Matt Anderson when he was here a couple of years ago.  Or maybe this year's full line-up was not calling to the people as it has in the past. Maybe my assumption that this group would be a draw was just falsely grounded in my love for Leslie Feist. Who knows, I clearly do not.

For those who did attend (and those who sat on the other side of the river and listened, to cheap to purchase a ticket) they were not disappointed. HYDRA (comprised of the duos Snowblink and AroarA, Feist, Lucky Paul and Charles Spearin) was the gem of the entire festival. Not only were they fantastic, but the ladies of the group did Folk Fest style right. The cutest shoes and Feist's sun hat. To die!

AND they closed with a cover of Led Zeplin's Immigrant Song...and it was amazing. AND there was a tambourine. I mean I know it's Folk Fest, but tambourine usage always needs recognition.

While, no band or artist spoke to me as HYDRA did, there were still a few other good ones over the course of the weekend.

I came into the festival a little unsure of what I would be seeing. I generally like to think of myself as 'in the know' when it comes to music, but besides a few big acts that had come through the festival before (Rufus Wainwright, Matt Anderson) and a select few (Hey Rosetta! Chad VanGaalen and Amos Lee)...I was at a loss, as were others. I'm sure everyone found someone knew to love this weekend though. I personally thought Basia Bulat and the Good Lovlies killed it.

That's a wrap on the Calgary Folk Fest.


EDIT: In the first version of this story I said Sunday night of the Festival sold out in 2013. This is not true. It was just barely undersold. Ticket sales in 2014 were a very small percentage less of what they sold last year.

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