Airports..Calgary this time. Coming back home after another great trip here in Canada. I flew into Vancouver around ten days ago and then the next day travelled down to Orcas Island of Washington State for the Woodsong festival. It’s a beautiful journey and it was great to return and play this festival again. I then flew into Calgary on the Monday and then for the next few days, and as a prelude to the Calgary Folk festival I took up a role in what they call ‘bootcamp’.
A number of artists taking part in the festival give master classes on various forms of performance or creativity..eg Guitar, Vocal and song-writing talks. I had 15 lovely folk for three days and three hours per day. To be honest I wasn’t sure how that was going to go. The most I have talked about this subject is probably around 1.5 hours worth. It was a challenge to take that further but it turned out to be a very rewarding experience for those present and myself. It also ventures beyond mere song-writing because for there is a whole philosophy of life contained within this craft so it was good to explore all that and remind myself of all the benefits of ‘writing it down’. The venue for this outpouring of educational thought was the Canso centre in Calgary. This is a fantastic centre for music where they have a wonderful collection of keyboards dating back to the 15th Century and it includes the piano that Elton John wrote a lot of his earlier hits on..very cool place and well worth a visit.
The festival itself was a great experience too. Hooked up with the boys from “Lau” and it was great to hear them play as I heard a lot of good things..nice guys too. You meet many fine musicians at these festivals and have hundreds pf conversations with great people. It’s like a little Utopia and you have a free pass. My gigs went great but the highlight for myself was my final workshop when a huge thunderstorm broke out over us. The crowd were great and stuck it out so I made up a song for them about playing in the rain in Calgary and the other Musos, including a great band from Trinidad called Koto joined in and it rocked. It was just one of those moments. We were wet and happy!
Ani DiFranco played the festival and it was great to hook up with her and the crew again. Last night I travelled to Edmonton and opened for her at a beautiful symphony hall called The Winspear. This was a wonderful night. I had not bargained on the reception I had and the sound in hall was superb. It was designed by the same people who built the symphony hall in Birmingham UK..just beautiful. It was one of those nights when I float, carried along by the connection with an audience and feeling so blessed that my job is to make music. Ani was as inspiring as ever and I really have felt proud to be a part of this tour. I think we will do more.
So home now to play the Stokes Bay festival in England then fly back here a few days later for the Edmonton folk festival. A deep intake of breath is needed, this is a crazy schedule and I’m pushing the limits of my stamina, but the return is a fantastic sense of purpose and well being that is hard to describe.