Winnipeg Folk Festival Birds Hill Park, Winnipeg MB - July 8 to 11, 2005
Published Aug 01, 2005There simply wasn't enough time to take in all the fantastic acts that appeared at this year's Winnipeg Folk Festival - the roster was so stacked that almost every slot saw people nail biting over who to check out. Under the guidance of a new artistic director, the festival finally delivered many of the faces of the current movements of folk music. Acts like Camper van Beethoven, the Handsome Family and the Trachenberg Family Slideshow Players put on some of the best performances of the festival, in addition to great performances by such legends as Daniel Lanois, Dr. John and Emmylou Harris. The Be Good Tanyas delivered a flawless performance on the Friday evening main stage, showing that nothing has changed over the band's several year hiatus. But as per usual, the more engaging sets of the festival took place during the sticky hot daytime stages. Martha Wainwright played several breath-taking sets throughout the festival, highlighting the gems off her new release and showing her McGarrigal roots with covers of songs like "Year of the Dragon." Although festival favourites such as King Wilke and the Weakerthans were playing the stage at the same time slot, the Rheostatics treated an all-ages audience to the entirety of the Harmelodia album, complete with the children's story that accompanies the CD told by front-man Dave Bidini. Although the band seemed a bit rusty at the start of the workshop, by the end of it they had the audience making their best wingophone sounds and had children jumping all over the place. Local favourites took the "pop goes the world" workshop by storm, with performances of '80s hits, such as the incredible version of "Rock the Casbah" by Novillero. On Sunday, Manitoba once again shone at the "Moody Manitoba Morning (In the Afternoon)" stage with the D-Rangers and bluegrass sweetheart Romi Mayes honky-tonking their way through the aptly themed workshop. Although many anticipated Feist's arrival on Sunday, she was a bit of a let-down, as her performance was almost identical to her recent JunoFest appearance. She still sounded beautiful and amazing, but her new-found fame has possibly taken a creative toll on her enthusiasm for live performance. Due to extreme weather conditions, many people left before Emmylou Harris's closing performance, which was worth the mud-covered feet and sweat-drenched dreadlocks for those who stuck around.