Friday, September 2, 2011

First Day at Shelter Valley

Going to make this brief because it's almost midnight & I have to be back out at the festival site tomorrow morning before 9am!

Today was the first day of the Shelter Valley Folk Festival and this year my Mom & I are volunteering and attending this local festival.

My role as a festival volunteer is parking, directing people where to park and helping them back to their cars after dark. It went well today although it was stinking humid and very hot out in the sun in the middle of the parking lot for my 1-5pm shift today.
I have to say though, Shelter Valley knows how to treat their volunteers! Upon registration you get a t-shirt, a meal ticket for all meals over the weekend and if you choose to, a camping spot on site. And the food is amazing!! Today's meals were pasta salad and pizza for lunch and chili, cornbread and assorted salads for dinner, so very tasty!

My view for much of my 4 hrs parking looked like this:

After parking I headed over to dinner and then up to the main stage where the show had already started.

Layah Jane started us off with a great voice & an amazing guitarist (I think his name was Oliver Robertson?)

Donne Roberts was up next with his band (drummer was a lot of fun! Whole drum set was hand drums, no drum sticks!) and some music inspired by the folk music of his native Madagascar. During this set we started to get some rain, you could tell by the way the whole audience collectively reached for their tarps/umbrellas/raincoats/ponchos/etc!

Then there was a lovely introduction for the guitar maker, guitarist and singer Grit Laskin, but just as he was about to start, the artistic director of the festival came on stage and warned us all that there was an intense, but small, thunderstorm cell headed our way and advised us that they were shutting down the main stage for a bit and that we should all head to our cars. We were lucky and for the most part the storm passed to the south of us and we were in the clear, but we did have about a half hour delay. Grit boasted when he got back on stage that when he took the stage the whole audience stood up and left! The humour was appreciated by those of us who had waited out the storm!

Grit went on to play a wonderful set, with a few guests, playing the guitar, mandolin and squeeze box. His fingers seemed to fly over the strings of his guitar!

Oh Susanna was on next, she was one of the acts of the night I was really looking forward too. I wasn't hugely impressed by her set, but I'll be searching her out in workshops tomorrow, sometimes I prefer the artists in the smaller stage settings than headlining the main stage. Her comment about this festival was that she seems to have been type-cast, singing in workshops with names such as 'Love Does Not Conquer All' and 'Death Becomes Her', so she was "going to play to type tonight & proceeded to sing us a song about heartbreak and death, rock on!"

I knew Mom's shift was over in the middle of Oh Susanna's set and so went out to find her after. Note for the future: set a meeting place if you're going to be trying to find someone in a large crowd of people in the dark! I did find her and went on to watch Karen Savoca & Pete Heitzman with her, neither of us were super impressed with them, but they seemed to be a crowd favourite.

Next on stage was Royal Wood, who I have seen last year at Home County Folk Festival and really enjoyed. His set was really good & I'm excited to see him again tomorrow.

Headlining the night was Ron Hynes, who is amazing. We decided though that since the show was running late and we have to be there bright and early tomorrow morning and we would be stuck in the parking lot if we stayed to the end, to call it a night before Ron Hynes finished, which is too bad, but we're exhausted and it's only day one!

Did I mention bright & early tomorrow morning? Yes, I'm booked in to work parking 9am-1pm and then again(!) from 9pm-midnight so tomorrow will be a long day! Also planning on heading over early because there is breakfast for the volunteers & apparently the scones are to die for... we'll see :)

People I'm very much looking forward to seeing tomorrow are Chic Gamine & Luke Doucet, I've been told I also must make a point to catch Eliza Gilkyson, who I haven't heard of but now I'm intrigued!
Probably no post tomorrow night (because of above shifts!) but hopefully one to wrap up the weekend!