Bloor Ossington Folk Festival

I’m going to do something different aside from food today because I can!

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Today wasn’t the prettiest day in Toronto and honestly, sometimes I wonder how on earth I survive the winters…

Thankfully I live in a pretty bustling city and on this early evening, Conan and I decided to head to Bloor and Ossington for the first ever Bloor Ossington Folk Festival. This festival is organized anonymously by, I’m assuming, local residents/music lovers and includes a number of venues and local resident homes. It’s a pretty cool festival with a grassroots atmosphere promoting local and national folk artists/groups as well as, local Bloor/Ossington businesses.

So on this gloomy fall day, we jammed ourselves into Saving Gigi cafe, ordered a cappuccino, a latte, the Toronto Star (some reading whilst waiting for the performances to start) and grabbed a seat. I couldn’t help but notice how different Conan and I were from everyone else. I felt like I had stepped into hipster past and present, surrounded by old technology made anew, beards, skinny man jeans, big plastic glasses frames, long unkept hair, plaid shirts, bulky sweaters and prairie skirts. I suppose that’s the great thing about great music, it brings everyone together!

First performance we saw was of Lake Forest, a one man band with some really neat musical toys at his feet. In the first few seconds of his performance, I immediately got  smacked in the face with Canadiana, as if the weather wasn’t enough. The music was eerie, expansive and experimental; the lyrics were descriptive and illustrative. I must say, I was quite entranced. There was no doubt his music screamed Canada, and he didn’t even need to sing it. All I could see was the vast endless landscapes of our country and connected every lyric. It was awesome! There was a little bit of a technical blip in his last song…ears blown from a looped recording of feedback, but that was alright!

The next performance was from Eamon McGrath with 2 others, one on violin, another on keyboard and a country harp (?). And according to Conan, he sounds a lot like Bruce Springsteen but a lot better. His music was ALSO very Canadian. The music just reflected the weather, temperature, the colours outside and the feeling of being warm and toasty inside perfectly.

After those 2 performances we left to wander the cold streets. We stumbled into this art gallery, but I had no idea who was playing. I think that’s one of the weird things about Canadian music, it’s so hard to find out who everyone is, where they come from and where they’re playing next. It’s even hard to find them on the internet! However, when you do get that chance to see some great Canadian music artists, it’s never a disappointment.

Thanks to everyone involved in organizing the folk fest, it was awesome!

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