More than 100 musicians to performs at four Danforth venues
By Norm Nelson The eighth annual Winterfolk festival is coming back to the Danforth, running all four days over the Family Day holiday weekend, Feb. 12 to 15. More than 100 musicians will perform in four Danforth venues on six stages. The venues are the Willow Restaurant and the Black Swan Tavern, each with two stages, as well as Dora Keogh and the Mambo Lounge.
The Family Day Monday has some specific family-themed entertainment. The festival kicks off Friday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m., and then resumes at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. It runs until after midnight the first three nights before closing down on Monday after the 5 p.m. shows. Mostly it's free. There is only a nominal charge for one Sunday night feature called 'Love at Winterfolk'. The venues are all easy walking distance of both Broadview and Chester subway stations. Winterfolk is a non-profit event with no full time staff and run mostly by a group of dedicated volunteers.
One of the biggest expenses is to ensure the musicians are fairly paid for their performances. Brian Gladstone is the founder of the event and still runs it. A noted roots musician, he also performs in it. An easy way to support the event – and to help pay for musicians and sound equipment rental, etc., is to purchase the 'I support roots music in Toronto' buttons.
Besides supporting local artists, the festival also supports and gives a platform to local music organizations. For instance, the City Roots Festival run by Howard Gladstone is showcased as are groups as diverse as California Open Stage, the Songwriters Association of Canada; Speak Music; and the Nashville Songwriters Association of Canada. There are vocal and songwriting forums. As well, Winterfolk ran its own talent competition, awarding two spots (to Ian Reid and Graydon James).
While Winterfolk prides itself on showcasing and providing a venue for up-and-coming artists, it also has a treasure trove of veteran musicians well known in the local music scene. A few of the multi-award winners include: * Digging Roots, picked up best group/duo in November at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards. They've been nominated for a Juno, and they'll be playing at the 2010 Olympics; * Julian Fauth won a 2009 Juno Award for Best Blues Album (Ramblin' Son); * Danny Marks won the Toronto Blues Society 'Blues With a Feeling Award' for lifetime achievement in 2007; * Al Lerman is considered one of the top harmonica players in the country and is a two-time Juno award winner with his band Fathead; * Jon Brooks earned a 2009 Canadian Folk Music Award (CFMA) nominee for best songwriter in 2009 (and 2006); Marianne Girard earned a 2009 CFMA nomination for best contemporary vocalist; and Kim Wempe was nominated for female solo artist and Rising Star Recording of the Year at the East Coast Music Awards (ECMA); * Ariana Gillis won a 2009 CFMA award for Young Performer of the Year; and the Sultans of String won for Instrumental Group of the Year; * Wendell Ferguson is a seven-time Canadian Country Music Award recipient for guitar player of the year as well as nominee for 2006 CCMA album of the year; * Ewan Dobson is the 2009 Canadian Fingerstyle Guitar Champion. Check out the Winterfolk website for full line-up, schedule and artist profiles. Volunteers and sponsors are always most welcome. Visit http://www.abetterworld.ca/ For more coverage, visit the Music Notes blog at www.insidetoronto.com