Feb 08, 2008 By Rick Kardonne Tribune Correspondent TORONTO – Perhaps one of the most openly creative eclectic folk festivals yet to be experienced in Toronto will happen at various venues on Danforth Avenue on from Feb. 8 to 10: the Sixth Annual Winterfolk Blues and Roots Festival. Festival Director Brian Gladstone personifies this feeling of creative openness.
Born and bred in North York, now part of Toronto, Brian has been a research engineer and designer for Plitron Manufacturing of North York. But his real passion has been as a guitar player, composer and fan immersed in the folk revival of the 1960s. Once his children grew up – Brian is now in his 40s – he bought a studio and recorded an album of his original folk-oriented songs, which sold well. After finding out that “it is difficult to get into the existing festivals,” Gladstone decided to start his own festival. “After getting rejected by hundreds of the existing festivals,
I decided to raise money on my own to have my own festival,” he told the Jewish Tribune. “I formed the non-profit Better World organization.” Its slogan is: “We can use our voices to create a better world.” Yet, to his credit, in contrast to the subtle but present leftist political agendas of many alternative cultural events in both Toronto and Montreal, Winterfolk is non-political, a fact that he hopes will ultimately enhance its success.
The roster of performers include some of Toronto’s best such as Juno winners Jack deKeyzer and Al Lerman, who will present their acoustic guitar techniques at the world debut of the Winterfolk Jugband. Alex Lukashevsky – a cutting-edge artist whose style defies a category but beholds an incomparably soulful, smokey voice, an amorphous approach to guitar-playing and profound lyrical witticisms – will head the Zigzag and Quack group. Gladstone will join the Guitar Boys of Alderon on Saturday night Feb. 9, which will also include Mt. Rick, Noah Zacharin, Tony Quarrington, and Danny Marks, whose Saturday night fourhour program Blues-FM on Jazz FM radio (91.1 FM) is arguably one of North America’s most comprehensively best blues radio shows.
The Women of Words section, hosted by Nancy Dutra, will feature songwriters Looweeze de’Ath, Laura Fernandez and Neema. For the first time, new Quebecois artists will be featured in The Voice of Quebec, featuring the Mike Goudreau Blues Band and Notre Dame de Grass (a play-phrase on the predominantly Anglophone Montreal west-end suburban area Notre Dame de Grace, otherwise known as NDG). The Nashville Songwriters Association International will be featured, together with the British Invasion hosted by Dora Keogh, starring Brit rockers Steve Payne, Max Cann and Tanja Rice. And, to provide a bit of Jewish flavour, the all-girl klezmer band The Sisters of Sheynville will perform Feb. 9 at the Black Swan Tavern on Danforth Avenue at 8 p.m. Gladstone insures that all of the performers will be paid on time, in contrast to other ‘alternative’ festivals, where this was not always the case. He emphasizes that this will be a family-oriented event for everybody. For a complete schedule of the Winterfolk Festival’s all-ages free events, please go to: