Jan 27 2008

Beat February blahs with Danforth music festivals

insidetorontoJanuary 2, 2008  BY NORM NELSON – 03:10 PMTwo local music festivals on Danforth Avenue are once again pencilled in to help residents beat the February blahs. The second annual Brenda Carol Renaissance Jazz Fair will be held the weekend of Feb. 1 to 3 at the Renaissance Cafe, 1938 Danforth Ave., just west of Woodbine Avenue with the music starting up nightly at 8 p.m. The event is designed to showcase some of Canada's finest up-and-coming young jazz artists. The much larger Winterfolk roots/blues/folk festival will be back for its sixth year in the city (and fourth straight on the west end of the Danforth) over the weekend of Feb. 8 to 10. This year's Winterfolk is promising 100 artists over three days in several Danforth Avenue venues. This year, there will be a combination of free and paid stages with two special events at Eastminster United Church with a $10 price tag. Meanwhile, entertainment at other venues such as the Black Swan Tavern, Willow Restaurant, Dora Keogh and Big Carrot will be free. The festival will also include workshops for guitar playing, song writing and more. Fans can get a sneak preview on Thursday, Jan. 10 as Winterfolk takes over roots club Hugh's Room for a special preview show called the Blues of Winterfolk with special guest Suzie Vinnick. Winterfolk is the brainchild of North York artist Brian Gladstone, who ran the Thursday open stage at Renaissance Cafe for several years. He runs the festival through his Association of Artists for A Better World, a registered non-profit organization. It's a unique opportunity for local residents to have a folk/roots/blues festival brought right to their door. Artists welcome it because it's a chance to perform during what is typically a slower time in the winter. With east Toronto, and particularly Riverdale, being home to many musicians, the lineup always has a lot of local flavour such as Steve Briggs and Gladstone. For up-to-date lineup and other information, such as how to volunteer, visit www.abetterworld.ca.    


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