Reprinted from the North York Mirror Newspaper by NORM nelson More from this author
Jan. 26, 2006 Winterfolk Brings Roots Music To Danforth
Big city residents who are fans of guitar pickin' and roots music usually have to pencil in a summer folk festival in a rural area to get their fill. Next weekend, however, a festival is coming to you. In its fourth year, Winterfolk will run all next weekend (Feb. 3-5) from Friday night to Sunday. And for the second straight year, it's being held right in our neck of the woods, in a cluster of a half a dozen venues on the Danforth, near Broadview. The festival is the brainchild of Brian Gladstone, born and raised in North York and a noted roots musician himself with four CDs to his credit. He is also one of the more than 80 performers lined up. With Randi Fratkin on board this year as artistic director, Gladstone, the founder and festival director, said it should appeal to an even broader audience."She's also the artistic director for the Mariposa Festival so she's very well connected. She brings a great amount of expertise to us." The festival started out originally at Spadina and College for the first two years but moved to the Danforth last year to allow the festival room to grow. "There's a lot of good venues, all of them walking distance from the subway. Also the Danforth BIA (Business Improvement Association), they've welcomed us, and they're working with us very closely," said Gladstone. Winterfolk is billed as a blues and roots festival "which basically leaves it wide open," said Gladstone. "Roots music, to me, what that means, is music that evolved or is indigenous to Canada or North America, which is all the folk styles, country music, bluegrass – those things evolved here.
And that's mainly what we're focusing on." Toronto Community News, which publishes The Mirror, is also one of the sponsors There are literally too many artists to mention. Many of the national and internationally renowned artists live in the area, particularly in Riverdale which has a noted arts community, including the Bebop Cowboys. But certainly, the rest of the province and the country will be well represented along with a some key international acts, including Russell deCarle, the lead singer, bass player and a founding member of Prairie Oyster.
DeCarle has been awarded Canadian Country Music Association, Juno and SOCAN awards, has been a guest on the CBC Songwriters' Circle Series, toured with the Bluebird North Series and opened for Merle Haggard. The festival also reserves a handful of coveted spots for new or emerging artists, some of whom have used it as springboard to a performing career. The locations, all within easy walking distance of the Broadview subway stop, include three bars – the Willow, Dora Keogh and the Black Swan (two stages, main floor and upstairs) – as well as the Bad Dog Theatre and the Danforth Cafe in the Danforth Baptist Church. There are plenty of ticket options. You can buy a three-day festival pass, single day pass or single venue admission. The best way to check it out further is to log onto their website located at www.winterfolk.com.