Cure the February blahs with four-day roots music festival
The ninth annual Winterfolk music festival on tap throughout this Family Day holiday weekend will feature more than 150 musicians on seven stages in six venues, on the west Danforth between Broadview and Chester subway stations.
It kicks off early evening this Friday, Feb. 18 and runs right through until early evening Monday, Feb. 21.
Venues include the Black Swan Tavern (two stages), Mambo Lounge, Dora Keogh, Terri O's Sports Bar, Danforth Baptist Church (except Sunday) and Eastminster United Church (Saturday night only).
The information is available on the Winterfolk website.
Admission is mostly free – there's only one special presentation requiring admission ($15 at the door) on Saturday, Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.) at Eastminster Church. Titled Big Bands for your Buck, it features Jack Marks&The Lost Wages; The Warped 45s; Freeman Dre&the Kitchen Party; and The Minotaurs.
The festival is the brainchild of Toronto's Brian Gladstone, himself a noted roots/folk player who, besides still heading up the ever-growing, all-volunteer festival, also plays in the festival.
His idea was to bring a roots festival, normally set in a rural area in the summer, to the heart of the city in the middle of winter. Not only would it allow Toronto residents a chance to take in a huge roots festival literally seconds from the subway, but is also convenient for the top players in Toronto and throughout the province and country who are less busy this time of year.
Local roots music fans will be familiar with numerous artists and bands such as the Porkbelly Futures, which have carried on after the death of their leader Paul Quarrington, the Gary Kendall Band, Hotcha, Joanne Crabtree, the DoneFors and Tony Quarrington, just to name a few.
For those not so familiar, think variety. The roots umbrella is about as wide as you can get, flavoured by folk, jazz, blues, pop and country.
One highlight is An Evening With Borealis Records with some of the label's finest, including Eve Goldberg, James Gordon, Melwood Cutlery (with Dan Whiteley), Michael Jerome Browne and the legendary Mose Scarlett.
In keeping with the spirit of a typical roots festival, Winterfolk also provides some creative on-stage workshops led by the musicians. A few examples include the art of improvisation; blues songwriting; women with words; Irish song circle; and writing music for theatre.
It also shines the spotlight on the local music scene, promoting both well established musical institutions as well as up-and-coming musicians, through such presentations as:
* Toronto Fingerstyle Guitar with host Dunstan Morey, presenting artists from its bi-weekly open stage at Ten Feet Tall on the Danforth;
* Seneca College independent music program with host and instructor John Switzer;
* Ukulele Speakeasy with host Bob Cutler and members of the Corktown Ukulele Jam;
* Stouffville Artists Showcase with host Jim Priebe;
* and Best of Ten Feet Tall Open Stage with host Gary 17.
Visit the Winterfolk website at http://www.abetterworld.ca (click on winterfolk).