A Four-Day Live Music Wonderland
Written by Ori Dagan
AS THE WINTER WEEKS DWINDLE down to a precious few, here are some good excuses to head straight to the clubs:
Who knew Toronto was such a hotbed of folk, roots and blues talent? Meet The Association of Artists for a Better World, organizers of Winterfolk.This entirely volunteer-run, all-ages festival is now in its 9th season of emulating multi-stage rural summer festivals, right here in the city. The 2011 edition will showcase 150 artists over four days (February 18-21) at six venues in the Broadview and Danforth vicinity. Ranging from sports bar to church, the venues this year are: Black Swan Tavern, Mambo Lounge, Eastminster United Church, Danforth Café, Dora Keogh and Terry O’s Sports Bar. All shows will be free of charge with the exception of Saturday night’s “Brass Roots: Big Bands for Your Buck” at Eastminster United Church, a quadruple bill of multi-genre big bands for only $15 ($12adv).
Jazzers will notice guitarist Tony Quarrington’s name all over the performance schedule – he is well-known in the folk scene as both a performer and songwriter. Popular blues acts also appear on the bill, including Gary Kendall of the Downchild Blues Band fame, charismatic Danny Marks and breathtaking multi-instrumentalist Jimmy Bowskill; other promising billings include veteran jazzman Big Rude Jake, Latin chanteuse Laura Fernandez and acclaimed singer-songwriter Noah Zacharin.
Budding musicians should take advantage of the free workshops offered, which cover everything from blues songwriting and improvisation to songs of social justice and fingerstyle guitar.
The fourth and final Family Day is highlighted by two sets with Beth Anne Cole, familiar to many from her 22 years on Mr. Dressup and Sesame Street. The Winterfolk venues can all be found in our “In The Clubs” listings.
To find out more details about this exciting festival, visit