After a wildly successful weekend the 2016 Jasper Folk Music Festival has come full circle.
The festival kicked into gear on Friday afternoon with First Nations Cree duo Warrior Women along with Battle Royale winner Cynthia Hamar. Next up, the beautiful Tia Brazda serenaded a growing crowd with smooth jazz under a fading sky being aptly followed by Yukon roots artist Gordie Tentrees whose haunting blues echoed into the twilight. Then when the temperature began to drop California band The Brevet brought the heat. They revved up the crowd with their very fitting track Moving Mountains before headlining act Scenic Route to Alaska concluded the evening with a smashing set of soulful indie rock.
On Saturday, things turned up another notch with a jam-packed line-up showcasing local talent Gui Benoit & The Mighty Water, Houle’s Gold, Emma Acorn and David & The Weros along with Edmonton-born performer Tanya Lipscomb, who not only brought the folk to the festival with her powerful yet subtle three-octave voice but also entertained the kiddies by performing as her alter-ego Kiki The Eco Elf. Making our way across to the prairies, we welcomed Saskatoon’s high-energy alternative rock band Bombargo before jamming to a set of eclectic bluesy rock from The Barrelmen. A storm rolled in over the mountains and Halifax band Hillsburn took to the stage with a celtic mix of earthy folk rhythms offering a taste of the Maritimes to the festival. The rain continued to drizzle as we chilled out to the west coast vibe of Vancouver Island based singer-songwriter wiL but when Rosie & The Riveters brought their flamboyant vintage flavour and uplifting harmonies to the spotlight, the grey clouds parted revealing a golden aura while a full rainbow spanned the horizon. It was an inspiring moment and Birds of Bellwoods had no trouble keeping it alive. They had everyone jumping right from their opening song. With all this magic, it seemed the day couldn’t possibly get any better but then Saturday night headliner Delhi 2 Dublin blew us away with an insane mash up of electronic and acoustic that can only be described as ‘wow’. What an incredible night!
Waking up on Sunday morning a little bleary eyed, the hardiest of folkies rugged up and headed back to the festival grounds for a final lazy day of folk ’n blues. Jasper’s own The Stone Mountaineers got right down to it playing a feel-good mix of indie-folk covers. A hot coco chai was the perfect fix, taking the edge off an icy wind as we kicked back listening to The Fig & The Flame’s upbeat style of folksy jazz. Houles Gold was back sharing some local love with their catchy tune ‘Oh Jasper’ before a group of local musicians got together for the final jam. The festival closed out with another appearance by opening act Warrior Women who joined with the audience in a friendship circle moving to the beat of an ethnic drum.