Watching the “Young and the Restless”: A Folk Fest Experiment

What do you get when you throw together folk bands, one of which who called their music “therapeutic” with a Celtic-Bhangra band who takes their audience on an “acid trip” as they called it, with their electronic based beats, and get them to play random songs together? This isn’t the start of a bad joke – but it had the potential to be.

On Friday, August 9 unexpected magic happened at the Edmonton Folk Festival on stage 6, when the “Young and the Restless” session featuring The Head and the Heart, Neko Case, Rayland Baxter, and Delhi 2 Dublin took the stage all at once. All four bands played ten minute sets and then finished with an improvised performance which all four bands participated in all at once.

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Picture of The Head and the Heart taken by Vic Mittal of VSM Photography.

As the name of the session suggests, all performers were young adults who brought a “youthful”, confident energy to the music they performed. But this isn’t what made their performance that day, successful. It worked because all bands were having a conversation with each other through their music about love and culture and even about hanging out and talking with Jesus (based on a lighthearted, humorous dream that Rayland Baxter once had and then decided to turn into a song), within a safe place – indeed, kind of like an onstage therapy session. All four bands talked/performed without pressuring each other or competing with one another to overshadow the other’s performances.

So what do you get in the end? A blend of styles that showed the audience that music always has room to surprise, amuse, and charm listeners as it did at “The Young and the Restless”.

See my review for Marker Magazine here: http://markermagazine.com/a-folk-fest-experiment/

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7 comments

  1. Delhi 2 Dublin played earlier today at the Edinburgh Mela Festival – they were incredible! I don’t think I’ve ever heard punjabi mixed with breakbeat before.

      1. Definitely. Got the crowd (and myself) jumping at any rate. Unfortunately no, I was working for most of today and only managed to catch them. Managed to see Dance Ihayami, which was beautiful, and the tail-end of a Capoeira vs tango re-imagination of Romeo & Juliet. I’d wanted to see the whole thing, but the programme had changed its times and I missed it 😦

      2. That’s too bad! I’ll definitely have to check out some of the acts you mentioned though — I love discovering new music! I noticed you like to review theatre :). So you must have went to the Fringe? I’d love to travel next year and come see it.

      3. Yeah, it’s my own stupid fault really. I was the one checking the artists in, I should’ve remembered!
        A wee bit, yeah 🙂 I like discussing performance ideas and why people do them.
        I was indeed. I’m from and live here, kinda hard to get around it, ha. I was Deputy Stage Managing and Sound Op-ing a 26 showrun. Bit intense, but can’t knock experience! It gets bigger every year 🙂

      4. That’s amazing! It must be pretty sweet to see the artists close up :D. Well who knows maybe when I come by for the Fest someday we’ll run into each other lol.

  2. For the most part, yeah. Management for one of the group’s was a bit dickish, though, and I eventually lost track of what she was asking. Otherwise they were all very friendly.
    Sounds like a plan 🙂

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