Blue Rodeo was the order of the day Sunday, backed with horns and playing to an all too excited crowd.
Despite Jim Cuddy and Co.'s mass appeal, the day was full of gems that cannot be overlooked. The side stages hosted the likes of Alberta's own Ann Vriend and the Dropouts, Whitehorse native Kim Barlow, the incredably fun Silver Hearts, Old Reliable and local staple Lorrie Matheson. Sessions paired the Waifs with Australian tribal dancers White Cockatoo, and saw three phenomenal blues acts (Ruthie Foster, T-Model Ford, and Cephas and Wiggins) share a single stage.
However, the mainstage lineup seemed oddly assembled. Low-key blues act Cephas and Wiggins, while giving a skillful performance, seemed out of place between the upbeat, lively sets of the Waifs and Sarah Harmer. And while the previous two nights were capped with adrenaline--whether Daniel Lanois' distortion pedal or Ani DiFranco's percussive guitar--headliner Ian Tyson slowed the pace to a crawl, potentially losing anyone who didn't know the words or appreciate "Four Strong Winds." (Jane Siberry's appearance during this song seemed unplanned and unwanted--she didn't even appear to know the words).
To the festival's credit, a weak ending to a great day of music--a great weekend of music--can be forgiven. With variety comes disappointment for some, and while you can't please everyone all the time, the Calgary Folk Music Festival couldn't have came any closer.