What a weekend it promises to be on the hills of Gallagher Park. The Edmonton Folk Music Festival lineup has almost too many amazing musicians to mention, but I’ll give it a shot.
It starts Friday at 6 p.m. with the first of the session shows on the side stages. Choose from individual artists like The Waifs (6 p.m. on Stage 1), or check out a jam session featuring Ray Bonneville, Debashish Bhattacharya, Calum Graham and Tony McManus (7:30 p.m. on Stage 3).
It all leads up to three amazing performances on the main stage starting at 9 p.m. The Levon Helm Band opens, followed by Calexico at 10:30 p.m. The evening is set to end on a high note with the African beats of Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba at 11:45 p.m.
The music ends at 12:30 a.m., leaving less than 12 hours of rest before heading back to the hill for the Saturday sessions starting at 11 a.m.
All seven of the side stages will be alive with the sound of music until 2 p.m., when they’ll shut down and the crowds will make their way back to the main stage for a performance by Alejandro Escovedo & the Sensitive Boys.
As soon as Alejandro and his boys are finished, the sessions start up again until 6 p.m.
Saturday evening’s main stage schedule will keep folkies grooving for six-and-a-half hours.
Dailey & Vincent kick it off at 6 p.m., followed by Vieux Farka Touré, Sarah Harmer, Brandi Carlile and finally, Colin Hay closes it down for the night starting at 11:15 p.m.
Skip church on Sunday, because sessions start up once again at 11 a.m. and the schedule is much the same as Saturday’s.
At 2 p.m. Te Vaka will take the main stage before it’s back to the side stages.
The finale starts at 6 p.m. with Aterciopelados. Four Men & a Dog are next followed by folk legend Bob Dylan’s son Jakob Dylan & the Three Legs.
And finally, before a group rendition of “Four Strong Winds” closes the curtain on another fantastic festival, legendary singer/songwriter John Prine will dig deep into his musical arsenal, and is sure to wow the crowd once again.
Oh, and did I mention the beer garden? That opened Thursday, and if I’m not on the hill, that’s where you’ll find me.