Folk Fest Sur le Canal, by now my favorite summertime event in Montreal, returns for its ninth year with lineup that includes several interesting indoor concerts in venues near the Lachine Canal and three days of outdoor concerts along its banks featuring many performers I’ve enjoyed for years and others I’ve not heard before.
For a second year the outdoor events are taking place at Lachine Canal Park’s Centennial Esplanade near the corner of Saint Patrick and Pitt Streets.
The festival traditionally opens with a gala concert featuring a legendary folk artist. This year it will be John McEuen, a mainstay for a half-century with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and a solo performer and collaborator-extraordinaire known for his virtuosity on banjo, fiddle, mandolin and guitar. John performs Wednesday, June 15, 8:00 pm, at the George Vanier Cultural Centre (2450 Workman).
On Thursday, June 16, 8:00 pm, the festival presents a concert called The Future is Bright: A Glimpse in the Next Era of Montreal Folk featuring three young performers – Stefanie Parnell, Alexander Brown and Tamara Weber-Fillion – the festival says “are poised to achieve great things.” The concert takes place at Maison de la culture Marie-Uguay (6052 Monk).
On Friday, June 17, 9:00 pm, the festival is presenting A Long Strange Trip: The Songs of the Grateful Dead, a one-time-only event featuring Joe Grass, Andrew Barr, Brad Barr, Steve Hill, Katie Moore, Li’l Andy, Peter Mika, Colin Perry, Notre Dame de Grass and others. With so much great material to draw on this should be a great evening at the Paradoxe Theatre (5959 Monk).
Also on Friday, June 17, from 5:00 pm and again Saturday and Sunday, June 18 and 19, the festival shifts to Centennial Esplanade (corner of St. Patrick and Pitt) for lots of concerts and other activities – all free of charge – featuring a diverse selection of artists.
|Sheesham and Lotus and Son|
Highlights of the Friday schedule at Centennial Esplanade includes concerts by Sussex, a terrific new Montreal band fronted by Rob Lutes that combines roots and jazz influences and instrumentation, and Sheesham and Lotus and Son, whose music is rooted in old-time folk, blues, country and traditional jazz.
Among the Saturday highlights are concerts with children’s music legends Sharon and Bram; Montreal’s Notre Dame de Grass, one of the best bluegrass bands in Canada; and Joel Plaskett, who moves easily and naturally between roots and pop music.
Sunday’s highlights includes concerts with Shtreiml, perhaps Canada’s most creative klezmer ensemble; acclaimed Montreal songwriter Katie Moore; Calgary-based Lizzy Hoyt, who moves easily between traditional folksongs and her own contemporary material; Richard Shindell, a superb American singer-songwriter (now living in Argentina), whose recordings I often featured on the Folk Roots/Folk Branches radio show; and a collaboration between Socalled, who has creatively combined hip hop and Jewish music, and Yves Lambert, a legend of Quebec traditional music and the former front man of La Bottine Souriante.
Ticket information for the indoor concerts and VIP section in the park, the complete schedule and all the other information you might need are on the festival website.
Congratulations again to Matt Large and Rebecca Anderson of Hello Darlin’ Productions and Carl Comeau of Hyperbole Music for founding the Montreal Folk Fest on the Canal and developing it into the great event it has become.