With summer comes all variety of music festivals, from the action-packed and crowded to the calm and pastoral – this latter kind is exactly what the Montreal Folk Fest on the Canal embodies. The festival draws big names like this year’s headliner Roger McGuinn of The Byrds, and gathers some of Montreal and Canada’s best folk, bluegrass and country-inspired rock musicians to play under the June sun…
As with most genres of music, folk music can mean many things to many people. Montreal’s 6th annual Folk Fest on the Canal, June 12-16, happens to have a fair bit of rock grit and bluegrass twang in it. In that vein, the festival kicks off its indoor programming on June 12 with An Evening with Roger McGuinn, member of The Byrds and a veteran of Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue, playing songs old and new on guitar and banjo, at the Georges-Vanier Cultural Centre. The next night, Tim O’Brien, one of the inventors of contemporary bluegrass dishes up old-time music with a vengeance, backed up by his band Hot Rize. And Friday night gets the Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre hopping with bluegrass band The Travelin’ McCourys.
Bring a blanket or a lawn chair down to the festival’s Lachine Canal stage, set up near the Atwater Market for the weekend of June 15-16. Not only will the air fill with music all afternoon on both days, but the shows are free. On Saturday, arrive at 1 p.m. for Maxime Lefebvre, followed by sing-along-able Lakes of Canada, Black Twig Pickers, Claytones, Will Driving West, Old Man Luedecke, and end-of-the-night party makers, The Sadies. On Sunday, Dylan Perron et Élixir de Gumbo strums up classic Americana, followed by The Franklin Electric, The Once, the rollicking and lovely Ladies of the Canyon, and the powerful songs of Quebec’s Catherine Durand.
For those wanting to make a full weekend of it, with or without the family, the Folk Festival on the Canal teams up with Parks Canada for an Urban Camping experience on June 15. Set up your own or a borrowed (from Mountain Equipment Co-op) tent not far from the festival site along the water and among the trees. The campground becomes a quiet slice of nature in an urban setting, complete with amenities, evening snacks, a community camp fire, breakfast and more.
Folk Fest on the Canal, June 12-16, 2013