A&E » Music

Fortitude and folding chairs

Musical and meterological diversity at the 2nd Annual Pemberton Folk Festival



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4:45 p.m.

Having seen former Paperboys’ Moritz Behm and John Bottomley open for the Indigo Girls a couple years ago, I feel justified in packing up. They’re good, but not in the way that a hot shower is good.


8:00 p.m.

I position the evening’s festivities as a date to entice Spousal Equivalent. Having seen Wayne Lavallee in March (he rocked, we decide to skip him and keep Number One’s babysitting fees to a minimum.

Despite traveling with a substantial amount my own insulation, a T-shirt, hoodie, winter weight shell and a Thinsulate sleeping bag aren’t enough to stave off the winds of Pemberton.

The Mountain Bluebirds traditional bluegrass proves worth the discomfort. Initially plagued by horrendous sound problems, the six-piece band quickly wins over the audience with an enthusiastic set of traditional and original compositions.

9:30 p.m.

The Bruce Knauer Band sounds like this is their first gig out of the garage. Loud and self-indulgent, they decimate the pleasant groove created by The Mountain Bluebirds, mangling everything from the Beatles to Nina Simone. Cold and annoyed, we head out without seeing The Masses.


1:30 p.m.

The weather is the embodiment of the myth Pembertonians like to tell Whistlerites: 20°C and sunny.

Number Two, Favourite Friend and I arrive with the bare necessities: sleeping bag and a notebook.

While the boys enjoy an anti-Atkins lunch of rice, bannock and cookies, I’m drawn into the Catalan sounds of Lolo and Gerardo with dancer Afifa. Lolo looks familiar, but I can’t place him. Bingo! He’s custom cut a roast for me at the Pemberton Valley Supermarket!

2:00 p.m.

The boys rush back to centre stage wooed by the siren sound of The Blues Berries. Essentially a bar blues band doing kids’ music, they get the crowd up on its feet to dance along with boogie version of the "ABC" song. I "Hokey Pokey" for the first time in 35 years. Mercifully, I don’t "throw my whole back out".

3:00 p.m.

After trying to explain the purpose of a roach clip being sold at the Artisan’s Market to Number Two, I send him off to the face painting stand while I settle in to have a listen to The Bowen Boys, a fiddle, guitar and banjo-playing contemporary roots trio who are, in a word, superb.