I wasn't at the very first Edmonton Folk Music Festival held in the summer of 1980. No, my first experience came a few years later. On that occasion, I remember spending a couple of days under a crude plastic shelter while the heavens opened relentlessly and the temperature was cold enough to make your teeth chatter. It didn't seem to matter, however, because the vibe was magical and the music was fabulous.
I attended various renditions of EFMF in the years that followed, eventually joining the legions of folks who serve as Festival volunteers. I spent 8 years on the Festival's media crew, running all over the site linking artists to media people who wanted to interview them. Just writing this, memories flood back of all the wonderful people I met and sometimes even befriended - so many fellow volunteers, artists such as Miriam and Amadou, Steve Earle, Jim Cuddy, wonderful Festival organizers such as artistic director Terry Wickham, volunteer co-ordinator Vicki Fannon and the legendary production manager Don Snider.
One time I was in too much of a hurry while on assignment and ran around a corner behind main stage, only to almost bowl over Alison Krauss with her fiddle. If looks could kill... And I was there the night that lightning hit one of the sound towers near mainstage as k.d. lang was finishing her performance. And there was the year that I went to the volunteers after-party at the Edmonton Inn and, dead-tired at 4 in the morning, sat in a small room packed with people, listening to Alejandro Escovedo and his musical pals playing an amazing set of beautiful acoustic music.
EFMF was the one place and the one time where I could guarantee that I would see almost everyone I knew in Alberta at least once. Over the years, the Festival has evolved, no longer just an entertainment event but a giant community of connected people. I love that there are tens of thousands of us who share the same magical memories and who came to love the same extraordinary light and sound of the Festival on Gallagher Hill.
No other stories have been submitted at this lobstick.