Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mariposa Folk Festival 2011...That’s A Wrap!

From the Main Stage at Mariposa
     I wandered the Festival grounds iPhone in hand and camera in bag looking for those shots that would tell the story of the weekend, you know that picture...The singer in mid song...the child running through the trees with no care in the world...festival friends sharing a laugh they can only share but once a year...did I find them? maybe, but what I discovered that weekend was much more, and that always seems to happen as The Mariposa Folk Festival transforms a small park in Orillia, Ontario Canada into a place to relax, enjoy great music and share. 

      A few performances really stayed with me after the finals notes had been played and the stages had been carried away and it just happens that both of them were on the new “Ruth” acoustic stage that was situated right behind the main stage. One of the performances was on Friday afternoon and it was the multitalented musician, playwright, film maker and all around great guy Bob Wiseman.  Bob was sitting on one lone chair with his foot tucked up underneath him talking to someone as I approached the stage area,  he was introduced and he jumped right into what he does best, telling great stories with his music...although he had to compete with Emmylou Harris’s sound check and a porta potty truck driving by he ended his small set standing on a chair playing an accordion...that about says it all (I was also lucky enough to sit down with Bob and interview him, that’s coming soon to SSGS). 

      I first had the pleasure of catching The Rucksack Willies when they played the Mariposa Showcase auditions back in May of this year and had made such a mark on me that I couldn’t wait to catch them at Mariposa, so when I saw on my phone courtesy of the new Mariposa App (shouts go out to Trevor Mills @ Top Quark for the great work on the App) that they would be playing the Ruth Stage I was all over it. Bluegrass/Country/Folk...The Rucksack Willies have it all and more, they took control of that small and very intimate stage and never let go of it.  

    And as all of you know by now the Saturday night “Surprise” artist was none other than Canada’s own Ron Sexsmith. Even though the secret had been let out of the bag the day before courtesy of CBC radio it was still very exciting to watch Ron perform, and when he brought up a very last minute special guest of his own...Bob Wiseman, (as Bob was going up on stage he asked me if I was recording this, I said yes..then to my horror I realized when I got home that night I had placed it on the wrong setting and it had not recorded...sorry Bob).

    Then the Saturday night headliner Miss Emmylou Harris took to the stage...the one time I was more excited to see a performer not just for her music, which is just as seductive to the ears today as it was when she began her career more than 40 years ago but for her story. I am a huge Gram Parsons fan, and to actually witness live in concert someone who knew and worked with Gram so personally was more than I could have ever asked for...thank you Mariposa.  

       The thousands of people that attend the Mariposa Folk Festival must understand that a festival like this just doesn’t happen; it’s a grass roots effort that takes hundreds upon hundreds of volunteers to pull it off, the guys that drive the artists around, the men and women who sit at the recycling stations guiding you to which bin to place your empty paper plate, the security that keeps all of the “rowdy” folkies in line and so on and so forth. 

     As I Tweeted and Facebooked pictures and updates all weekend long I felt closer to the festival more than I have ever, I talked more than I ever had to so many different people about music and about the Festival, it just really shone for me.  

       My wife and I have attended every Mariposa for the last 10 years (Except for the year our son Jackson passed away) and with our young son Ben ready to take on Festival life I don’t see us missing a Mariposa anytime soon. 

See everyone next year!

Joe Cornelisse-SSGS

Jim Bryson & The Weakerthans

My son Ben learning to play the drum
From the stage

Emmylou Harris

Emmylou and Ron

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