CityFolk Day Three: The Fred Penner experience

CityFolk’s third day was a soggy one to say the least. With everything from light showers to absolute downpours, it was one heck of a wet night. Yet, despite the weather, people came in throngs to see the night’s performances. I might even go as far as saying this day might have had the most people in attendance, at least when it came to the indoor shows.

Thanks to the rain and a raging cold that I have been fighting, I stayed inside for the majority of the night and switched back and forth between the BMO and the RavenLaw stages. I started the night off with a throwback to my childhood and decided to go watch Fred Penner perform.

Over the course of his career, Penner has recorded 12 studio albums for kids and is still going strong. He was a blast to listen to and didn’t stop for a second. He had his audience of kids and parents completely involved, dancing and singing away. This might actually have been my favourite crowd the festival has had so far. Penner closed out his set with “You Are My Sunshine,” leaving the audience to sing the final verse on their own, as he smiled and waved good-bye. He returns tomorrow to play the BMO stage again.

After Fred Penner, I jogged through the rain over to the RavenLaw stage where another super enthusiastic crowd was just beginning their fun with Hadrian’s Wall. The country band from Glengarry, Ont. had their crowd up and dancing about like it was nobody’s business.

People were dancing with their kids and their partners in circles. Every way you looked, there was someone with a smile plastered on their face and dancing away. Aside from the dancing, the band was great. They were dynamic and funny, and were even taking requests from the crowd throughout the show. I was very happy I got to see all of this go down. It reminded me of why I love festivals so much.

After two very exciting crowds and performances, I went back once again to the BMO stage to take it down a notch with Julia Jacklin. Her sound was relaxing and romantic, something you’d expect to hear on a rainy night. Her songs were beautiful stories of a life being lived and brought a nice calm to both the storm outside and the storm of people crowded around the stage.

If anything, the layout saved the day for people who did not want to get wet, and even brought a little more attention to the vendors that have been set up in the Horticulture Building. At the end of the day, the rain brought everyone a little bit closer together, both out of necessity and for the love of music.

The night may have been cold and wet, but the music was heartfelt and happy. It seemed as though it was a night for true, unadulterated enjoyment for everyone in attendance, and I can’t help but hope it carries over into tomorrows closing shows.