CityFolk Day Five: Bahamas, Rodriguez, Scott Helman

CityFolk festival goers were once again blessed with beautiful weather, completing the rare feat of five straight rainless days. While the final day was not spiked with big name celebrities, the acts consistently delighted, and there seemed to be a harmonious relationship between the audience and performer.

In a way, the lack of a famous headliner closing out the concert added to the charm of the day. Those in attendance appeared to be primarily returning guests, and had already been to a few shows. Being the fifth straight day of festivities, volunteers, boutique owners, and concert goers all seemed warm and familiar with one another, setting the stage for a beautiful closing party.

While the beginning of the day saw a smaller turn out, the first real draw was Bahamas. Hundreds of people crowded around the main stage in anticipation for the Canadian singer.

In today’s music industry, much is made about artist’s style, wardrobe and “hip” factor. Apparently Bahamas, whose real-name is Afie Jurvanen, did not get that message, as he strutted onto stage wearing baggy pants, an oversized t-shirt and a camouflage baseball cap. Being so used to watching performers tailor a perfect image, his down-to-earth style was refreshing.

On top of having an excellent voice and abilities on the guitar, Jurvanen had an incredible stage presence. He included improvised jokes and told some stories about his day in Ottawa. Having attended numerous shows over the past year, I truly felt as if Bahamas was the least pretentious act I have seen play in a while. His style, coupled with the fantastic songs he played and his humour, made them one of the most memorable acts of the fest.

The night was capped off by two musicians with extremely contrasting, but equally admirable styles. On the main City Stage, an older crowd listen attentively as iconic folk singer Rodriguez stunned them with his soft voice.

Simultaneously, on the inside stage, Scott Helman and his band were lighting up the younger audience with his pop hits. After watching Rodriguez perform for just under an hour, walking into Helman’s set felt like entering a new world.

Throngs of young adults belted out every word of his song, professing their love to the singer and cheering loudly. Helman and his band engaged brilliantly with the audience, helping them sing and expressing their love back to their fans on numerous occasions.

Considering every act had been relatively calm that day, having Scott Helman close off the night was a prime example of CityFolk’s diversity.

After the final notes were played, the crowd shuffled on out of Lansdowne Park, satisfied from a great five days, and eager for what next year’s festival will bring.