The first Folk Fest in three years is over, and we’re already dreaming of 2023 on the Hill! Keep the weekend alive in your memory with 5 of our favourite Folk Fest 2022 moments.
Forget headliners, local talent was the true star of the show!
- At this year’s festival, local artists took the Main Stage in between sets. Undeterred by the crew members moving musical equipment behind them, these emerging artists lit up the stage with two or three songs. Sometimes it was an original, sometimes it was a cover, but it was always amazing. Musicians like Amanda Penner, Emmet Michael, Wyatt C. Louis, Lindon Carter, and Celeigh Cardinal stunned the crowd with their impactful vocals and proved that the Albertan music scene is in good hands.
Just kidding, the headliners were pretty stellar too.
- Each night of Folk Fest 2022 held a memorable moment. Whether it was an Orville Peck impersonator jumping on stage during the encore or Matt Berninger of The National jumping into the crowd at least 6 times, the Main Stage acts had audiences on their feet. While Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, The War on Drugs, and Larkin Poe had people rocking out, one artist paid homage to the festival in a way that was particularly noteworthy. Grammy-nominated Allison Russell took the time between songs to remark on how the Edmonton Folk Music Festival gave her a family when she needed one most. After running away from home, Russell first played the festival when she was 19 and has dreamt of playing the Main Stage ever since. For Russell, Folk Fest provided an opportunity to connect with the folk music community and find family among other artists like Brandi Carlile, Valerie June, and many others. Blending her narrative seamlessly with song, Russell’s set was a weekend highlight that won’t be fading from our memory anytime soon.
No more plate program, no more beer garden, (almost) no more single-use plastics.
“What, no more beer garden? I can take my drink anywhere?” “Why aren’t the kids asking to return my plate for me?” With fully licensed grounds and the Reusable Plate Program on hold due to COVID, long-time Folk Fest fans noted small changes with this year’s festival. Being able to buy a drink and take it back to your tarp was definitely a highlight, even despite the particularly lengthy lines. And even though reusable plates were absent, Folk Fest did their best to foreground sustainability by using compostable wares and limiting the usage of plastics.
But other things we love stuck around: a wonderful artisan market and mouth-watering food vendors!
- What better way to kill time between sets than perusing the wares of local Edmonton makers? Festival-goers were delighted to see Edmonton favourites like Prairie Poly, North Side Girls, and Smithstine Copper selling their signature items. Other highlights included In Loving Colour Studio, Black Bar Creative Studio, and Heather Shepherd Ceramics.
- Hungry from all the dancing? Folk Fest food vendors provided delicious dishes on eco-friendly plates! Long-timed food vendors like Padmanadi and Rustixx Wood Fired Pizza were on site for another year. We also loved grabbing food from Filistix, Honest Dumplings, and Langano Skies Ethiopian Restaurant. Ice cream from Sosyal Scoops was a wonderful and refreshing treat in the weekend heat!
At the end of the day, our biggest Folk Fest take-away was a strong sense of community.
The ambience on the Hill has always been unlike anything else, but this year felt extra special. Even before the show started, the sound of tarps unfurling and hammers driving pegs into the ground was music to our ears. When the shows did start, you could count on a dance party breaking out in the front row. Neighbours lent a helping hand whenever possible, and dedicated volunteers were always around to point you in the right direction. At the end of the night, community members checked in with each other to ensure everyone got home safely. After several tough years, one thing was clear: Edmontonians were very happy to finally return to their home on the Hill—and are sure to return in 2023.
What was your favourite Folk Fest moment? Comment below and let us know what we missed!