Another OCFF conference is in the books, and it was probably my favourite so far. Big thanks and congrats to Peter, Jennifer, Bob, the OCFF board, and all of the great volunteers, with a shout-out to Kim for helping out with my social media panel (oh, and with the exception of Aly, who pretty much ate all of the chocolate at the Bandzoogle table). [nggallery id=1] I had the time of my life at OCFF 2011, and it was another reminder of how wonderful the folk community is. Here are some personal highlights:
Being Interviewed by Andy Frank
I had the privilege of being interviewed for an educational video series for the OCFF being put together by Andy Frank (Frankcasting/Roots Music Canada). I had a blast reconnecting with him and doing the interview. But Andy, you made the rest of us look bad with your slick suits, you looked like a million bucks sir!
Estelle Klein Award Presentation & Paul Mills Tribute Video
Speaking of Andy Frank, he did an absolutely wonderful job putting together the video tribute to the 2011 Estelle Klein Award recipient, Paul Mills. And I would like to take this opportunity to both congratulate and apologize to Mr. Mills. You see, sometimes members of the younger generations (speaking for myself) have a tendency to focus on the present and the future, and don’t take the time to examine what came before us. We can read bios, or hear things from other people, but watching that video really made an impact on me. I don’t think I truly appreciated the work that has been done by real pioneers like Paul Mills, who are responsible for building this vibrant and wonderful community. So thank you sir, we owe so much to you, and to put it mildly, this was a well-deserved honour. I’m grateful I was there to witness it.
Moderating Social Media Panel with Tom Power as Panelist
Because of a scheduling conflict, I found out 24 hours before my social media panel that I would actually be moderating it, not just serving as a panelist. I think it turned out just fine, and the highlight for me was having Tom Power, host of Deep Roots on CBC Radio 2, as a surprise panelist. The guy is a superstar, and it was great to get the perspective of a member of the media on that panel.
Some Musical Highlights:
- Annabelle Chvostek: An old friend from the Montreal folk scene, her voice gives me goosebumps every time.
- Lindy: Same goes for Lindy, his vocals are shiver-inducing. Can’t wait for the new album.
- The Sweetness: Probably my favourite discovery at OCFF this year, and admittedly I have a huge crush on the band (actually on 3/4’s of the band, so that would be everyone except Aly; see above comments re: stealing our chocolate). They create a different vibe with their show than most other acts, and the combination of 4 individually talented artists has obviously resulted in something special. A band to watch out for.
- C.R. Avery: Had heard his name before, but didn’t know what to expect, certainly was not expecting a beat-boxing/harmonica playing/spoken word artist. Holy wow that was good.
- Dave Gunning: His storytelling & impersonation of Ron Hynes were incredible!
- Lake of Stew: One of the best bands in the Montreal music scene, I was so proud to see them showcase officially, as the band includes a few childhood friends and the singer for my old pop-punk band from way back when I was a teenager. My hands hurt after their showcase from clapping along to their songs, so much fun.
- Ember Swift: Watching Ember put on a great performance, 7+ months preggers and all, during the Global Cafe showcase was a reminder that she is truly one of the best live performers around.
- Suzie Vinnick: So much talent wrapped into such a lovely human being, totally have a crush on her now (don’t worry James Dean, your name is much cooler than mine).
- The Magnificent 7’s: Bandzoogle CEO David Dufresne highly recommended this band, and he was right, they’re a lot of fun, thoroughly enjoyed watching them.
- Rob Szabo: I had the pleasure of booking Rob many times in Montreal, easily one of the nicest human beings I’ve come across. I was thrilled to see him up there during his official showcase, and he played my favourite song “I Live for the Summer” with a very special guest, Peter Katz, who is another wonderful singer-songwriter. I think I might have man-crushes on both of them. Love those guys.
- Gospel Jam: For obvious reasons. It was also great to meet some fellow gospel choir geeks (that’s you Andrea Simms-Karp!)
I’m probably forgetting some, and there were so many showcases that I planned on attending that I didn’t because of the craziness of the conference, but thank you to all the artists that performed, you bring tremendous joy into our lives.