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Photo Beth Girdler
David, Geoff and Dave in a workshop with Kate Rusby, Bill Borne and The Be Good Tanyas in Vancouver

 
Hullo all, hope this finds you well. I seem to be writing these postcards at the same rate I'm writing real postcards. Slowly and sporadically. When last I wrote we were just returning to Victoria and preparing to roll up Island to Duncan for the Islands Folk Festival. That we did, stopping numerous times to gape, slack-jawed at the unfolding vistas that were so prevalent on that particular stretch of highway. It's breathtakingly beautiful.

Duncan is the Totem Pole capital of Canada, for good reason. It seems as if there is a pole on every corner - each one unique in style and content. It was interesting learning to interpret them and to see the various styles of the carvers. Whereas there is a definite link to the legends and myths represented by the figures, the artist has the scope to define his own vision of the story. These of course varied greatly, the end result being that each pole was interesting in its own right.

The Islands Folk Festival had the feel of a family picnic with music, very much a meeting of the tribes. The array of talent was astonishing and the relatively small size of the festival was a boon for public and performers both. For me the musical highlight had to be Tri-continental's evening performance - a hypnotic and entrancing guitar trio - each one superb on his own but an intricate and integral piece of the musical whole. With the sun just setting and the driving over for a few days, they were a wonderful welcome to the site. The festival takes place in a valley meadow, surrounded by trees and mountains, on the grounds of an old convent school. We were fortunate to play our final set of the weekend in the Chapel, an acoustic gem of a room. We were made wonderfully welcome at our pal Pablo's log house, an impossibly beautiful setting in a valley not far from the site. Turn left at the stone railway bridge and turn onto Uphill Road. I can't think of a better street name. Geoff and I walked down the hill to the wooden bridge and, amidst a vast silence, stared in contentment at the river. For myself, at any rate, it was one of life's perfect moments.

One side light to the festival that shines particularly bright for me was unexpectedly seeing my friend Blair Lewis and his partner Lindsay from the mainstage, only to be joined by my erstwhile pal Keith Crockatt and family. I was momentarily taken aback upon discovering the Rousell brothers, also ex Peterborough boys, there as well. Welcome to old home week. It was a lovely visit and nice to get caught up on the intervening 20 odd years. Keith has his pilot's license and mentioned that he would be flying over the site in his float plane the next day. The festival closed the afternoon of the next day and it found the band and Colin involved in a continually expanding game of hacky sac. (It expanded when a young girl asked to join in and mentioned that everybody else who had a game going looked too good to join. The truth hurts.) At any rate, there came a drone of a float plane overhead and with the band frantically waving and yelling like stranded sailors, the wings dipped side to side in an unmistakable salute and yet another goodbye was said, albeit a rather special one.

Our return to the mainland was bittersweet, a mix of anticipation of the journey ahead and a reluctance to leave behind what had been so pleasurable and unique. The ferry ride from Nanaimo was a fittingly beautiful farewell.

I think I'll end here for now and will write about the Okanogan leg in the next card. Until then, stay well and happy and enjoy the summer.

From all of us to all of you, all good things,

 


Friday, August 3
Duncan and beyond

David Francey appearing next week:

August 3-4
Jasper Folk Festival
Jasper, Alberta

Click here for the complete summer schedule...
 

 
   

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