Concertgoers get a warm treat at fourth annual Westfest
Fine weather accompanies a perfect lineup, delighting 10,000 fans who crowded the stage
If last night’s Westfest was a harbinger of summer nights to come, this year’s festival season is laughing.
Ottawa’s alt-country darling Kathleen Edwards headlined the show, taking the stage as a perfect day eased into a fine, warm evening.
Joined on guitar by her husband Colin Cripps and longtime music pal Jim Bryson on guitar, keyboard and harmonica, Edwards sang Good Things, the appropriate Summerlong, Six O’Clock News and a string of others.
Edwards and company settled almost immediately into a tasty groove, rootsy on several tunes and rocking out elsewhere, especially with Cripps’ solo on Back to Me.
Clearly enjoying the hometown crowd, Edwards also performed Asking for Flowers, a new tune that mines weariness as only she can.
She used In State, a bad-guy-headed-for-prison tune, to joke about how she used to watch for speed traps at the Chelsea exit as she headed to her former home in Wakefield. “If you stay at 119, you’re fine; 120, you’re f---ed.”
After a storm put Friday’s concert with Shanneyganock on hold for the better part of an hour, organizers of the free, fourth annual Westfest were elated at the weather last night.
Equally delighted were the approximately 10,000 fans who crowded the stage area and flowed far back over the smoothly run festival site on a closed-off section of Richmond between Golden and McCrae.
The long list of acts before Edwards included pop/folk musician Lindsay Ferguson. Sporting LED high heels and a fiery sunburn, the Wakefield singer put her big, expressive voice to fine use on tunes like Touch of Sin, from her new album Sound, and Bloodstream.
Also on yesterday’s bill were chanteuse Lily Frost and Toronto singer/songwriter Jason Collett, whose good looks and bittersweet tunes netted him a bevy of young female audience members hanging on his every note.
Watching over last night’s show from balconies were a steadily growing number of residents of the new condo building overlooking the stage. At one point in her show, referring to the Sens’ ill-fated Stanley Cup run, Edwards asked, “Would you have put a big screen on your balcony if there’d been a Game Six?”
Westfest continues today with theatre and spoken word performances in the morning. Noon to 11 p.m. features Ottawa music favourites including Ana Miura, Slo’ Tom, the John Henrys and others. The Fiftymen close out the night and the festival.
For more information on the festival, go to westfest.ca.