Regina Folk Festival poise Winterruption for success
author: mac brock | a&c editor
A preview of the all-star lineup for the upcoming festival.
The Regina Folk Festival has long reigned supreme on bringing world-class artists to Regina. Last year, they decided having one massive performance weekend, a sold-out concert series, and a loyal Regina following was not good enough for our city. They teamed up with the Broadway Theatre in Saskatoon to present the first ever Winterruption, a cooperative festival between our two cities that brought the hottest acts in Canada to the coldest time of the year. With its second iteration coming up in January 2017, the Carillon looked through the recently announced lineup to give you a preview into the biggest weekend of the winter.
January 19 – The Exchange
This Ontario trio is no stranger to the Saskatchewan stage. Their five albums have been Polaris-shortlisted, Juno-winning, venue-selling successes that get crowds on their feet worldwide. Their music transcends the lines between country, folk, and rock to give a new definition to Canadiana and make it clear why they are headlining the first night at the Exchange.
Where to start: “If I Get Old” – Days Into Years
Take Sia’s emotional bravado, Lady Gaga’s signature flair, and Beyonce’s grandiose production, turn them all on their head and add a shot of the true north, then you get this Winnipeg-born powerhouse. She challenges her influences and dances between her Cree/Dene and Irish roots. Nobody in Canada does R&B, hip-hop, and chart-topper pop like IsKwe.
Where to start: “Slack Jaw” – IsKwe
Also at this venue – Begonia: The dark, courageous and introspective songwriter.
January 19 – The Artesian
Rosie + the Riveters
Headlining the Artesian for the opening night of the festival is this Saskatchewan-born-and-raised quartet of strong, sassy women. They dance, holler, and charm together to make their live shows unforgettable. Their ‘40s doo-wop style earns them universal acclaim for their world-class album, Good Clean Fun, and their wildly fun live shows.
Where to start: “Dancing ‘Cause of My Joy” – Good Clean Fun
Grab a dictionary, and look up “hometown hero.” You will find a picture of Danny Olliver. His complex, string-picking melodies and haunting lyrics make his accomplished records rich works of art with unlimited replay value. Danny has toured Canada extensively and just got off his second European tour. This local talent is sure to become a global star.
Where to start: “Space in Between” – Danny Olliver
Also at this venue – Quique Escamilla: The Mexican ranchera activist star.
January 20 – The Exchange
Said the Whale
This west-coast five-piece has not slowed down for six years, and shows no signs of slowing down yet. The singles from their four all-star folk-rock albums have charted across the country. They hit a new status in 2011 when their U.S. tour was the subject of the CBC documentary, Winning America. They have been releasing teasers from their long-awaited fifth album, and it will certainly not disappoint on stage at the Exchange.
Where to start: “Safe to Say” – Hawaii
When small-town Saskatchewan singer Matt Goud steps up to the mic under the moniker Northcote, something special happens. His soft speaking voice fades into a soulful, powerhouse belt that makes any club into a cathedral. He infuses the traditional country hymns of his youth with punk-rock flavour that has the power to heal, rock, and lift.
Where to start: “You Could Never Let Me Down” – Hope is Made of Steel
(Writer’s note: I have limited song recommendations to recent releases to give a good taste of their current live shows. But with Northcote, I would be remiss to leave out “Energy,” from 2009 release Borrowed Chords, Tired Eyes. After hundreds of plays, it still sends shivers with each listen.)
Also at this venue – The Garrys: the decade-bending garage-folk sisters.
January 20 – The Artesian
Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids
This live, personal storytelling event has taken the entire nation by storm. At readings across the country, adults bravely take the stage and read back into childhood memories, at times both hilarious and heartbreaking. Though the evening is sure to be entertaining, it promises beyond that to reconnect you with who you once were.
January 21 – The Exchange
This folk legend has owned the songwriter game for over two decades. No genre has gone untouched and unchanged by Connie’s prairie spirit and intimate reflections. Her music transports its listeners to quiet grassland sunrises and raucous small-town nights. The stage is a second home for Connie, and her headline spot for the closing night at the Exchange gives you a chance to take a seat at the table she has rightfully earned.
Where to start: “Saskatoon Moon” – Wood River
Also at this venue – Heather Bishop: The award decorated, industry-celebrated recipient of the prestigious Order of Canada.
Annette: The folk-rock songwriter who has been ahead of the game since the early ‘90s.
January 21 – The Artesian
There’s very good reason that boss-lady Sandra Butel chose Danny Michel to close Winterruption at the Artesian. He is one of our nation’s forefront songwriters at the peak of his game. He is unpredictable, indefinable, and unstoppable. His music takes him across the world, including his upcoming release Khlebnikov, recorded aboard the Russian icebreaker with the same name on a voyage through the arctic. Do not miss this showstopper.
Where to start: “Click Click” – Matadora
Also at this venue – William Prince: The Western Canadian Music Award winner for Roots and Aboriginal Artist of the Year with stunning baritone vocals.
Mohsin Zaman: The Middle-Eastern rising star taking Alberta’s music scene by storm.
Tickets are on sale now at reginafolkfestival.com. These shows will sell out, so make sure to pick out your must-sees from our preview.