Following a preliminary announcement that didn’t attract a lot of attention when it was first made on December 5 (your favourite music news magazine never even received a copy of it until it was forwarded by an artist today!) the Winterfolk Blues & Roots Festival has confirmed on its website today that after two years it is abandoning the concept of holding the weekend under one roof and will return to a “club crawl” concept by relocating back to Danforth Avenue for its twelfth edition Feb. 14-16, 2014.
In a newsletter published on its website Dec. 20, the venerable festival announces it will be taking place again at Black Swan Tavern, Dora Keogh and Terri O’s, where it had been staged before for several years until the 2011 edition, as well as at nearby newcomer Globe Bistro.
In the December 5 release festival director Brian Gladstone was paraphrased as explaining that “in the end the hotel atmosphere did not match the charm, vibrancy and character that the Danforth clubs and restaurants can provide.” No doubt attendees will also appreciate the much cheaper costs of getting food and drink, not to mention parking, back at the Danforth locale.
The festival had been held at clubs along the strip of Danforth just east of Broadview Avenue for seven consecutive years between 2004 and 2010, but moved to the then-Delta Chelsea (now Eaton-Chelsea) hotel on Gerrard St. West in downtown Toronto for two seasons. It’s not known whether the change of ownership since last year’s festival was a factor in the latest move, but as one person who has participated as an emcee and attendee at Winterfolk festivals in both locales I can testify that the lack of community “vibe” of the hotel experience was not outweighed by the convenience of being insulated from the elements in my mind. I personally can’t think of a more welcome bit of news coming from Winterfolk short of announcing that I’d be headlining the festival and earning $10,000 to do it!
The festival will in actuality present more than 150 very talented acts representing Folk, Roots, World and Blues genres, including headliners Lynn Miles, two-time Juno winner Jack de Keyzer and Ron Hynes. It will also, of course, put on its usual workshops, community showcases, awards ceremonies (including an Honouring Our Own tribute to Tony Quarrington co-presented by SongTown) and a fingerstyle guitar competition.
As always, the festival is also looking for volunteers who want to be part of the experience. For more information on that visit the Volunteers Wanted section of the festival’s website.
-by Gary 17