All airports have three-letter identifying codes. Dublin is DUB, London Heathrow is LHR, Sydney International is SYD…so far, so decipherable. The Canadian airports’ codes, for some reason that I can’t Wikipedia right now, begin with ‘Y’. Toronto Pearson is YYZ and Edmonton, where I’m currently flying from, is YEG. Whatever the reason, it works brilliantly in this day and age of hashtags. Canadians are famously proud of where they’re from (backpackers sewing flags on their packs is a charming cliché), and using these tags online is another example of that instinct.
Last night we played the main stage of the Edmonton Folk Festival. I had a thoroughly enjoyable day and was really really impressed by the hospitality we were shown as well as the myriad little touches that belie the festival’s strong ethos and thirty year history.
The stages are set at the bottom of steep hills, creating natural amphitheatres. The deal is that you bring a tarpaulin and literally stake your claim. (There’s a prize to be won each year of being the first on site, so you can get the best spot.) Festival goers can get little tealights so, for us on stage, that meant looking out at a twinkling tidal wave, topped last night by a beautiful yellow moon.
It’s probably a bit vulgar to talk too much about how well we get treated sometimes. (Naturally, sometimes it’s exactly the opposite!) Edmonton was lovely, though. The festival is staffed by a veritable army of volunteers — three or four thousand, we reckoned — and it gives a reassuring sense of community and calm to the proceedings. Massage, expert tea brewers (a big plus for we Irish!), tasty food, blankets and extra layers and umbrellas for the uncharacteristic rain and cold we had yesterday, a work station manned by technicians who could do repairs to instruments and amps, and a million other things that succeeded in the fact that they *weren’t* obvious.
A huge bonus for me was that my favourite band of this year, Lucius, were playing straight after us. Despite our very early start this morning, I was able to stay and hear their entire set. It was the first time I’d seen them perform live, and they were brilliant! Definitely a band to go and see if you get the chance 😀