There are seats at most of the venues but not too many and the rush to get one can be intense. There is no reserve seating. No tarps to stake your land. After every artist, the venue is cleared and only after the sound check are people allowed in to find a spot to view the next band. This works very well and avoids having real estate sit empty waiting for one particular act. Not many people bring their own chairs and if you are near the front of the stage you stand.
At the Edmonton Folk Music Festival (EFMF) we sit at the venue and watch the sound check, here we queue outside the venue and wait for the sound check to be complete. For most of the venues there is a queue and when they open the gates it is not for the faint of heart. For the smaller venues your place in line determines whether or not you get in. For the larger stages it determines whether or not you have clear vision of the performers.
One big difference between here and home is the parking. Here it seems the parking restrictions are relaxed for this particular weekend. In Edmonton the parking restrictions are enhanced. I like the attitude here much better.
In Denmark, or at least at the Tonder Music Festival, beer is the new water. Debbie and I are on the festival site at 9.15am. 2 hours before the music starts. We are here to get tickets to a concert in one of the smaller venues. The beer vendors are already open.
Clapping to the music is always a thing at concerts. Even to my musically untrained ear the audience is always off beat. The first concert we attend in Tonder people started to clap. I noticed right away the clapping is in unison and in time with the fiddler’s foot stomp. The band was also amazed mentioning how good the audience kept the beat and how that never happens. Two days later a different band notes exactly the same thing.
We thought we could start a bit later today but as I perused the program I noticed the Lankum was ‘formerly known as’ Lynched. They should have been on our go to concert list and we missed. They play in the Bolero at 11.15am. In order to get in we need to pick up a ticket 2 hrs. prior to show time. This means we leave immediately. We know a bit of their music and the concert was beyond our expectations. They play old songs in a slow and deliberate fashion. I think it is how they think the songs are meant to be sung. The harmonies are rather hard and sharp, different to the smooth harmonies we get used to.
Nive Nielsen and the Deer Children came from Greenland and they play their only concert in a small venue, The Pumphouse. Her band is international. Excellent musicians that in my opinion work with sound rather than conventional music. The effect is stunning. I spend one hour completely absorbed.
We leave the Pumphouse and immediately join a line-up to get back in this time to see Northern Assembly. We had a preview of this band while we had lunch and immediately added them to the list of bands we wanted to see. The band played mostly their own uptempo folksy music. The opening number is perfect. It catches everyone’s attention and leaves us waiting for more. The whole band looks like they really enjoy what they are doing and we leave the hall with a great impression.
Yesterday we stood in line to see The Brother Brothers We were not within the first 150 and were turned away as the room was full. Today we made sure we were going to get in. Again we hear some really good music. They are really twin brothers and as such their harmonies are perfect and can only be accomplished by siblings. Their writing is insightful and the songs they choose to cover are also enlightening. Every song they sang was slow and quiet, I think a few uptempo songs would make the set more interesting. They did know this and mentioned they were ‘cleansing our ears’ from all the loud music.
We had circled Jolie Holland and Samantha Parton as one of our prime objectives over the course of the weekend. We planned it right and had no trouble getting a seat. They came with a band. They all seemed to be good musicians but we thought the concert did not live up to our expectations this time. The sound was off and I could not understand one word of what either lady sang. The drummer entertained me for the entire hour. He was not a ra ta tat one drum and a high hat kind of rhythm keeper. He made the drums talk and I really enjoyed it.
Tomorrow we have a couple of other circled performers we must see. If the weather holds it will be a good day.