Tag Archives: Roadtrip

Folkie FAQ

Where did July go? I swear it was just yesterday Twila and I were on the road headed to Orillia. The folkover (a.k.a. Folk + hangover) hasn’t been too bad since arriving back in Edmonton. I almost made it out to Canmore Folk Fest this past weekend but I just missed it. I was actually checking out #UncleJohn at the Banff Summer Arts Festival instead so I took a folkie weekend off to hang with my friends from the Opera Chorus.

I thought I would address from Frequency Asked Questions I’ve been getting from my friends coming back in case anybody else is interested:

Aren’t you and Twila sick of each other?

After a month of travel and almost 10,000 km on the road, you probably have to ask Twila to get a balanced perspective. However, after living in such close proximity for a long time you start to recognize each others cycles pretty well. You know when to say something and when to hold off. Sure, there are moments of cabin fever rounding hour 30 in a vehicle, but you realize it’s not really the other person that’s making you antsy but the overall travel fatigue. We also have a lot of alone time once we get at the festival since Twila is off session hopping and taking photos and I’m usually in the media tent doing interview research, transcribing, or writing if I’m not watching sessions.

How bad did you miss your bed and/or pillow?

Strangely enough, while there were moments where I did miss home, it wasn’t for my mattress. I seemed to adapt quickly enough to make a temporary home wherever I was. Plus, I am a travel narcoleptic and I can sleep anywhere pretty much instantaneously. It also helped that in Vancouver and Calgary I was staying with good friends that I don’t often see so it was a reunion time! I find that familiar people make a place feel at home since it was easy enough to find replacements for other voids like a good coffee place etc.

What did you eat?!?!

It means a great deal to me that my friends were concerned with how I satiated my voracious appetite. Firstly, I had to adapt from my structured three meals a day routine since Twila doesn’t eat full meals. She successfully subsists off a diet of black coffee, rice crackers, fruit, veggies, pepperoni sticks, boiled eggs, and chips. There were no sit-down meals during any of our travel days. For the most part, I just ate crackers, fruit, cereal, granola bars, chips, and candy. In the mornings, I would get hot water from the first pit stop to make oatmeal or use hot water to make instant noodles in the evenings. It was handy to have a utensil set that included a pair of chopsticks. When arriving in a city, we would both hit up the grocery store to replenish food stores for the rest of the festival. However, once I was at the festivals, I just ate at food trucks. Since the food is pretty well-curated and local, the eats were pretty good. Every festival had a wood-fire pizzeria option, there would often be some kind of Asian Thai food option, donairs/pitas/tacos were standard fare; however, there would be great opportunities to eat at the tasty local food truck options. A few stand-outs were the steamed white bun pulled pork and ginger beef tacos from Taiko Taco at Calgary Folk Fest, the sweet and spicy chicken karage from Mogu in Vancouver Folk Fest, the kale and quinoa salads and pulled pork from the Men with Knives food truck at Mariposa Folk Fest, and there was a tie between the chana masala from East India Company and the empanadas and watermelon/mint/feta salad at Corrientes at Winnipeg Folk Fest.

Perhaps there are more questions people are curious about? If so, they can ask me on Gallagher Hill at Edmonton Folk Fest or ask in the comments below and I will update this post with new answers.

Reunited with Winnipeg Folk Festival

There is nothing like the feeling of being united with an old friend. That’s what it was like as Twila and I rolled into Manitoba from North Dakota on Monday. The shimmering golden canola in the hot prairie sun was a welcome accompaniment as we drove towards Winnipeg. Out first course of action was to get some espresso at Lil Sister Coffee and to check out the locally made print t-shirts at Sew Dandee on Osborne Street. We stocked up on provisions and had our last hot shower before driving to Birds Hill Provincial Park. We set up camp and are ready for the upcoming week.

The Call of Home

Emerging from a over 35 hours of car travel and a few hours of overnight rest at two motels along the way, the process gave me a lot of time to think before arriving at my destination. The longest Twila and I stopped was to pump gas, eat some quick snacks while waiting for our gas tank to fill, and switch roles between driver and passenger.

The open road has a mystical quality about it. After enough hours driving through a stretch of National forest in Michigan or the straight highways of North Dakota that cut through the prairie landscape, I was lulled into a travel trance. You’re aware enough to acknowledge your surroundings but feel hazy passing through a constant stream of small towns.

I open wide the road atlas and peruse the intricate arterial a system of roads that connect all these communities. It’s amazing how I am able to access them just by driving far away from my front door. While I am living in my sphere of existence back in Edmonton, there are all these pockets of communities doing the exact same thing. It is something we are aware of but I was reminded of it these past few days. It gives one a real sense of freedom.

However, there are jolts back to reality when there are reminders from a world back at home that continues even while you are gone. No matter far how far one travels, the homeland does not relinquish its grip. I had such a reminder last night. Upon arriving back into Canada and connected back with cellular reception on my phone. I noticed a missed call from my sister. I returned the call. She informs me that our almost 20 year old cat, Milo, had passed away.

Their grief was palpable to me over the phone line. I did not expect my home life to become more vivid as I drove further away. Milo was the guardian of our house and garden. As I soak up the amazing music and atmosphere here at Mariposa, I remember those who are still at home, and my feline friend who has enjoyed many wonderful years with us.20140705-202839-73719408.jpg

Preparing for Departure

I’m not much of an outside girl. I love my first world amenities: wardrobe, accessories, flush toilets, soft bedding, running water, and  high-speed internet. I’m aware this sounds a bit ridiculous since I’m about to embark on roadtrip that will take me across Canada and also involves rough camping at the Mariposa and Winnipeg Folk Festival. However, in order to partake in this Folk Festival rite of passage, I am willing to embrace the elements. The hardest part is just preparing for departure.

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After weeks of organizing my departure from my work as a Speech-Language Pathologist, fulfilling all my other choral singing commitments with Pro Coro Canada and the Edmonton Opera Chorus, and completing my projects over at The Choir Girl Blog, I have finally had the last few days to plan for my month long departure from home. Thus, I have been more stressed than excited when people inquire about details regarding my roadtrip. I know that once I am on the road, these preparation insecurities will subside.

I am thankful Twila has been in charge of all outdoorsy camping supplies. All I have are a sleeping bag, a thermarest, and a chair. However, I have organized quite the array of festival wear options and SPF skincare depending on the weather. I also have compiled all the electronics I plan to bring as well as plan for how to maintain the charge for these items. It wouldn’t be very good festival media coverage if I couldn’t post anything. I do get these scenes of horror in my mind where it is absolutely pouring rain outside my tent, I am clutching all my electronics to my chest, and shielding them from water damage. My hope is that in mentally preparing for these crises, they are less likely to occur, or at the very least, surprise me.

One thing people have commonly asked is why Twila and I have chosen to drive for this media project. We could have flown to Toronto and then rented a car to get to Mariposa. However, in doing this, we would have missed out on the journey on these Canadian highways and stories from the open road. As it is with many things, it is as much about the journey as it is the destination. Understanding the process of travel between each of these festivals is just as important as the music that is performed at each of these festivals. These roads are constant source of inspiration for many Folk Music Artists, and in order to understand the context in which they come from, one can gain insight from embarking on a similar journey.

So that is where Twila and I, as Folk on the Road, are different from other traditional media outlets. We will not be driving up in a company sponsored media van, breezing through backstage security to obtain minute interview segments with Mainstage Artists, and driving home at the end of the night. We are arriving in Orillia, Ontario after a 2.5 day cross-Canada commute and over 30 hours of driving, just in time for Mariposa Folk Festival Mainstage on Friday night.

The open road is calling.

Follow us @FolkontheRoad and Folk on the Road Facebook for real-time updates from our travels

Day I: Same but Different at Winnipeg Folk Festival

Photography by Twila and Miss. Sable

After starting our morning with some Winnipeg sights and fueling up on caffeine at Parlour Coffee, it was time to venture out to the Winnipeg Folk Festival, located about a one hour drive from downtown Winnipeg. As we made our way north on Winnipeg’s Main Street, we joined the highway that eventually led us to Birds Hill Provincial Park Northwest from Winnipeg.

We celebrated our arrival with a high-5 and posed for a picture with our vehicle among rows of grass parking. It was a long commute from Edmonton but we had officially arrived at the Winnipeg Folk Festival!

“It’s the same, but different,” Twila remarked as we surveyed the Main Stage crowd.

Indeed, the festival energy that we know and love from the Edmonton Folk Music Festival was present but there was a secluded magic about having the Winnipeg Folk Festival nestled away in a flat clearing of Birds Hill Provincial Park. A temporary city is built in the park to accommodate the festival community. As Oh My Darling, The Avett Brothers, and City and Colour headlined the opening night of the festival, Twila and I began our assimilation process into the Winnipeg Folk Festival culture. There will be more to come in regards to this process in the next few days.

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This post is part of a series detailing the experiences of Edmonton folkies, Sable and Twila, heading to Winnipeg Folk Festival for the first time. See other posts here. Cross-posted on The Choir Girl Blog.