Sunday, July 11, 2010

Paddle Slower Guelph

Music was emanating from the foliage where bicycles were strewn haphazardly. Following it back to the source I came upon an assorted crew of people canoeing, kayaking, wading, sitting, crouching and standing, perhaps 75 in all for the Paddle Slower Festival (July 10, Boathouse to Victoria, riverside). Everyone was either watching or listening to the band nestled among the trees at the edge of the river. Innes Wilson and His Opposition finished up and Whoop-szo broke out their melodica and banjo amongst other instruments for some space-appropriate music. A jar was passed around to contribute gas-money to the bands that were playing this inaugural free fest while we were directed further up river to the next "stage".

Next stop consisted of JJ Ipsen playing acoustic self-admittedly sad songs considering the surroundings. However he swapped back and forth with Jenny Omnichord and her upbeat tunes (and dancing son) kept things light, especially her introduction to Del Shannon's Runaway.

The furthest point was perhaps the most bizarre. In the dust below the recently constructed concrete beast of a bridge at Victoria Street, Steve Sladkowski and a friend play some pop and free-form songs, and the traffic above did not interfere in the least (truly).

With the heat of the afternoon subsiding people took to their various modes of transport and meandered back to base camp - the Boathouse. Lisa Bozikovic already had her keyboard set-up beneath a large tree and once most people had made their way back she played a lovely set (including Take and Take).

It was a most interesting idea for a non-traditional festival, one that originally seemed like it might be difficult to pull off, but as far as I could tell it was wholly successful.

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