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Home > m chen wears, music > Full moon and thumbs up at Wolfe Island Music Festival 2009

Full moon and thumbs up at Wolfe Island Music Festival 2009

August 10th, 2009

Having spent half a decade in Kingston, Ontario for my post-secondary gig… it’s a bit embarassing that I never made the 20-minute jaunt to Wolfe Island. Last weekend, John and I rode the ferry from K-town to Marysville — in part for the well-touted annual music festival on the island, and also so I could vend some of my tees at the event.

We arrived on Friday night, just in time to catch the show in front of the Marysville Town Hall. I might‘ve done a little jig when I noticed host Alan Neal wearing my re[TURN] tee — woohoo!

After a charming warm-up by Bahamas and local sweetheart Rocky Roberts, I was thoroughly wowed by Sarah Harmer.

I’ve enjoyed her live shows before in past, but there was something very warm about this performance — she obviously feels completely at home in this community. Her bandmates — including the über-talented Julie Fader — always add just the right amount of everything and yet always let Sarah shine.

We opted out of later shows because we still had to set up our tent. The camping site was on a baseball diamond, in view of another diamond which was the festival grounds for the next day.

Saturday is a bit of a blur… a happy, colourful blur of terrific tunes and some great feedback about my shirts from complete strangers. The lack of sleep from partying campers and chilly overnight probably didn’t help the ol’ memory.

Some highlights… breakfast at the Island Grill patio with a view of Lake Ontario; a walk around town picture-taking (many featuring the newish and ever-present wind turbines);


- setting up in “Vendor Village” before festival-goers arrived…


… and as people trickled in;


– being impressed by Cherry Chapstick, and by Julie Fader’s turn in the spotlight; a welcome introduction to $100;

- rocking out to The Rural Alberta Advantage;

- a haunting and gorgeous set by Ohbijou (who never disappoint);

- meeting and doing a shirt swap with Lucas from The Gertrudes (whose show we sadly missed because we were setting up camp the night before); and being blown away by the massive energy and stunning wordsmithing of Busdriver.

Overall, this was one of the most positive vibes I’ve gotten from a musicfest. Having done events like Hillside and Bluesfest, I find the multi-day and multiple stages can be overwhelming, and also that I can tend to get ‘musicked out’. WIMF was just the right scale for what we wanted this weekend. I love that once we parked our wheels, everything for the rest of our weekend was a stroll away: the campsite, the town, the water, the festival grounds. People were helpful and friendly, and it all felt so laid back and welcoming. The line-up was eclectic and wowing to the senses… the fact that I sold a few tees was icing on the cake.

Huge happy kudos to Virginia Clark and the rest of the WIMF community who made this incredible event run like a well-oiled machine. High fives to Ma Nature, who came through with gorgeous weather on both Friday and Saturday. I have every intention on going back to this festival in 2010 — no wonder CBC3 touts this as one of Canada’s best summer festivalsThough, next time ‘round, I think we’ll be crashing at a B&B *yaaaawn!*

Artist photos by John Bagnell

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  1. August 11th, 2009 at 09:39 | #1

    Unless one of the two fests moves dates I feel I’ll always end up missing this amazing weekend in favour of Regina’s (presumably) equally incredible vibe / lineup. You paint a great picture…I’ll mention this blog on my show tonight.

  2. Samantula
    August 11th, 2009 at 09:53 | #2

    sounds fanstastic, Em!!
    I love Sarah Harmer – she’s so wonderful!

    Its funny – I get so excited when i see someone walking downtown with an ‘ChenWears’ shirt on – I almost always yell out at them with big grins and thumbs up! I’m looking forward to ‘modeling’ your line around the Uk! :)

  3. August 12th, 2009 at 19:24 | #3

    Great review. I concur – it was an amazing day.

    Thanks for the videos. Sorry I couldn’t afford to buy a hundred of your shirts – your stuff is amazing (next time..and now i have your website so that will help)

  4. August 13th, 2009 at 11:59 | #4

    thanks for the shout-out em! great meeting you and trading shirts. the gertrudes and i will see you in ottawa sometime – we’re aiming for an october gig.

  5. leel
    August 13th, 2009 at 16:24 | #5

    glad to see that you had a good time! (ok, except for the drunkin campers and chilly night)… good music & musicians fondly sporting your wears – awesome!

  1. August 12th, 2009 at 11:53 | #1
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