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Old 07-09-2007, 05:35 PM   #1
charlene
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Default MARIPOSA 2007-wet and wild with Lightfoot-July 8/07

Oh my it was wild!
Another birthday celebrated with The Man and friends at Mariposa in quite a memorable fashion! First time was 2000 when Mariposa returned to Orillia from the Toronto Islands, then again in 2005 and now this year!

An early morning call from Brian and the news that he wasn't going to be able to make it to Orillia as planned started a long eventful day..darn – we always have a good time with him! A call from my glass instructor/friend then came in and she filled in for Brian!

My dear buddy/brother Dan came up from Hamburg NY around noon bearing gifts. A beautiful cake, a six pack of Edmund Fitzgerald beer and pizza from my fave place in Hamburg NY! A great start to the day..LOL I only wish his wife and dear friend Nanci could have joined in the festivities..

Dan, Lisa and I lit the candles, sang Happy Birthday and had pizza and cake. The candles did not melt the wording and icing on the cake as they did two years ago...Dan brought a '2' and '5' candle instead of 52 singles!
Smart man!! Must have been Nanci's idea..

We headed up Hwy.#12 which is the main street of Whitby where I live and we picked up Shirley along the way and about an hour later at 2:30 we were parking in Tudhope Park, Orillia on the shores of Lake Couchiching. It was quite hot and humid and running around 33C (93F) but feeling like 40..A bit overcast and a slight hot breeze.

We headed to the beer tent after setting up our chairs..

We walked thru the artisans area after eating our way thru the food pavilions..lol

We talked with Barry Harvey and Rick Haynes for a bit and then Barry Keane but The Man wasn't scheduled to show until around 8:30 or so..Barry Keane had been playing ball with his ‘oldies’ team and told me they'd be in some competitions across the country in the next few months. He should try out for the Blue Jays! Good luck to him and his team!
We spent some time with Mike Heffernan and Patti as well. It’s always a treat and fun with them. They gave me a lovely birthday card! We made another trip to the beer tent and to listen to some other performances onstage in that area..oh yeah and to have something else to eat..good grief.

It seemed at times that the skies would open up and there would be a deluge but the clouds would pass and we'd breathe a sigh of relief. But it was still very hot! About 90F+ and feeling hotter because of the high humidity.

I spoke with stage manager Chuck for a while and he was readying himself with bug spray for the predicted onslaught of flying bugs that are drawn to the performers by the stage lights. In 2005 and 2000 they threatened to take over the show..they were huge! Chuck flew in the night before and was going home today..he does a superb job for the Lightfoot folks.
And we had no idea earlier in the day just how his expertise would be tested. It was nice to see him again.

The crowd was getting larger and the mainstage had performers on all afternoon. It's a great festival with lots to do and see, several stages with various performers, song circles and singing/guitar workshops going on all day. The artisans area featured luthiers, glass, clothes, jewellery, crafted wood items etc. And as I may have mentioned there was a beer tent.

But this being Ontario, home of high taxes and some silly laws we were not allowed to leave the beer tent area with our beer and enjoy them whilst enjoying the talent at the various stages. We are not allowed to walk around with alcoholic beverages or leave the designated drinking area….ever…
crikey.

Anyway..it was getting time to settle in and get ready for The Man..

We said our good-byes to Mike, Terry et al and that's right when Mr. Lightfoot pulled up in a black sedan with heavily tinted windows..It was about 40 minutes or less until his stage time. He pulled into a spot right in front of us! After a few moments Barry opened the back door and carried off a geetar..he came back and The Man and another geetar emerged to cheering and applause and "Gord rocks","we love you Gord"..he looked around, turned our way and smiled, waved and was off to tune up with Mike, get changed and get onstage. It was almost completely dark out at this time of 9:15 or so..

The Man and the band took the stage just as the thunder started rumbling, lightning was seen off in the distance and a few drops of rain were felt.

oh dear...then all hell broke loose...

Some of the less hearty and adventurous types folded up their chairs and hustled their dry butts out of town..the rest of us remained for whatever was coming.

And it didn't take long to find out just exactly what the weather gods had in store for THE most wild (and wet) concert I've ever attended.

I had packed ponchos and raincoats, large plastic bags and umbrellas JUST in case..I shoulda been a Boy Scout!
The four of us donned our most becoming apparel and hunkered down as Lightfoot started right off with Cotton Jenney..folks were singing along and clapping, the rains weren't too hard but oh my the lightning was everywhere..There were huge bolts crossing the skies all around us going both horizontally and vertically and the lightning behind the clouds lit them up like stage lights. We were in for two major events..a man made one and an all natural one.
Lightfoot sounded a bit raspy at first and the sound was low but it sorted itself out and the next tune up was Carefree Highway. At one point early on Lightfoot shook his head and had a big smile as he said to the thousands of crazy folks in front of him "We'll understand if you scatter...if you scatter..we'll understand." The rain had gotten harder and despite our best efforts and our rain gear we were getting quite damp..rain was trickling everywhere..lol.

He sang 14 Karat Gold, A Painter Passing Through and then that oh so sad song, "Clouds of Loneliness." Next up was another self revelatory song - "In My Fashion."

Then because of where he was he sang "Couchiching."
Those lyrics of "When I get my final slumber, when I pawn my diamond ring
I will do my final number, by Lake Couchiching" were accompanied at that moment by huge rumblings in the dark sky and lightning making everyone ooh and aah..It spooked me and sent shivers down my very wet back.

Earlier in the day I was talking with Mike and we were laughing about Orillia not being too good a place for Lightfoot and the band in the last several years..back in '96 I believe, he was ill and couldn't play so Pee Wee stepped in..then in 2002 Gord fell ill, in 2004 at the 'make-up' concert Barry Harvey fell off the equipment truck and lo and behold tonight the weather had turned on us!

But being the consummate pro that he is Lightfoot just kept on playing. Surely to gawd he noticed the lightning? Or that he was standing amongst a lot of electrical stuff? Or that Barry Harvey came right up on stage several times, once with a geetar case, totally visible to Gord as if to say, "ok boss, let's wrap it up and get the hell out of town!.”

Nope, he just kept on playing and we went crazy every time a song ended and he began another..

It was amazing to see people dancing and clapping in the now torrential rains, lit up from above by natures’ billion kilowatt bulbs..!

They did The Watchman's Gone and then Sundown with all of us singing along and despite the sound of rain pounding on the hood of my poncho I could hear everyone clearly over it, the thunder and cracks of lightning.
What a blast!

We were now soaked top to bottom and places we didn't know we had but who cared? Who cared that we still had to get to our car, wait out the huge line-ups out of the parking lot and drive an hour home? Not one person cared!

And Lightfoot just kept on singing...

Up next was The Wreck and the gales of July were the perfect backdrop for the song. I had thought that perhaps he'd call it a night and leave after Couchiching...then I thought maybe after The Wreck because it was raining even harder by then!!

But then he launched into If You Could Read My Mind and every drenched soul stood there mesmerized as he nailed it and we let him know how perfect it was with a huge ovation. I think soaking wet hands clap louder than dry ones...lol

Ohmygoodness he wasn't finished and he trotted out the epic Canadian Railroad Trilogy - more singing, clapping, hooting and hollering and I was ready to head out because The Man must be ready to leave now….wasn't he?
Nope.

He still had the toe-tappers left!
I had to laugh out loud at his resolve..he had said "we came here to do a job and we're not leaving until we do it!" and damned if he wasn't true to his ever lovin' word. At one point he put his hand to his head and rubbed it, saying "I've been working all week for this! and now it's raining!" He backed away from the mic shrugging his shoulders and laughing.

Around the time he was doing Sundown they started lowering the roof because the wind had picked up a bit and worry about the equipment getting wet and the band and Lightfoot being in danger was a paramount concern. Chuck had told me this could be done when I spoke to him earlier..it wasn't apparent to the band that it was being lowered but at one point Mike noticed the large Mariposa flag hanging as a backdrop moving lower and looked up at the roof coming down on them!!..I got a good chuckle out of his reaction..

While the few thousand of us left stood soaked to the bone after almost an hour in lovely, little Tudhope Park, a small jewel in a quaint Ontario town called Orillia, Gordon Lightfoot launched into Blackberry Wine and then Old Dan's Records..
he thanked us all for coming and with a smile and wave he was gone.

We packed up as best we could and made our way through ankle deep water to the parking areas..we were all laughing and singing and reveling in one of the most wonderful evenings we'd ever had..thousands of us, young and not so young, all soaked, all satisfied that we had got what we came for, weather be damned..we had Lightfoot for 14 songs, a glorious hour of adoration and mutual admiration as man triumphed over nature in a way that only those of us there could experience..

Lightfoot was back home to sing for the faithful and he not only successfully did that but he also showed us what an immensely professional and devoted performer he is for his fans..and THAT is why we went and more importantly why we stayed.

(thanks Danno)

some pics taken by Dan, some by me:
http://www.kodakgallery.com/Slidesho...Uy=uiwrix&Ux=0
a not great video ( it was a bit wet out!) with appropriate description about the storm/song at YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5eN4pGxYYM#GU5U2spHI_4

and video by Danno:

[ July 09, 2007, 17:55: Message edited by: charlene ]
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Old 07-09-2007, 07:01 PM   #2
Paul Farnham
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Hey Char! Thanks for all the time to type the fascinating & detailed posting. Also for the pics & links! And Happy Birthday!
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Old 07-09-2007, 07:10 PM   #3
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Absolutely brilliant as always. Thank you.

The "14 Karat Gold" video caught my fancy. Amidst the stormy weather, comes the line "So long, Farewell, Goodbye, this is the end". The sky illuminates with lightning..."Keep your mind a mystery". Good stuff.
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Old 07-09-2007, 07:39 PM   #4
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Thanks Char - great pictures, great tale !

Bill
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Old 07-09-2007, 09:54 PM   #5
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Char, thanks for posting this! I was wondering how it went. A belated Happy Birthday too! Sounds like it was a memorable evening.
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Old 07-10-2007, 06:43 AM   #6
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Calm after the storm
Tech crew amazed at Lightfoot’s tenacity

By Colin McKim
Local News - Monday, July 09, 2007 Updated @ 11:28:22 PM [Orillia Packet & Times]

As the tech crew coiled up muddy cables and boxed up soggy stage equipment on a sunny Monday morning, they were still talking about folk legend Gordon Lightfoot and how the old trooper refused to play second fiddle to a spectacular rain and lightning storm the night before.

“We tried to get Gord to stop — he wouldn’t,” said sound engineer Matt Knischewsky.

“Water and electricity don’t mix.”

As flashing clouds, fanged with sheet lightning, scudded overhead like electric snake pits and the nervous in the crowd sought shelter, Lightfoot soldiered on, ignoring the pleas of his manager and the nervous looks of his band mates.

When the gnashing skies opened up about four songs into Lightfoot’s set, the rain was torrential, soaking thousands of people sitting on the sloping field and quickly forming muddy puddles around the stage.

“My shoes are still wet,” said sound and light technician Sean Gilhuly Monday morning.


Gilhuly was supposed to be on top of a metal tower in front of the stage, working a 1,000-watt spotlight.

But with lightning sizzling and snapping in whip cracks in the clouds above, Gilhuly wasn’t keen on being the single highest point on the landscape.

Instead, he spent his time adjusting the moveable canopy above the stage trying to drain curtains of water and shelter Lightfoot and his band as much as possible.

But Lightfoot still got pelted, said Knischewsky.

“The rain was blowing right into him. He was getting drenched.”

Ever a trooper, Lightfoot kept strumming and singing through the electric downpour, performing “If You Could Read My Mind,” “The Great Canadian Railway Trilogy” and “Sundown.”

“We’ve got a job to do and we’re going to finish it,” he told the rain-soaked crowd.

Many spectators made a dash at the first hint of lighting, while others under ponchos and umbrellas hung in during the light rain that only hinted at the deluge to come.

During “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” about the tragic sinking of a freighter in a Lake Superior gale, the Sunday night storm was like the song coming to life, said Knischewsky.

“It was spooky.”

“It was a great lighting show,” said Linda Goodall, who watched from a tent in the artisans village where she sold wool-and-felt fairies called Whimsical Creations.

Fortunately, the lightning, as if out of respect for Lightfoot, was shooting from cloud to cloud, not striking the ground.

But the rain showed no such respect, pounding down mercilessly.

It was impossible to stay dry, said Gilhuly.

“At the end of the night, I was barefoot with no shirt loading Gord’s truck.”

The rumours that Bob Dylan, playing Sunday night at Casino Rama, might slip over and join his old buddy on stage never panned out.

A white limo did roll in through the Tudhope Park gates during Lightfoot’s set and two festival volunteers raced through the rain to see if it was the famous American folk singer.

But the limo was gone before they got there.

“He’s that elusive figure,” said artistic director Mike Hill.

Amy Mangan, a member of the festival artistic committee, said the Dylan rumours created some suspense, but in the end his presence wasn’t required.

“We didn’t need him,” said Mangan.

“We had Gord and the great light show.”
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Old 07-10-2007, 07:25 AM   #7
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Orillia Packet link - pic at site.
http://www.orilliapacket.com/webapp/...ssif=News+Live

Dylan be damned...Orillia-Mariposa - it's all about Lightfoot..take a hike Bob..

We watched the sound guy climb up on the tower and cover the spotlight with a tarp..not anywhere I'd want to be in a lightning storm..and he's a very fast worker!

Everyone from the sound guys, stage guys, management, the band, and Gord need to be commended for their perserverance and dedication. And their wacky sense of adventure!

I got a kick out of Barry trying so hard to get the show wrapped up. It was like he was sending messages by mental telepathy to Gord and Gord just ignored him and went on his merry way as if there wasn't a thing that could go wrong..poor Barry..no wonder he smokes..
but I laughed out loud when after 2 or 3 times of coming up on stage he finally came up with a geetar case..just hoping that Gord would get the hint..
lolol

When we finally headed out of Orillia the rain had stopped-it was about midnight I think..the highway was dry and we watched the storm off in the distance ahead of us as we headed south. I thought for sure we'd get home and see the aftermath of the storm here in Whitby but nothing happened! It had rained during the day but the storm we experienced in Orillia by-passed my place. The skies were lit up for miles with lightning strikes both horizontal and vertical from as far east and over to the west as you could see tho..
Storm gods - 0
Lightfoot - 1

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Old 07-10-2007, 07:33 AM   #8
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Great recap - sounds like it was a memorable time!

Vickie
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Old 07-10-2007, 08:21 AM   #9
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As always Char, thanks for the report!
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Old 07-10-2007, 09:15 AM   #10
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Hi Auburn Annie! Thanks for the post; great info! :D When I saw some of the clips on You Tube, it looked like some kind of heavy metal pyrotechnics.
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Old 07-10-2007, 10:59 AM   #11
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Nicely-written..
Good job..
I feel drenched and happy just stting here..
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Old 07-10-2007, 11:04 AM   #12
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Thanks Char, for a great read and pics. Wow, what a night! Happy Birthday! But was it really necessary to light up the skies with 52 bolts?!?

Jenney, you and I just may have to travel north across that line next July.

Diane
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Old 07-10-2007, 11:33 AM   #13
charlene
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52 bolts!! - I'm sure the candles on the cake said 25!!
lol

I feel 52 today..July 10, 1955- apparently just as hot that day as it is today..
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Old 07-10-2007, 11:42 AM   #14
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Thanks for a great review, Char.

And just my luck too. I was in Orillia for about a month visiting my family, and I missed y'all by a few short weeks before heading out to Moose Jaw.

One of these days I'm gonna get this timing thing right!

- David
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Old 07-10-2007, 12:11 PM   #15
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25 ... 52 ... it's all good. Happy Birthday, Char!
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Old 07-10-2007, 01:15 PM   #16
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thanks for the birthday wishes everyone! 25 or 52!
lol
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Old 07-10-2007, 01:30 PM   #17
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another article:
http://www.orilliapacket.com/webapp/...0News&classif=

Mariposa back in black: organizer

Colin McKim
Local News - Tuesday, July 10, 2007 @ 07:00

Don't call it the Mariposa Broke Festival.

Not anymore.

When the grand daddy of Canadian folk music festivals hobbled back to Orillia in 2000 after 37 years on the road, it was in rough shape, bony, ragged and busted flat.

In its waning years in Toronto, attendance numbers had dwindled and attempts to revive the musical event at alternative venues, such as Bracebridge, faltered.

The debt piled up and spirits slumped.

But coming back to Orillia, trumpeted as a return to the festival's roots and bolstered by headline appearances from Orillia's favourite son Gordon Lightfoot, has proved to be just the ticket back to harmony and health.

This year's festival, again capped by a heroic performance by Lightfoot in the "face of a hurricane west wind," hit another high note.


"This will be our most successful," said artistic director Mike Hill.

"It was fantastic. We're in the black for sure."

An estimated 20,000 people poured into Tudhope Park during the three-day event soaking up sun and rain and drinking three beer tents dry.

Seeing supplies of Canadian, Rickard's Red and Coors Light running dangerously low Sunday afternoon, volunteers made an emergency trip for 100 more cases, said Vicky McNaney, chair of the Festival Organizing Group.

But the suds still ran dry by nightfall and parched beer drinkers had to grab for coolers.

"I think the Good Brothers were one of the reasons we ran out of beer," said Hill,

"They were really rocking the beer tent on Friday and Saturday night."

Having a little money in the bank gives you a feeling of security, said Hill.

And it may help the festival go after acts that have been too expensive in the past.

"People ask why we don't have Neil Young or Leonard Cohen, but we just can't afford them."

On a $130,000 artistic budget, the sky is definitely not the limit. Groups like the Barenaked Ladies charge $200,000 for an appearance, while Jann Arden at $60,000 would consume almost half the budget.

But many artists who appear early in their careers at Mariposa, such as Feist and Sarah Harmer, break into the big time later, said Hill. As well as beer, the festival ran out of craft supplies for making kites, propellors and garlands, said McNaney.

A number of performers sold out all their CDs, including blues guitarist player Matt Andersen, said McNaney.

The festival now feels comfortably re-established in Orillia, said McNaney.

"It's home to stay, without a doubt. People have embraced it."

And having Lightfoot appear every few years, rain or shine, caps things off perfectly, she said.

"Gord's like the cherry on top."

cmckim@orilliapacket.com
-------------------------------------------------

I swear I had ONLY two Coors Lite!!


[ July 10, 2007, 13:35: Message edited by: charlene ]
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Old 07-10-2007, 02:35 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by charlene:
I swear I had ONLY two Coors Lite!!
Ma'am....the evidence shows otherwise.
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Old 07-10-2007, 05:59 PM   #19
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Char -
Sounds like a very special evening for a very special lady. I'm happy you had such a great time, thanks for the great review!
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Old 07-10-2007, 10:32 PM   #20
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Thanks Char! Great review! We were at the 2005 show and the weather was a lot calmer that evening!
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Old 07-11-2007, 04:18 AM   #21
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Amazing Char, you brought us all in with you.
Thanks for all you do for this group here.

P.S. Gord sounded great on the video clips.
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Old 07-11-2007, 09:00 AM   #22
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Altho I was disappointed not to be able to say HI to him before the concert it has to go down as the most wild event I've attended! Maybe he even feels that too!
I planned on thanking him for having another birthday party for me!(and reminding him of a future CHat with CHar)
lol

This year he had a light show!
I'm just happy we all made it safely thru the night..

[ July 11, 2007, 12:32: Message edited by: charlene ]
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Old 07-11-2007, 10:18 AM   #23
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Somewhat belatedly, CHar. Thanks for a great report of a very special show. I think you all deserve medals for sitting through an electric storm!
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Old 07-12-2007, 09:04 AM   #24
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007 Mariposa Folk Festival

[www.simcoe.com, 07/12/07]

When hometown troubadour Gordon Lightfoot was braving a torrential downpour in the final hours of the Mariposa Folk Festival, Bob Dylan was seeking shelter from the storm.

Organizers say the reclusive music legend - fresh from the second of two performances at Casino Rama - is believed to have appeared at the front gate of Tudhope Park in a limousine during Lightfoot's closing-night set.

But the luxury car did an abrupt reversal and left, putting to bed months of speculation that the two friends would share the stage.

"(The limo) came in right at the height of the storm," said festival president Chris Mockler. "All these cars were streaming out because of the rain. He probably figured the show had been cancelled."

One evening of dicey weather did little to dampen the spirits of the estimated 20,000 people who attended the lakeside festival, said Mockler.

"It is our biggest year ever, for sure," he added. "The headliners are bringing people in, but the atmosphere brings them back. The setting is the base of the whole thing."

About 8,000 people gathered at the main stage to hear Don McLean on the Saturday evening.

"He just completely commanded the stage, and he is such a gracious man," Mockler added. "He knew the people were there to hear 'American Pie' and was completely willing to play it up to the audience. Seeing that many people standing up singing American Pie was just a real buzz for me. It gave me goose bumps."

Mockler was standing stageside when a sopping-wet Lightfoot happily ignored the pummeling rain to the delight of an equally drenched crowd.

"At one point he was actually leaning into the wind," he added. "It looked like he was on the bow of the ship."

The inclusion of emerging bands like The Sadies and renowned singer/songwriter Hawksley Workman reflected a lineup that catered as much to youths as to the middle-age set and beyond.

"It cuts across all the age groups," Mockler added. "We try to pay some attention to world music and to some of our cultural heritage. We try to make it a really diverse show."

A series of intimate and informal performances by up-and-coming artists and seasoned pros proved equally popular, Mockler said.

"The headliners bring people, but the workshops are what bring people back," he said.
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Old 07-12-2007, 09:18 AM   #25
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I guess for old Bob a blowin' wind with rain keeps him cloistered in his car while our Gord gets it done for the fans..

that's the answer Bob....it's all about the fans..
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