Winterfolk Toronto

The top 5 shows to catch at Winterfolk 2015

Winterfolk, Toronto's mid-winter folk festival, returns for its thirteenth year from February 13-15. A lineup of returning and new names will be featured at five Danforth venues. This year the festival is highlighted by a special Valentine's show (a chance to propose?), song and story, American Pie, and open stages. Not limited to folk, the festival also has roots, blues, jazz, and country, with both free and paid concerts with wristbands available (check the full schedule).

Here are my picks for the top shows to see at Winterfolk VIII.

Fraser & Girard
When Allan Fraser and Marianne Girard were in the process of coming up with a name for their duo, Marianne, was partial to "Girard and Fraser". After a short time they changed it to Fraser & Girard for the vowel sound of it. Also, Allan Fraser had also been part of the popular 60's-70's duo Fraser & DeBolt (the late Daisy DeBolt) which may have added to the choice of name.

NSAI Presents
Those looking for something a little different at Winterfolk will find it at the Nashville Songwriters Association of Canada presents night. The evening is a two separate hours of four songwriters trading off songs and joining in each others ("in the round"). Hour one: Brad Battle, Krista Earle, Paul Lamarche, Melissa Lynn. Hour two: Carrie DeMaeyer, Andy Griffiths, Glen Marais, Angela Saini.

Love At Winterfolk
Listeners (and Lovers) can enjoy a special "WF Kocktail Kiss" at the Love At Winterfolk on Valentine's show. Beginning with the Latin songs of Laura Fernandez, the night heats up with HOTCHA!, continues with The Trio of Fun (Ken Whiteley, Wendell Ferguson, Tony Quarrington), and finishes with the Cajun music of Swamperella.

Dueling Banjos
Several of Toronto's finest banjo players meet in a showdown of dueling banjos. Joining in the night of bluegrass and whiskey will be Frank Evans (Slocan Ramblers, Kitgut Stringband), John Millard (Polka Dogs), and members of the Andrew Collins Trio.

Seneca College Independent Music Program Showcase
Hosts John Switzer and Linda M present an evening of music by SCIMP artists Vale Abbott, Inna Powell, Braden Phelan, Mark Vaiana, Natasha Fisher, August Lily, Jimmy Pearson, and Ben Cherry. The Seneca program is designed to give students a foundation in the music recording and performance industry to become an independent artist.

What did I miss? Add your suggestions for the top events at the Winterfolk festival in the comments.

Photo of Angela Saini by Dave Arnold

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