Sunday, July 19 we spent the best part of the day at Victoria Park downtown London enjoying several stages of live music. This year’s line up, thanks to Artistic Director, Darin Addison, was amazing. Actually, congratulations to all the organizers and cheerful volunteers are in order.
From Col. Chris Hadfield as Guest MC during Friday’s Opening Ceremonies to Sarah Slean, The Leahys, Sylvia Tyson, Good Lovelies, Grapes of Wrath, Garnet Rogers, Martha Wainwright – well the list goes on and on. (See poster below)
We are limited to only attending on our Sunday off, but were very pleased by the line up for the day. Acts we looking forward to seeing were Catherine MacLellan, who we’ve hosted here in Sarnia several times and greatly admire, Danny Michel and Sarnia’s own Donovan Woods.
Since we arrived close to noon and hadn’t had lunch yet, first order of business was to grab a bite to eat for ourselves and visiting grandson James. Not an easy thing to do since there were so many wonderful choices of food trucks. While sitting on a bench eating, we heard Catherine’s voice at the stage closest to us. Oh yeah, forget she was part of the workshop called ‘About The Song’ along with Katy Carswell, Raine Hamilton and Donovan on the Centre Stage. Off we ran and luckily caught the last half of the performances. From there we along with our son, wife and and youngest son Elliott who had met up with us, we went to the South Stage to hear another workshop called ‘Canada: The Final Frontier’ featuring Danny Michel, Garnet Rogers and Sylvia Tyson.
After I walked our son and family back to their car, I joined Roland back at the Centre Stage to catch ‘Island Girls’ – 3 great examples of the immense talent PEI has to offer. :sland Girls’ consisted of the sweet, gentle voice of Catherine MacLellan accompanied on guitar by Chris Gauthier, the sweet clear voice of Meaghan Blanchard and lastly, but certainly not least the powerful singer Irish Mythen. Meagan chose to do a cover of the song Snowbird which was written by Catherine’s father, Gene MacLallen and made famous by Anne Murray. Catherine joined in on harmony. Literally brought a tear to my eye. We had the pleasure of first seeing Irish at a house concert here in Sarnia and enjoyed her show – but holy cow when she is not constrained by a family room setting she has one of the strongest most emotional voices I’ve heard in the a long time. All three ladies also played guitar. Each took a turn singing their own songs, then joined in altogether near the end. Despite the downpour of rain we endured just before they started, the performance of the Island Girls was the highlight of a wonderful day of music.
Now with the sun shining and the heat turned up, we moved to the North Stage for Danny Michel and his 3 piece (including himself) band. We have known Danny for several years via email and phone calls since his earlier CD’s are only available through him, but this was our first time hearing him play and meeting him in person. Felt bad for him, it was even hotter under the stage covering than it was under the still dripping trees for all his fans. Regardless, he gave a toe tappin and humour filled show.
Next move was to the main stage to hear Donovan Woods. Donovan is such an accomplished song writer, he is now being sought after by the heavyweights of the music business. Tim McGraw is just one – to name drop. We are thrilled for Donovan and hope the streak continues for him. After he was done we stayed for one more act. Catherine MacLellan. If you are counting – yes this was the 3rd time in the day we would be hearing her play. That is how much we love her music and singing. We were not disappointed.
The whole day was just magically. Next year though, we will do a few things differently. Definitely bring our own chairs. Only the main stage has chairs provided. Bottles of water and maybe a small folding umbrella or rain poncho would be wise. Talking to a fellow Sarniain – she wisely brought a change of clothes so was nice and dry after the rain. And more money to spend -really could have used that! The quality of vendors and items they had for sale were very diverse and alluring. I did buy one small item from the vendor who was kind enough to let me take shelter in the downpour – a hand crafted Santa penguin for our Christmas tree.
If you have never been to Home County – and you appreciate well written and performed music then I strongly suggest you go to it next year. It is free – well donations are accepted gratefully. If you already know and love this festival and attend it – we’ll see you next year – again.
For more photos CLICK HERE