Making A List…

Let’s play a game. The other night, while listening to a sub-par playlist at the otherwise enjoyable Moriarty’s Bistro, my friend Kyla Fisher posed a question. “What group,” she asked me, “would you most like to see perform at the Folk Festival this year?” My immediate response was, “The Avett Brothers,” but I couldn’t think of many more beyond that. After coming up with a few feeble answers, I came home angry with myself, and have been determined to come up with some better answers ever since.

I’m one of those music nerds who keeps track of all the concerts he has been to in his life. I don’t keep ticket stubs or posters anymore, but I do have a list (I can tell you, for example, that I saw KISS open up for Manfred Mann and Savoy Brown on May 17th, 1974, while inside my mother’s belly). Since August 2000, when I first started attending the Edmonton Folk Festival (I have attended Calgary’s Folk Fest several times, as well), I’ve been lucky enough to see some of my all-time favorite performers. A non-exhaustive list includes:

Steve Earle, David Gray, Blue Rodeo, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Ryan Adams, Jackson Browne, Blind Boys of Alabama, Wilson Pickett, The Funk Brothers, Odetta, Mavis Staples, Eric Bibb, Linda Tillery & The Cultural Heritage Choir, Lucinda Williams, Elvis Costello, Rufus Wainwright, Wilco, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Solomon Burke, Taj Mahal, Kathleen Edwards, David Byrne, Cat Power, Chris Isaak, The Avett Brothers, Stars, Ben Harper and Levon Helm.

That’s a pretty impressive list, with many of my faves now scratched off the “must-see” list. In trying to think of performers I’d like to see this year, then, I tried to stick with performers I have never seen before. That means no Alison Krauss, no Kathleen Edwards, no Blue Rodeo, and no Levon Helm. The only exceptions I have made are the Avett Brothers, who I saw at the Calgary Folk Festival last year, Ryan Adams, and Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan is Bob Dylan, and even though I have seen him live, it wasn’t at the Folk Festival. Plus it’s never happening, so why not throw it out there? Adams played a disastrous, rambling and ultimately shortened set in 2005, and I feel he deserves a do-over. As for the Avetts, they would have played in Edmonton last year, but a scheduling conflict prevented them from doing so. They are an amazing band with an even more amazing live presence, and I know people in the city would lose their minds seeing them perform. So they make the list. Here’s the rest:

Bob Dylan, Ryan Adams, The Avett Brothers, Bruce Springsteen (solo acoustic), Bon Iver, Gillian Welch, The Decemberists, Counting Crows, Langhorne Slim, The Tallest Man on Earth, Jack Johnson, Ray Lamontagne, Mumford & Sons, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, The Black Keys, and The Allman Brothers.

I’m sure I’m missing others, which is where the game begins. Who would you love to see perform at Edmonton Folk Festival this year? Try to stick to bands you’ve never seen before, as well as to bands that would reasonably fit into the “folk” music mold. So no Jay Z, U2, Coldplay or Radiohead, please.

Ready? 1, 2, 3…GO!


  1. M. Ward. I saw him at SXSW, but it was like your Ryan Adams experience. It was an afternoon set in a rather sqaushed line-up of great acts who were obviously being held to a very short time limit. I want a do over!

    Timber Timbre

    Darling Down

    (I saw Robert Randolph and the Family Band and they were rad!)

  2. I also saw the Black Keys in a very tiny bar in Austin. We were squished so close to them we were practically smoking the same cigarette. Let’s all go to SXSW!!!

  3. M. Ward would be great, especially if he came with Zooey as She & Him. I’m very jealous of you seeing Robert Randolph and the Black Keys. And yes to SXSW!

  4. Zooey drives me nuts. Great music, but I don’t think I could stand to see her live.

    SXSW!! So expensive, but so worth it.

  5. Well, Sebadoh are touring. And I think Yoni Wolf (Why?) and Josiah Wolf would fit in well at EFMF.

  6. Coole Mama says:

    Our lists would be similar – go figure. Mumford and Sons would be at the top of my list, I simply can’t get enough of them. Here goes:

    Mumford & Sons, The Avett Brothers, David Gray (I didn’t see him the year he was here at EFMF), Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds (not necessarily all of DMB, just Dave playing with Tim), Brandi Carlile (I know she’s already been announced for this year, but she was so amazing last year, how could people not absolutely love her?), Dan Mangan, Edward Sharp and The Magnetic Zeroes, Josh Ritter, Ray LaMontagne, Regina Spektor, The Tallest Man on Earth, The Weakerthans, Leonard Cohen and Paul Simon. I would also like to add Jeff Buckley to my list even though he’s dead… how amazing would he have been to see?

    I was excited to see that a number of those on my list were in the top requested list for this year’s EFMF, so I’m crossing my fingers (especially for Mumford and the Avetts)….

  7. That top requested list is here, for any who wish to see it.

  8. Radiohead!! No seriously, Thom Yorke with an acoustic guitar? THAT WOULD TOTALLY BE FOLKFEST APPROPRIATE. I’m guessing cost would be the major obstacle there.

    Paul Simon I am sooooo down with.

    Bands I haven’t seen before and would like to:
    the Antlers, Beirut, Bon Iver, Camera Obscura, Coeur de Pirate, Decemberists, Dragonette (even though I heard their set wasn’t that great at Freezing Man), Freelance Whales, Hannah Georgas, Horse Feathers, Josh Ritter, Land of Talk, Local Natives, Lykke Li, Sarah Blasko, Weakerthans, Wil

    Bands I need to see again:
    The Avett Brothers, Elliott Brood, Great Bloomers, Handsome Furs, Neko Case

    And there’s probably a bazillion more…

  9. Bon Iver

  10. Totally unrealistic, but I’m going to add Cee Lo Green to my wishlist.

  11. I forgot to put My Morning Jacket and The Preservation Hall Band on my list, too.

  12. Jay Palter says:

    Raul Midon. If you don’t know him, check YouTube. Its a state of mind. 😉

  13. Already seen him a couple times. 🙂

  14. Colin Mitzel says:

    Death Cab For Cutie would be FF appropriate and great for the Friday night headliner.

  15. I’m with your first three, as always. And frankly if they could book MMJ, they should just give them the stage for four hours on Saturday night.

    And even though Bright Eyes are here again soon, it would be great to have them back in the summer for a longer show.

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Daddy Fat Sax, Fredrick Nürnberger. Fredrick Nürnberger said: Making a list…Who would you like to see play at #efmf this year? […]

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