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  • Volume Eight, Number Five: July 2003

     Ranchfest four!

    Vancouver's Roots Music Party Triumphs Again!

    This year's Ranchfest, July 3-6 at venues across the Lower Mianland, was the best one yet, offering a diverse menu of some of the most dynamic talent from Vancouver, Victoria and elsewhere!

    Yes, it was shorter: four days, as opposed to ten one year. Yes, it was held later: two months later than the previous three fests. But that did nothing to dampen the energy and excitement generated by the festival this year!

    It all started with an electrifying early show at The Royal, with the high-energy strumming and spirited crooning of Petunia, along with the fabulous voice, musicianship and songs of Robyn Carrigan, Scott Smith and the inspired Bottleneck (Graham Parsons meets John Lennon anyone? Look for their new album coming soon) and the king of rockabilly-swing Ray Condo, along with his mesmerizing Ricochets in full force, getting the people up and dancing themselves silly.

    Other memorable shows I actually had the pleasure to fully take in included one such show at The Railway Club the same Thursday, with the always hilarious stories of everyday folly by Keith Rose, the very un-country but highly individual and compelling sounds of The Parlour Steps and the all out rock and roll of Rich Hope and the New Race.

    Accordion Madness the next night at The Railway provided a unique bomb blast with participants Linda McRae, David P. Smith and Ana Bon Bon playing together all at the same time. Never knew the accordion could create such a wall of sound! The Golden Wedding Band further diversified the fest with their upbeat Dixieland musings along with the most hilarious stream of consciousness meanderings, via Mike Soret, to ever find their way inside the Rail.

    Two action-packed shows on the Saturday, one at the Rail and the other, emceed by yours truly, at the Cambrian Hall show offered a whip smart performance by Geoff Berner whom I announced has music that, at the very least, makes you think. Also in the hall that evening the almost cabaret vibe of El Dorado and a hypnotic turn by veteran roots-rocker Harold Nix.

    Shelley Campbell and Auburn had the advantage of being the sole closing show for the fest on the Sunday, and it was quite fitting, as Shelley is the main force behind Ranchfest and the Ranch Society. Then, as all good ranch-hands do, we had the after party and promptly got into the spirits.

    Congratulations to everybody for making this year's Ranchfest the best ever.

    We'll do it all again next year.


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