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This summer's festivals

Plans are proceeding smoothly for Eden On The Line's summer jaunt to Alberta.

The major challenge was getting tickets for the Edmonton Folk Festival, which is now so popular that the online ticket allocation sold out in 12 minutes. Fortunately, we knew someone who could queue in person. (Many thanks, Tessa!)

Highlights this year for me will include Dave Alvin, Lisa Hannigan, Dick Gaughan and the Carolina Chocolate Drops. But the great beauty of this event is the series of small stage workshops which mix and match performers in different combinations. In the past I've always come away raving about someone I'd never heard of before. Previous discoveries from four visits over 20 years include Tom Russell, Alejandro Escovedo, Rufus Wainwright, Fred Eaglesmith, Kelly Joe Phelps, Harry Manx, Jim Byrnes, Wooden Sky and the Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir...

And the week before Edmonton we'll be at the rather smaller Canmore Folk Festival, up in the Rockies, where I'm really pleased to see Del Barber on the bill - he is the young singer-songwriter from Manitoba who played the opening set for Billy Bragg at the Great Escape which I mostly managed to miss. His people kindly sent me a copy of his forthcoming Headwaters album by way of compensation: there are some really nice songs on it and I'm looking forward to seeing him properly live. Here's a taster.

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