Hidden Beats

CityFolk Festival Day 1


CityFolk Festival 2019 is here and Day 1 was a perfect way to open up the weekend. This is the first time I have ever been to CityFolk so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Lansdown and the Aberdeen Pavilion are playing host this year and it was a pretty nice set up. The vendors and sponsors had all the standard spots filled in and the stages were ready for a good time. The biggest bonus of all was the fact the weather was going to be as nice as it was.


Orville Peck – Cityfolk Festival – Day 1

Orville Peck Cityfolk Festival - Day 1
Orville Peck

First up and opening the festival on the main stage is Orville Peck.

Now I have not heard much about this guy but he seems to be causing a stir in the music world. It was certainly a nice way to start. Having just released his debut album Pony Peck makes sure to bring stories to each of his songs. His very unique outfit was quickly eclipsed by his presence and sound on stage.

It seems like Peck draws a substantial influence from the likes of Johnny Cash and Elvis as he has a similar strong sound. His set included songs about drag queens (which he strongly suggested we all go to a drag show) and about love that drives you crazy.

This was a pretty good way to start out the festival in my books. I look forward to hearing more from this guy.


The Ones

The Once Cityfolk Festival - Day 1
The Once

Opening up the Ravenlaw stage is the Newfoundland natives The Ones.

This group is another one that is new to me which will be the case for a lot of the acts this weekend.

Active since 2004, The Ones have been nominated for various awards including a few Juno nods. Lead vocalist Geraldine Hollett sang with conviction and heart as they told stories with their songs.

She also took the time to tell us all a moving story about a time she almost lost her father and how it inspired a song. This was a great way to showcase the amazing talent and writing that comes out of the east coast of Canada.


Lucinda Williams Cityfolk Festival – Day 1

Lucinda Williams Cityfolk Festival - Day 1
Lucinda Williams

Up next is the Rock/Blues musician Lucinda Williams.

Lucinda has earned herself quite the resume over her tenured time on the music scene.

Having over 40 years under her belt she has been nominated for countless awards and even managed to bring home a Life Time Achievement Award for songwriting in 2011 and several Grammy Awards.

She took to the stage and started out strong with all the hardcore fans just eating it up. I knew of Lucinda but this was my first time seeing her live which was pretty fun. For those who were looking for a solid rock/blues performance you certainly came to the right place with this one.

She finished up her set with her die-hard fans hooked right from the first note.


Larkin Poe

Larkin Poe
Larkin Poe

Next up on the Ravenlaw stage is Larkin Poe.

I have to admit I had no idea who this was or anything about them and I was missing out.

Sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell make up the powerhouse group and you can just see the chemistry they have on stage. They are often referred to as “The little sisters of the Allman Brothers” which fits nicely with the heavy guitars and strong southern roots they bring to the table.

Rebecca started out with a strong guitar rift and instantly got the crowds attention. Megan was right there with her playing the unique lap steel guitar which was kind of awesome. The ladies rocked out and had a blast on stage even preforming a cover of Black Betty which was probably one of my favorites.

This was set to be a stand out performance for me for sure as it’s not every day you get to see 2 beautiful woman rock out like that. Very good show.


The Strumbellas

The Strumbellas
The Strumbellas

Closing out the main stage for day 1 is The Strumbellas.

Hailing from Toronto, The Strumbellas have been on the scene since 2008 and actually played CityFolk roughly 5 years ago. This band has seen lots of mainstream attention having won several awards including 2 Junos.

They talked about their time here in town and David Ritter on the keyboard even talked about his time at Carlton U and how the band has played venues all over Ottawa including Mavericks.

The night started with single of the year winning “We Don’t Know”. They followed up with “Young & Wild” and “In This Life”. The crowd sang along with every word. Most of us have heard some of these songs on the radio but it sure is a different feeling when you are there live. Watching thousands of people sing these songs while the band feeds off of it on stage is something else.

This was a pretty fun night for sure. You could tell everyone was having fun, even Dave was living his best life on stage dancing around and just getting in the groove.


For the first time at CityFolk Festival this was a pretty good way to start things off. The sisters of Larkin Poe had a stand out show and The Strumbellas brought it all home. I am looking forward to day 2 with Our Lady Peace, a long time staple on my playlists.


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