The Lilith Wind is blowing: A festival of female musicality

It’s a great day for a sunburn. There’s many musics: there’s lots of enthusiastic listeners, and there’s a mix of influences which makes us very happy.

However, up until the day of the Lilith Fair 2010, we had learned only that there was music from 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm, and who they are. On that Sunday, we read at 1:00 that they started playing at noon. Ooops. And the Lilith FaceBook site also told us that the music would go until 11:00 instead of 10:00. Who do we believe?

Woman and band onstage in front of a mountain range.
In my memory, this is Sarah McLachlan, onstage at the Calgary Lilith Fair where she loomed magnificent as the Rockies. Photo by Carey Rutherford

So we hopped the C-Train to the Banff Trail stop and joined the hordes of other happy Lilithers crossing the bridge to McMahon Stadium, only knowing there was going to be good stuff because of the jubilance that crossed with us.

Big line-ups. But there’s music playing outside the stadium, showcasing acts who are given this chance to play in a setting which brings smiles to the faces of those standing in the lines. All these folks want to be here, and the weather helps create the summer festival atmosphere which carries us past the harried ticket-sellers, past tthe backpack checkers, through the packed interior of the stadium food areas, up the steps to sit and eat while waiting for Colbie Caillat to open the new incarnation of Lilith.

Man she’s got a great voice. Ms. Caillat seems new at this outdoor festival thing, only because she keeps thanking us and others. but it’s great music, and too short.

Eryka Badu is initially discordant, or perhaps arrhythmic is a better word. It’s not clear what she’s up to at first. If I had known her music ahead of time, I’d have been less surprised by her acid-jazz-funky-dub-step type of tripping. She and her band grab the whole mess about (what seemed to be) the third song, and then the beat took over and I could see women around the floor of McMahon grooving, getting the hip-slumping moment in the bars of music which pulls the not-so-listening crowd into attention. Ms. Badu and her band created some REALLY interesting musical moments which makes me what to learn more about her music.

And isn’t that what the Fair is all about?

Sheryl Crow just rocks the place. She steps up and takes the crowd by the hand and pulls them onstage, including the little kid who danced for her. Is he hers? I’ll find out for you. Having not seen her perform before, we now understand her reputation as a musician. “Gonna Soak Up The Sun” is made for this day, no question.

(As I’m currently sitting at a campfire in Drumheller, my internet research is a little subdued. I’ll get on it, though. Happy Canada Day!)

I found it interesting that the lead singer of Sugarland, and one or two other artists, mentioned Sarah McLachlan in tones of reverence. “Saw her on the river walk, but she wouldn’t know who I was . . “ Really? Don’t they all hang together? I guess there’s too many bands and their families on the tour for everyone to be partying, and with Sarah playing EVERY show, she’d have a fair bit of energy to preserve for the Fair. Besides, Sugarland is a party unto itself. I like like like.

Sarah. Ms. McLachlan lived up to her fair-long buildup, You either love her, or you don’t, and clearly McMahon was in love. I can assure you, I’m one of them.

Recurring evanescence

Check out the Lilith Fair. Whatever reason you do, it’ll be for the right one.

Posted by Hannah Rutherford

Author: Carey Rutherford

Swallowed by the mutual loves of words and music (but far too chicken-shit to perform them with a band), Carey’s writing career started slowly as a freelance writer in 2003, starved him nearly to personal bankruptcy until 2008, and changed directions while writing for FastForward, Beacon Calgary, GayCalgary, and Examiner magazines. With the death of many old-school periodicals, and the explosion of musical diversity in Calgary, the modern approach to writing about live music performance in the Calgary region presented uncluttered landscapes for the focussed passion that Carey’s conversations with musicians, drag queens, festival producers and small animals has uncapped. He was moulded by the brilliance of paper-based periodicals old and new (Life, rolling Stone, Swerve! and Adbusters etc.), and sees the info-verse as needing creative, empathetic, but clear-eyed Agents to communicate these performances.