Last night, with D1 and SIL in tow, we embarked on our latest outing in this unique area that is now home.
The Ottawa Valley, essentially the rural area to the north and west of the city of Ottawa (my description, not necessarily technically spot on), has long been a unique area with lots of fiddling and such. Since I have already written of attending a Celtic Jam or two, you know that we have begun to explore this connection. Actually, this isn't much of a stretch for me as I have quite taken to some of the celtic-flavoured music coming out of Canada's East Coast — The Rankins and Great Big Sea, among others.
To the point then: the little town to the north, Almonte, is holding its 10th annual Celtefest this weekend. The main event is today; it is being held in the open air and is free. Last night, however, there was a pay-up concert in The Old Town Hall by the headliners, The Elders. Oddly enough, they are from Kansas City. How a Celtic band forms in Kansas City and is then induced to travel to and perform at such a tiny and obscure venue is beyond me, but that's the reality of it.
(Pardon the interruption while I pet the cat who is in his tight, little spot beside my keyboard. He really appreciates these interruptions and thanks you for your patience.)
We found our way to The Old Town Hall and were quite shocked when we walked in. Tables were set out all through the room with chairs around them, more like a church social than a concert. I find such things quite charming: the old, rural ways butting up against modernity. By all means, I hope they hang onto their small-town charm for a long, long time.
The audience was quite old. Cuppa and I were surely below the median age, and Butterfly and Boy stood out as the youngins. Call it a Q-tip crowd if you will. You know: curly, white-haired ladies and friends. But the band was very modern. They were Celtic (sort of) but not the quaint and hauntingly pretty type of Celtic. No, they fall into the Celtic Rock sub-genre. They were loud and rollicking, no doubt the kind that expect the listeners to get up and free-dance in the aisles.
Of course, there was none of that, not even a lot of head-nodding or toe-tapping as far as I could tell. But I loved the juxtaposition of the old and the new and extend credit to the both the people and the musicians for living on the edges of their experiences. In the end, I think everybody had a good time. I know I did.
The music festival odyssey will continue in several weeks. The Riverside Jam will occur in our own community. Cuppa and I have, perhaps foolishly, volunteered to help supervise this event. This one is a country music format and quite a bit larger. People even bring their campers for the three-day festival. We'll see how that goes.