It’s fitting that a winter festival celebrates the melancholy of the dead of winter. The uplifting feeling of sunny summer days was missing, but nevertheless it was a weekend of beautiful introspection. Whether it was the pair of old rockers trying to find their youth, or a brave soul singing of the battle against depression, it seems that misery still loves company. In the Dead of Winter celebrates the long cold dark, and the messy ways we survive the East Coast’s harsh winters.
Luckily we have hidden gems like The Barrowdowns, The Attempted Murder of Laura Jean, and Irish Mythen, who will not let us go silently into the night. We will stomp and dance until the sun comes back, shaking the cold from our bones.
Until the sun returns though, In the Dead of Winter music festival will help us to forget. At the Seahorse Thursday, a mandolin rang in the festival, upbeat, and warming up the early crowd. As the night progressed Kurt Inder brought back memories of the winter blues, with their mournful voices, and musical movements. LUKA continued to carry the torch, with haunting melodies.
Friday night, was definitely a politically charged event. After, a fascist leader rose to power, Nick Everett began the healing process. Loveland brought the crowd down to the dance floor, the folk danced with each other spilling their beers as the light began returning to their eyes. The Barrowdowns took to the stage with Dave Fultz’s eyes and instruments conjuring memories of Messtival. Their heavy alternative folk always leads to dancing, dancing, and more dancing. Rowan Walker hit hard with politically charged songs and fists were raised in defiance as he channeled the crowds energy towards organizing against the rise of Fascism.
At the end of the evening the Wooden Sky took to the stage, bringing us the best of Ontario, rather than Onterrible. Their powerful sound overpowered the EDM music from Future Winter at the Marquee, and the building shook. They ended the night with an encore, and finally the crowd was pushed back out into the starless night.
The last night of the festival at the Carleton was a sitdown affair. Filled to the brim, it was an older crowd thrilled by the rock & pop of Kane & Potvin. Andrea Ramolo raised a middle finger and awareness to depression throughout her set. Describing her journey, and encouraging others to take note, especially as the winter blues begin to become a real threat. Accompanied by her new boyfriend, a handsome six string bass, she sang of loss and healing.
Irish Mythen came onstage, dressed like an Irish Gypsy, because Air Canada lost her luggage in between P.E.I. and Halifax. Her sound captivated the crowd, fierce, strong, unapologetic. Politically charged she told stories of her youth, bullying, teen suicide, and the importance of talking to our young folk as soon as possible. The crowd joined her in an acapella rendition of the Auld Triangle, and glasses were raised, clinking with friends and strangers alike.
In the Dead of Winter is a festival that illuminates the struggles of living in Canada. Long nights, warm drinks, good food, friends, and music are what we need more often. Without them life can become dull, dreary, and depressing. Fight the winter blues, and depression, sing songs, and fight back.
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