Riverfest memories

If it is possible to have a happiness hangover, that’s me this week. Three nights and two days of amazing music at Riverfest Elora has rendered me cheerfully exhausted. It’s wonderful. And for that, I am grateful to the organizers for creating a music festival that is truly about the audience experience, because, wow, what an experience.

As someone who believes spontaneity is the spark of life, I am glad this festival proves me right. Like most people, I downloaded the schedule app to my phone and planned every act I wanted to see. Then, true to my nature, I stopped to talk to people on the way in to the festival and missed a whole bunch of performances I planned to see because I didn’t get to the stages on time. And I didn’t stress. Not even a little, (which is practically impossible for me). This was a go-with-the-flow weekend.

The beautiful thing about our music festival by the river is that, at every turn, a wave of different music washes over you. Three stages and around sixty bands, it’s impossible not to find something you like. My best laid plans gone awry weren’t a failure, because I discovered a whole bunch of new music I would never have known otherwise. The artists I expected to love didn’t disappoint, but the bands I didn’t even know impressed me so much that I ended up with a whole new playlist. And we all know Kelly loves her car ride playlists.

As the Carpenter volunteered for the event, my sidekick for the weekend was our teenage daughter (my Broadway Baby), and I was so grateful for the opportunity to introduce her to a diverse lineup of powerhouse female performers. My daughter got up close to watch these women rock out. She saw the strength of their talent, their fierce stage presence, and their ability to hit the notes without auto-tune, lip-syncing and the distraction of back-up dancers. Raw energy. Real music. She will never forget the intensity of the female lead of The Creepshow, or the harmonies and musicianship of The Beaches, or the non-stop energy of Dear Rouge, or how much I fanned out to July Talk. And while she may never understand that Carole Pope is a legend, she will remember what I told her about Pope’s impact on my generation, (insert eye roll).  Of course, she also loved to see her classmate Madison Galloway perform, because this music festival supports local talent too.

But I know my daughter will never forget seeing Carly Rae Jepsen, a Canadian girl who performed in high school musicals and made it all the way to the bright lights of Broadway. My, oh my. Yet what I hope my girl will remember from that show is the two of us together, flipping out and singing our hearts out to “Call Me Maybe,” dancing like everybody was watching and we couldn’t care less. Because, all music aside that will be my takeaway.

Well, that and slow dancing with the Carpenter as Blue Rodeo played our song, “Lost Together.” Pretty sure our daughter will remember that too because she told us we were gross for our public display of affection. But then she joined us in the dance too. It was  perfect. Absolutely perfect. Best weekend of my summer.





Kelly Waterhouse