First let me say that I like music - all kinds of music. And I really like live-music concerts. But last night’s Kris Kristofferson concert at the Ottawa Folk Festival was the last outdoor concert for me.
Picture several hundred people in an open field under lead-gray skies, dressed in everything from sleeping bags to winter parkas and mitts as they braved 10 degree temperatures, stiff north winds blowing across the Ottawa River, and periodic drizzle. Sound appealing so far? Now add in too few porta-potties, exorbitantly priced concessions, and an aging 1960’s troubadour whose voice has seen better days, who periodically forgets the words to his songs, and frequently discovers at the most inopportune time that he has the wrong harmonica in his holder.
You’d think I’d know better by now. Last year it poured rain as I listened to Steve Earle mumble his way through some of his original material and a few more recent creations. The year before that it was almost as cold as last night and I shivered uncontrollably through Emmylou Harris with chattering teeth accompanying her otherwise fine performance.
Yup, been there before, but I’ve always been a slow learner. Not this time though. About midnight, after being out in this crap for about 5 hours and just before I turned into a popsicle, I decided that’s it. I’m too old for this Birkenstock, tie-died t-shirt, sit on the grass stuff. I want a comfy chair, a heated room, and a sound system not drowned out by the wind howling through the trees or the uncontrollable giggles of 50-somethings high on hippie lettuce when I listen to my favourite tunes. And if I have to pony up extra $$ for the privilege, so be it, it will be well worth the money. So Folk Fest, Blues Fest, Jazz Fest and any other outdoor music Fest, so long, it’s been good to know ya.