Artist: Bry Webb and the Providers
Songs: Outbound Only, No Return + Memory of a Free Festival [David Bowie cover]
Recorded at Christie Pits Park (Bloor Ossington Folk Festival – Day 2), September 18, 2016.
Unsurprisingly, the fine sunny weather accompanying the festival's final day had the park feeling much more lively and animated with dog-walkers and playground patrons. The tent was also a lot busier from the get-go and as the warm sun held overhead, the rise of the hill beyond was soon filling as well. There was more of a poignant sad undertone to the day, with organizers, bands and audience members all dwelling a little more on the idea that this was the end of the line for the festival. But, as always, the music was a balm and a call to enjoy these moments while they last.
It seemed a little strange that this was the first time Bry Webb had played BOFF — his music is squarely in the "scene" and vibe that is close to the event's heart. Festival director Kristjan Harris commented that this was a few years in coming, and the fact the Webb was willing to play in the festival's shrunk-down, revamped format was one of the reasons that this year's resurrection had happened at all. Webb's set mixed material from his two solo albums plus some new stuff — and ended with this early "folk" song from David Bowie, which felt like a perfectly-sympathetic dose of instant nostalgia. With Webb being the third member of the Constantines to have played over the course of the weekend, I think some in the crowd were hoping for some sort of collaboration, but instead they got a solo version of the Cons' "Soon Enough", whose "years from now" sentiments also added a retrospective tint to the festival's closing — and ending.