It’s written in my ticket album that I went to the Ottawa Folk Festival at Britannia Park on August 30th, 1998. I have no recollection of this event at all, but a quick glance through the pages shows that this would have been the first time I went to Folk Fest, and one of the few times I went back in the days when the festival was held out in Britannia, so it could be that I remember it a bit after all.
I can certainly picture the site as clear as a sunny day, which I suspect this was. The stage sitting as it did in a clearing facing the wide Ottawa River, with a small smattering of booths scattered around and a secondary stage sitting off to the right somewhere. I think I remember going down by the water, maybe even running into one of my students and their mom, and marvelling at the canopy of stars that hung over the stage later in the evening.
But it’s the list of performers that are named on the little piece of paper in my ticketbook that really makes me not remember being there. It says I saw Arlo Guthrie, David Essig, and The Wyrd Sisters that day. I remember seeing Arlo Guthrie like it happened yesterday, but that show was at the small venue inside the National Library Archives downtown, not at Britannia Park. And I could have sworn that was the only time I saw Arlo.
Likewise, I’ll never forget seeing David Essig at Blue Skies and even jamming with him afterwards around a campfire, but that wasn’t Folk Fest, and again I thought that was the only time I saw (or heard of) him.
And I’ve seen The Wyrd Sisters? News to me.
Come to think of it, without a ticket stub for this alleged day-at-the-festival how can I be sure it even happened at all? I guess it comes down to trusting my old self to not have made up stuff willy-nilly just to mess with my newer, more forgetful self.
But that does sound like something I would have done; I used to be quite the scallywag. But how could I have known that I wouldn’t have remembered not going to this show, and especially how could I have suspected I would have forgotten counting on myself to forget my own self-ruse?
I couldn’t have so I probably didn’t do.
All in all it was a great time.
(Now that I’m re-reading this a distinct memory of seeing Arlo on the folkfest stage has arisen in my mind. I was near the back of the field and Arlo was sitting in a chair midstage with a bright yellow light shining down on his long shaggy hair as he told tale after tale to a rapt crowd.
Or perhaps I’m having a vision of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. Either way: good show.)