Jeff Green | Jun 21, 2007
Feature Article - March 8, 2007
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2nd Annual Elphin Roots festivalby Jeff Green
Jenny Whiteley describes it as a compulsion.
“When I see certain kinds of spaces, I think somebody should put on a show there.”
This compulsion has led her to organize a series of shows in venues such as the Maberly Hall and the McDonalds Corners Agricultural Hall. One day a couple of years ago when she was out for a walk near her home in Elphin, she came upon a site she thought would be perfect for a small festival. It turned out the site was owned by Rick Killingbeck, who uses it for an annual rock festival.
Jenny met Rick, and they talked a bit about putting on an acoustic based festival, and the Elphin Roots Festival was born. The second annual Elphin Roots Festival is slated for Saturday June 30.
When she’s not being drawn towards organizing shows at perfect venues in tiny villages, Jenny Whiteley spends a lot of time travelling across Canada performing as an alt country/roots singer songwriter. This winter as she was travelling in support of her 2006 recording, Dear, she had plenty of opportunity to talk up the festival to some fine musicians from across the country.
The line up this year includes: Jim Bryson, Sheesham and Lotus (old time fiddle and banjo), Leavin' Train (bluegrass), Chris Brown, Melwood Cutlery, Luther Wright and the Wrongs, Kyra and Tully, Emily Fennel, Dan Whiteley, Joey Wright, Butterfingers (kids’ music), and some very special guests!!
There will be many other performers as well, but because many of the performers at the Roots Festival play at some even larger venues in the summer, such as the Ottawa Bluesfest and the like, contractual obligations make it impossible to publicize that they will be performing in Elphin. Last year, one of the special guests was David Francey, and this year a couple of excellent singer-songwriters will be coming as well, but you have to come out to the festival to find out who they are.
“I think that’s going to be part of the appeal of the festival in the coming years, people will have to attend to find out who the special guests are.”
Jenny Whiteley is not officially on the entertainers’ schedule, since not only does she have an organizing role, she is also getting into late pregnancy with her second child, but she’ll be sure to get on stage a few times during the day.
This year’s festival includes expanded activities for kids, including a performance by the band Butterfingers, and possibly a soccer game.
Tickets to the Elphin Roots Festival are $20, and are available for order through Shadowfax at 1-800-518-2729 or at the gate. To get to the Elphin Roots Festival take county road 36 north from Maberly, drive to Elphin, and turn left at the flashing amber light. The festival grounds are on the right.