Arts & EventsRain Can’t Dampen Joy

Rain Can’t Dampen Joy

Rain Can’t Dampen Joy

All photos by Andre Gagne.

It may be nine hours before Vance Joy is set to walk on the stage to the screams of hundreds of fans but one of them was already there. Sarah Allegra, clutching a homemade sign and bearing a temporary tattoo with Joy’s name, is first in the CityFolk line. Soon the festival gates would open and she’d sprint her way to the front of the stage ensuring a clear view of her idol, full of hope that maybe he’ll see her out there in the dark.

Sarah Allegra was ready early for Vance Joy.
Sarah Allegra was ready early for Vance Joy.

"I feel like his music his really heartfelt and you just feel like you want to give him a hug listening to it,” the student said, her head tilted to one side listening to Joy’s sound check in the distance.

Allegra didn’t realize that later that day she’d actually be able to give Joy that hug but, before then, she had a long, wet wait in front of her. There always seems to be one at least one drenched day at this festival and, despite organizers hopes it would all pass quickly, the rains came early to CityFolk Saturday and only offered minor temporary reprieves to fans like Sarah.


Basia Bulat performs in the downpour.

Fest days like these are one’s where volunteers should be issued an umbrella and kayak with their standard issue t-shirt. The weather kept the afternoon crowds small but, on the plus side, it meant shorter lines for craft beer inside the Aberdeen. Patrons did have to sidestep around some buckets and puddles, however, as the roof sprung a few leaks. Stage staff were quick to toss plastic over instruments and sound equipment both inside and out making the stages resemble some kind of crime scene for shows by The New Pornographers and Basia Bulat. All in all, a perfect for day for some Dan Mangan“Bummer Jams”.

“This is nice, but I’m not getting dumped on by rain. The sun can’t shine every day,” said Mangan, overlooking the first big festival crowd of the day. The singer would eventually step out and be pelted with a few drops himself during his solo, acoustic show that afternoon.


CityFolk volunteers take advantage of empty Kids Zone to get their faces painted.

The rain was oddly enough producing a drought elsewhere on the
grounds. The Kids Zone staff –hoping youngsters eager to see the afternoon performance by Canadian children’s entertainer Fred Penner would have energetically streamed in by now– resorted to painting each other’s faces.

“They’ll come and we’ll be ready,” the now cat-faced man, also known as John Currie, said to his team and they soon did as families packed the Aberdeen for Penner’s show.

Families and kids alike joined Fred Penner in songs and dance.

Fred Penner smiles at a packed Aberdeen Pavilion.

Penner wisely broke out “Ain’t Gonna Rain No More” early in the show that, at least for an hour anyway, became a musical daycare for both kids and parents. Now in his 44th year as a performer, many of those in the audience were raised on his music and are now passing it along to their kids and grandkids. The glum weather could not stop the smiles inside the pavilion.

Julia Jacklin performed for those looking to get out of the rain and into a leaky Aberdeen Pavilion.

All this time Sarah Allegra patiently waited in the day’s downpours, her Vance Joy sign more protected then she was. If the long wait in the rain only yielded a chance to see Joy perform it all would have been worth it. However, a greater reward was given to Allegra when she won a local contest to meet her idol backstage. While she waited in the gathering crowd that afternoon she snapped some photos of herself along with a friend also braving the weather that were noticed by the festival. Soon the unbelieving fan was ushered through the gates, passed security and into the receiving end of that hug she spoke about nearly nine hours earlier.

‘I couldn’t believe I’d actually met him,” said a still beaming Allegra shortly after her encounter with Joy. “He’s really nice and gives good hugs.”

Vance Joy somehow stopped the rain for his Saturday night CityFolk show.
Vance Joy somehow stopped the rain for his Saturday night CityFolk show.

“Do you like walking in the rain?” sang Joy with a witty smile, opening the show with “Mess Is Mine”. Sarah Allegra was surly one of the dampened masses cheering in a crowd that abruptly forgot how wet they were. And then, four songs into the Australian singer’s set, the rain suddenly stopped. It’s hard to know if anybody noticed, though. This crowd probably would have stood there in an ice storm fuelled by the warmth in Joy’s songs. Every time the singer changed instruments, when he smiled, or brushed one of his curly hairs away from his forehead, the crowd cheered. Even the ukulele received an ovation!

cityfolk-day-3-34-of-40w“There’s a good vibe out there tonight,” said Joy as the umbrellas started to come down.

His near 90-minute set consisted of popular tunes like “Riptide” and “Georgia”, tearjerkers like “From Afar” and some nods to Fleetwood Mac and Paul Simon with covers of “The Chain” and “You Can Call Me Al”. By the time he played his last tune, “Fire and the Flood”, there had thankfully been more of the former then the latter in a show that could have gone on all night.

Rain or no rain, for fans like Sarah Allegra, that would have been just fine.



  1. Mess Is Mine
  2. Red Eye
  3. Winds of Change
  4. All I Ever Wanted
  5. Play With Fire
  6. Straight Into Your Arms
  7. The Chain (Fleetwood Mac cover)
  8. My Kind of Man
  9. From Afar
  10. Wasted Time
  11. Georgia
  12. Best That I Can
  13. Riptide
  14. You Can Call Me Al / Cheerleader (Paul Simon / OMI cover)
  15. Fire and the Flood

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