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Concert Photography, Music

Photos: Wolfe Island Music Festival “Winter Ball” @ The Great Hall

By: Patrick Bales

The sounds of Wolfe Island were transported to Toronto once again for the second annual Wolfe Island Music Festival Winter Ball last night (Feb. 17th). The line-up featured a collection of Canadian independent musicians, either who have graced the stage at one of the previous 19 editions or who will be part of this year’s festival when the lineup is announced in May.

The Winter Ball is both a fundraiser and a teaser for the annual festival, taking place on Wolfe Island, just a short ferry ride away from downtown Kingston. It can be difficult to transport the atmosphere of Wolfe Island in the summer – one of the most beautiful parts of Eastern Ontario – into a Parkdale concert hall, but last night’s show certainly came close at times.

While Born Ruffians tore the roof off the venue with songs from their recently released album, Uncle Duke & The Chief, and Chris Murphy and Mike O’Neil (of Tuns, Sloan, the Inbreds, etc.) sent the crowd gently into the night with melodic covers of “All I Have To Do Is Dream” by the Everly Brothers and “If I Fell” by the Beatles, it was Justin Rutledge who provided the highlight of the evening.

Before his third song, Rutledge turned his attention to Virginia Clark, the creator and curator of the Wolfe Island Music Festival. Rutledge was one of the many musicians who shouted out Clark from the stage, lauding her commitment to Canadian music, through both the festival and her years of concert promotion in Kingston, including turning The Grad Club into one of the premier venues in the country for up-and-coming artists.

Clark had asked him to play The Tragically Hip’s “Nautical Disaster,” a song he had recorded on his 2013 LP Valleyheart. A room that had been filled with chatter as he began strumming his guitar was eerily silent by the time Rutledge reached the second verse. As Rutledge finished the song he dedicated to Clark and the City of Kingston, a thunderous applause took hold in the room, as Clark, who had been situated side stage, hugged a friend and wiped tears from her eye.

The 20th Wolfe Island Music Festival runs from Aug. 10 and 11.



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