From Fred Penner to Spirit of the West — Your best stories from Folk on the Rocks

With Folk on the Rocks kicking off this weekend, we asked you to share some of your favourite memories of meeting an artist who performed at the festival.

We asked for your memories of meeting artists at the annual Yellowknife festival

Lauren Nolan's favourite memory of Folk on the Rocks was when she met singer Dan Mangan in 2015. She says he played her favourite song, 'Basket,' for the final song of his performance, after she shouted out her request from the crowd. 'I will always treasure this memory,' she says. (Submitted by Lauren Nolan)

We've all been there — awestruck at the sight of our favourite musician performing in the flesh, or at a loss for words when you finally make it to the end of that line of fans waiting for an autograph.

With Folk on the Rocks kicking off this weekend, we asked you to share some of your favourite memories of meeting an artist who performed at the music festival.

Here's what people had to say.

The time John Mann stopped at the Wildcat Café

It was 1987 or 1989 when Susan Martin went to her first Folk on the Rocks and saw Spirit of the West.

She'd never heard of the band before, but once she did, "I couldn't imagine my life without them," Martin said.

As a waitress at the Wildcat Café, she ended up serving the band members when they were in town for the festival.

When they later came to her university to perform, frontman John Mann invited everyone up on stage to share their thoughts with them after they played.

"I was able to go up and ... I recited his order to him exactly that he'd had at the Wildcat," said Martin. "He'd wanted a vegetarian sandwich or something, with hummus."

Mann looked at her like she was a little crazy, said Martin. But given he's now living with Alzheimer's disease, "that memory is all the more special to me,' she said.

"And that's what Folk on the Rocks does — it carries on into your life and gives you really special moments, special memories."

The time Fred Penner rode a quad

The first time Charlotte Overvold volunteered at Folk on the Rocks, she signed up for trash and recycling, because "we got to use the quads," she said.

She was hanging out where some of the artists spend time, when an older man who was crowded by a group of people started looking for a ride. He was running late to get to the kids section, Overvold said.

"I rode up and I was like, 'Hey! Do you need a ride?'"

So the man jumped on the quad. They cruised around, chit chatting about how nice Yellowknife is and how friendly the people are. People began waving at them, but "I didn't understand what was going on," she said.

Later on, after another ride and saying hello back and forth to each other, Overvold's friend came up to her.

"Oh my God, Fred Penner just like waved at you!," the friend said. "That's Fred Penner!"

Overvold had no idea it was the famed Canadian children's music performer.

"I got to give Fred Penner a ride on a quad," she said. "It was pretty great."

A file photo of Fred Penner. The children's musician visited Yellowknife to perform at Folk on the Rocks in 2011. (CBC Music)

The time musicians signed a baby's banner

Naomi Grandjambe said Folk on the Rocks has always been a "family affair" for her. Her son Jayden was just a month old for his first Folk weekend.

Grandjambe and her mother wanted to do something special, so they decided to try and get as many musicians and entertainers as possible to sign a banner for Jayden, as a keepsake.

"We succeeded and met and had more than half the performers to sign his banner," she said. "But my highlight was Fred Penner, as I grew up watching [the TV show] Fred Penner's Place — it was almost a dream come true!"

She said her family has only missed one Folk on the Rocks weekend since Jayden was born.

"Jayden is now a young adult and still looks forward to his weekend full of sun, sand and music," Grandjambe said.

Tammy Beaverho, left, says she met some of the musicians from the band The Dead South during her first time at Folk on the Rocks last year. She said she and her friend Megan Shaben, far right, were both lucky enough to chat with the group members. (Submitted by Tammy Beaverho)

The time an artist discovered the honey bucket

Terry Woolf has many memories to share of Folk on the Rocks, like taking blues singer Rita Chiarelli canoeing while she was billeted at his home. He also played the triangle with another musician.

"During his gig at the beer garden, he was playing so hard he broke his triangle and was devastated," said Woolf.

But someone took the musician to Paul Bros. Welding, where they built him a brand new steel triangle, for free.

"This guy was amazed at the generosity and kept talking about it," said Woolf.

But that's not the last of his stories: another involves a honey bucket, a makeshift portable toilet.

"One year we had the after-the-festival party in our yard on Back Bay," he said. "We put a honey bucket in our greenhouse for people to use."

The space was "a jungle of greenery" that people had to wade their way through just to find the toilet.

Woolf said artist Njacko Backo, from Cameroon, went to use the "facilities," sticking his head into the "jungle" and then back out again, shouting in a thick Cameroon accent, "Mon, I love dis toilet."


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