Tuesday, 8 March 2016

My Memories of Stan Rogers...Canadian Folk Icon!

It was 1980 and the first Edmonton Folk Music Festival was held in Goldbar Park. 

There was a long lineup of performers; some I'd heard of...some I'd seen and some I didn't know much about. Some were folk music icons from the U.S. (Odetta, Jim Post, Doug Dillard Band); others from eastern Canada (Stringband, Mose Scarlett, Sylvia tyson & the Great Speckled Bird); some were western Canadian favourites (Valdy, Sheri Ulrich, Pied Pear) and some local favourites (Connie Kaldor, Fat Chants, Joan MacIsaac, The McDade Family).

There were some performers, that I'm sure most of the audience hadn't heard of. One of those performers was Stan Rogers, playing with his brother Garnet, accompanying him on vocals and the fiddle. They were the most talked about!

I had just finished my Bachelor's degree, at the University of Alberta, where I hung around with folk music intuitive students. My friends, who I attended the festival with; friends I spoke to at the festival, nor myself, knew nothing about Stan Rogers. 

You could tell from his commanding performances and participation in workshops, that he was bound to become a shining folk music star for Canada!

Stan made another appearance at the 1981 Edmonton Folk Music Festival, that had now moved to it's present side at Gallagher Park. Wherever he and his brother played...There was a crowd.

He didn't play at the 1982 festival, but was making his way to becoming one folk music's top performers. 

In 1983 he had gone to the Kerrville Folk Festival, in Texas, where many performers go to become famous. Tragically Stan died in an on-board fire, aboard an Air Canada flight, on his way home.

From a Rewind episode on CBC, where you can listen the second of two broadcasts called "Stan Rogers: Folk Singer, Storyteller, Proud Canadian", there are some amazing tributes by some of the best in the industry!

  • Peter Yarrow of the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary, called Rogers "an extraordinary talent, the likes of which we haven't seen since Bob Dylan." 
  • Tom Paxton said Rogers "was to Canada what Woody Guthrie was to the United States."
  • Pete Seeger said "Stan Rogers was one of the most talented singers and songwriters in North America."
Stan has been immortalized in Canadian folk music, in several ways.

The main stage in the park where the Canmore Folk Festival is named the Stan Rogers Stage.

The Contenders (Valdy & Gary Fjellgaard) Perform on the Stan Rogers Stage - Canmore Folk Festival – 2006
Photo Credit: Bob Kenyon© 2007

In 1984 Stan was granted the Diplomme d'honneur from the Canadian Conference of the Arts, the highest award for artists in the country.

Probably the best honour, that Stan received was having the Canso, Nova Scotia festival called the Stan Rogers Folk Festival.

We all miss you Stan!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for adding your free event to our blog.