K'Naan, The Head and the Heart conclude second day of Vancouver Folk Music Festival


It's not often that the audience at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival turns into a jumping, arm-waving sea of people, but that's what the front section of the crowd morphed into Saturday (July 14) evening when headliner K'Naan took to the stage.

The Somali-Canadian artist instantly had the crowd at Jericho Beach Park jumping and dancing as he launched into an energetic set around 10 p.m. Saturday evening.

The singer banged on a drum and hopped around the stage as he and his band had audience members singing along. The artist's headlining set also included some more subdued songs, such as "Take a Minute" and the moving track "Fatima", which concluded the main part of his performance.

K'Naan returned for an encore featuring a crowd-pleasing cover of Neil Young's "Heart of Gold", and the musician's ubiquitous hit "Wavin' Flag", which saw the arm-waving and singing spread across the audience.

The singer-songwriter's set, which concluded a day of workshops and concerts at Jericho Beach, followed another lively performance from indie folk-pop group The Head and the Heart.

The Seattle band had the crowds energized and dancing to their catchy, sing-a-long tunes like "Coeur D'Alene" and "Cats And Dogs" in one of the highlight performances of the day. The band's energy as they switched between guitar, tambourine, percussion, guitar and other instruments was infectious, and their sound flawless as the three equally talented vocalists shared the mic. As the sun went down, the group concluded the set with the gorgeous harmonies of "Rivers and Roads".

Other highlights Saturday evening included a Stage 3 concert from Canadian singer Royal Wood. The singer-songwriter rotated between keyboards and guitar as he and his band played a mix of upbeat tracks from his latest record We Were Born to Glory, such as the catchy "The Thick of It", and ballads from earlier in his repertoire including "Juliet".

In appropriate folk fest tradition, the dapper musician frequently interacted with the crowd, making jokes and telling the stories behind some of his tunes, before closing the set with tracks including the beautiful "I'm So Glad".

Other mainstage performances Saturday evening included sets from Sidi Touré of Mali, Tunisian singer Emel Mathlouthi, and The Barr Brothers. Stage 3 featured music from Amelia Curran, hip-hop artist Blitz the Ambassador and the lively samba group Bombolessé, which had the whole audience dancing, while North Carolina quartet Chatham County Line brought their bluegrass sounds to Stage 2.

The lively evening and stellar line-up was a fitting end to a day of sunshine and impressive music, which sent the crowd of thousands filing out happy at the end of the night.

While the clouds have rolled in for the third and final day of the festival, the line-up promises to be equally crowd-pleasing, with headliners including Hey Rosetta! and Ani DiFranco. Full schedule details can be found on the Vancouver Folk Music Festival's website.

Photo gallery: Day 2 of the Vancouver Folk Music Festival.

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