I just finished a whirl wind weekend of music at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. There are some pretty obvious reasons why I love it; great music, being outdoors, the food and the community. Above and beyond that though, I love the EFMF because folk artists are often concerned about justice issues and are not afraid to speak about them through their message of music. We know music connects us on a different, deeper level, that is why music is such a large part of worship in our faith communities. These amazing singer/song writers know how to craft a message that rings true, makes us think and can move us to action. This weekend I heard messages about our biases, the harm we do to others and the harm we do to our world. Some of these songs are new and speak to the dangers of ruining our environment (www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYOkYoPXvOw&list=PL7yLbVS3ud7jR9sq0xMU0kWHlBggT7cam&index=9) and causing suffering for the poorest among us now. But some of the songs have been around for a long time and as one artist put it, "we need to keep singing them until something changes." This artist was referring to Bob Dylan's song "Blowing in the Wind."
This year for Sunday morning "folk church" I took in a show with The War & Treaty, The Hamiltones, The California Honeydrops and Don Bryant. Wow was it dynamic, full of energy, clapping, dancing and praise to God. Variety is also another great spice of folk music and I was sure happy to enjoy some blue grass, southern gospel and big band flair all in one worship service that spoke about the name and person of Jesus Christ. I'll give an AMEN shout out to that! I will also leave you with one last song, performed on the Main Stage in front of thousands of people, by Bruce Cockburn. His career is long filled with sharp critic for societal ills and injustice. Apparently he is somewhat of an evangelist as well; enjoy.