Julian Taylor returned to the Mariposa Folk Festival this weekend after 18 years; just don’t ask him what his first experience was like.
“We were just young punks,” he said of that appearance with his former band, Staggered Crossing. “Being young punks, we don’t remember a thing.”
He will, however, remember his performance Saturday with the Julian Taylor Band. The genre-bending artist put on a high-energy set on the main stage, and the audience was there for it.
“The vibe and the energy from the crowd was great,” he said.
Taylor has grown as an artist, and he’s glad to see festivals like Mariposa have also been open to growth and diversifying their lineups.
“The intention of all things is to grow. That’s what we’re supposed to do,” he said, referring to himself as “the same soul living in a different body all the time.”
Amy Millan also made her sophomore appearance at Mariposa this weekend, this time performing with her band, Stars, on the main stage Saturday.
She performed solo in 2008, opening for Gordon Lightfoot. This weekend, she took part in a Lightfoot-themed workshop and played his song, Sundown. Then, moments before Stars took to the stage Saturday, she rushed backstage when she was told Lightfoot had shown up.
“I sang Gordon Lightfoot and then I met Gordon Lightfoot four hours later,” she recalled after her set. “Pack me up in my coffin and send me into the lake.”
Lightfoot made a brief appearance after Stars’ set to perform If You Could Read My Mind.
When Millan heard the hometown folk hero had arrived as she was about to go on stage, she thought, “I don’t care; I’m going to meet the man.”
“He was such a sweetheart. You can tell he’s just a diamond geezer, as we call them.”
She then delivered a passionate performance with Stars, to the delight of a crowd of all ages that was eager to dance and sing along.
“When you play and get up in front of people and they’re dancing, there’s nothing more incredible,” she said. “I feel like the luckiest person alive.”
Initially thinking her band might be “too loud” for a folk fest crowd, any concerns she had disappeared when she saw the reaction to the lively set.
She described Mariposa as “legendary” and said she’d be thrilled to return.
“It’s such an honour to be here,” she said. “Any time they want us back, we will be completely honoured to play here.”
Millan wasn’t the only one who was unsure about how a folk fest audience would react.
“I was a little bit scared because it’s a folk festival and we’re a rock band,” said Terra Lightfoot, “but it was great.”
Her performance Saturday marked her first appearance at the festival.
“They told me the workshops were invented here, so that was fun,” said Lightfoot, who took part in workshops Saturday and Sunday.