Sitting at a little over 60 different acts Festival International can, at times, seem a little overwhelming; and that’s before you factor in the fact many of us haven’t been introduced to these acts before.
If you’re looking for a little guidance then maybe I can help, after listening to most (there were a few I missed) of the bands I’ve put together a top 5 list of acts I’m the most excited about.
I tried to stay away from some of the bigger names and more popular bands and instead focused on some of the smaller acts.
There’s always going to be acts that surprise, inspire, and completely steal the show so this by no means is meant to be a list of the only bands to see.
5. Sweet Crude
This was the only Louisiana band that I put on the list and while they may sing in traditional Louisiana French they’re far from a traditional Louisiana sound. Still rooted in the music that makes the Pelican State special this group moves in directions that seem both new and exciting. Coupled with an amazing, energetic stage presence their shows are always a delight.
4. Jacques Surette
A Nova Scotian singer/songwriter listening to Jacques sing it’s hard to remember that he is still a teenager as he sounds like he’s been singing folk music for 20 years. It’s a little more laid back than some of the others on this list but offers you a great chance to catch your breath while also enjoying some great music.
3. Moonlight Benjamin
Learning how to sing in a Haitian protestant orphanage Moonlight Benjamin’s powerful vocals anchor a bluesy Voodoo rock sound. The music is a testament to her homeland of Haiti and her performances are her chance to share a piece of her culture with others.
2. Jarlath Henderson
I’m a major fan of traditional music of all kinds, and Jarlath brings in some great traditional Irish music both singing and playing a variety of instruments. In 2002 he was the first solo Irish singer to win the BBC’s Young Folk Musician of the Year. Another laid back set and a must-see for fans of traditional folk music.
1. Gato Preto
This band looks great. The music is a mixture of sounds from Rio to Cape Town, mixed with other African influences and some great beats thrown in for good measure. A true international collaboration the duo of Lee Bass and Gato Misteriosa looks like it will put on one of the most fun shows this festival season.