20 years ago, I sang on stage for the first time in my life, in front of a small crowd on a Friday night of a burgeoning new music festival in town. I had no idea then how much that decision would impact the rest of my life. Canterbury was born, and a short while later, so were some of my most meaningful relationships.
It was at one of the first CFF fundraiser shows where I met my soon-to-be band-mate Morgan (yay, incomplete!), and we both became involved with the festival's planning committee. A year later, I met the man who would become my husband while introducing him as a performer on the Friday night (yay Fathers Groove!). Over the next four years, Dan and I would both be involved with planning and performing so it only seemed fitting that we get married on that same stage.
Maybe some of you were there.
Still married, 14 years now, and we all still celebrate Canterbury together, just now from Alberta! Incredibly, Morgan is raising her own little band just down the street from where we now live, just north of Calgary. Sometimes, we are just blown away by how fortunate we all are to have made such life long connections, over thousands of miles and decades of time. And none of it would have happened without Canterbury.
For me, Canterbury represented an accessible venue for local singers & strummers to stretch their artistic muscles, in a supportive environment, surrounded by family & friends. And everyone could attend, no ticket charge meant families could come soak in a weekend of music.
It's often the one time of year where people get a chance to catch up with one another, or have the opportunity of bumping into an old friend they hadn't seen in years.
And this is why each and every year, the board of volunteers commit hundreds of hours into bringing Canterbury to life. 365 days of planning goes into 3 amazing days of music, all right here, at home.
Very rarely will you find people in a community so dedicated to an idea that not only does the idea take flight, but outlasts the original plan four times over.
As bittersweet as it is to say goodbye to the institution that Canterbury has become, the gift of 20 years of fantastic music & the lasting memories made there, are something to be truly thankful for.
So let's all raise a glass and give thanks to those that have made it all possible, for all these years.
Enjoy in the music and comradely one last time and let us always remember when music was free.
Aaron Alderson and Dan Bartram