Any plans for this weekend? No? Well, you do now! Join the groovy folks from Yorkville’s 60s and 70s as they launch the first annual SPIRIT OF YORKVILLE MUSIC FESTIVAL on Friday May 22nd and Saturday May 23rd with shows at The Pilot Tavern, 22 Cumberland St. (at Yonge & Bloor). www.spiritofyorkville.com
I was thrilled to speak with one of the Festival’s founders, CATHY YOUNG, the Juno Award winning Canadian folk singer/guitarist from Yorkville’s golden era. Billboard Magazine named Cathy’s A Spoonful of Cathy Young (below) as its ‘Pick of the Week’ in 1969 .
Since those hippy-dippy folkie days, Cathy (pictured below then and now) toured constantly throughout the 80’s and 90’s and has diversified into theatre & television work including roles in the Canadian touring version of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ (as Mary Magdalene) and vocal work on ‘Rita MacNeil & Friends’. She has also worked around the world including headlining shows in Hong Kong and Bangkok.
What inspired you to launch the Spirit of Yorkville Music Festival?
CY: Linda put on some events at the Yorkville Library, and then she gave me a blowup photo of the Yorkville street scene which I posted on Facebook and tagged everyone I knew from back in the day… it caused a commotion! A guy named Richard Olds put a Facebook group page together and the rest is history. From the posts we realized that people wanted to get together and feel the spirit again, so that’s what we did. We formed a committee two years ago and are going strong now.
So what qualifies you to present such a 60’s/70’s era-specific festival?
CY: WE WERE THERE from the beginning to the ‘ end ‘. (Cathy is pictured below kneeling bottom centre)
Why do you think it’s important to remember Yorkville and the musicians from back in those days?
CY: Many careers were launched there and still enjoy World fame today. We built a community, and with David Depoe and the Diggers, we set up the very first Love-In in Queen’s Park on May 22 1967. Almost 8,000 people showed up for the free festival, including members of the Jefferson Airplane who were in town – they enjoyed the concert sitting on the grass and feeling the spirit. Leonard Cohen and Buffy St. Marie performed. It was also my first big public performance. (Cathy went on to win a Juno Award in 1974) It’s important to remember all the musicians who were part of a thriving community, also the poets and artists of the time. Their work goes on and Yorkville is represented well by them.
Apart from the concerts, any other activities or displays for visitors to enjoy?
CY: We will have a video Tribute to the artists we’ve lost. There will be displays of photos and artwork, donated to the Spirit of Yorkville.
Do you have plans for continuing this Festival next year?
CY: Next year and every year. We’re building up to the 50th anniversary of the original Love-In and we are creating a YORKVILLE WALK OF FAME complete with stars!
Can people buy tickets ahead of time and if so, where/how?
CY: There are a limited number of tickets for each show – Friday and Saturday evening shows are $37.00 and the Saturday afternoon folk fest that starts at 12 noon is $15.00. There are some tickets still available online at www.spiritofyorkville.com and there will be a few tickets available at the door for those who prefer not to not buy online. We’re looking forward to seeing you all at The Pilot Tavern, 22 Cumberland St. in the Heart of Yorkville.
Some of the greats from back in the day will be performing or dropping by, including Luke and the Apostles, Johnnie Lovesin, George Olliver (below)….. …as well as Greg Godovitz (a.k.a. Goddo) and Ken Whitely (below)