It may have been the easiest round of applause Johnny Rawls has ever earned. The long-time Mississippi bluesman threw his hands in the air halfway through his set at the Waterfront Blues Festival and asked the crowd to give it up for Sunday.
It was hands down the finest morning, afternoon and night of weather Toronto has seen all year and we were all delighted to respond to Rawls’ plea. He got palms clapping and voices cheering and feet hopping when he shouted, “Let’s hear it for today! What a great, great day!”
Rawls grooved through a terrific set beneath the bandshell while a few hundred of us blues fans gathered at Woodbine Park to take in the third and final day of free concerts in this year’s festival. Fun-loving and cheerful, Rawls and his songs — which included several tunes from his acclaimed “Red Cadillac” CD — were perfect for the sunshine. He turned the stage over to the explosive Teeny Turner, who closed out the festivities to more cheers.
The crowds were even larger down at Woodbine Beach Park, where a volleyball tournament drew loads of teams and the 27 Celsius temps (no wind, no rain, no joke) got plenty of others out onto the sand.
A little closer to downtown, the Riverdale Art Walk attracted a big crowd as some of our city’s finest emerging and established artists showcased their newest works at Jimmie Simpson Park in Leslieville. Among them was the talented Joya Paul, whose popular encaustic pieces were big sellers once again.
Beach. Blues. Brews. Brilliant art. That’s what you call a beautiful day! Summer might finally be here, TO.
[Thanks, as usual, to Julia Pelish for the awesome photos; they’re copyrighted.]