Flying Canoe Part 2: Aftermath

The worst thing about the Flying Canoe is that I’ve basically never been there. Every year I get there before it starts, play for four hours, finish breaking down long after it’s finished, and then I do the same thing the next day. As a consequence, I’ve enlisted twitter to help me out with the visuals on this post.

The last three or four years, the first weekend in February has been colder than -20°. There are many brave souls that venture out, but the ravine tour goes pretty quickly so as to keep circulation up and also to return to La Cité Francophone a little bit faster. This year, temperatures ranged between 0 and -5°, and all of the sudden there were a kabillion people.

Granted, some of those folks are in line for bannock, but still. The lights outline a plywood dance floor, 3×5 full size sheets, and it was entirely overwhelmed.

Anyways, the damage done was significant. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the Métis Cultural Dancers actually broke the dance floor, and there was a rather incredible moment when the power went out and we soldiered on by the light of cellphones. The dancer is none other than champion jigger Corbin Poitras.

I broke a string (fortunately we brought a backup guitar, ready to go), and of the ten picks I used, 8 didn’t make it. Even the copper pick is so sharp now that it should be retired into a life of slicing vegetables. I have one of those credit card pick makers, which is good for getting cheap picks, but man do you ever get what you pay for. They’re also not quite a heavy enough gauge.




My personal triumph of the evening, though, was solving the design problem that I mentioned in the previous post. The material of choice for holding picks in cold weather turned out to be… spruce sap!


Yes, I didn’t have much time to work on this problem before the actual night of the concert. Yes, it makes the picks kind of gross. The surprising part was that it’s actually pretty easy to manage in the cold and it didn’t just get everywhere. Plus, it’s locally sourced, all natural, and the tree is already finished with it by the time I take it.

Next year, it’s tree sap and thicker picks for me! see you there!



About Jesse Conlang

Jesse Conlang lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he has trained squirrels to operate pens and pencils at his whim. You can probably tell that by the quality of the work.
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