Philly Folk Fest Artist Preview: Canadian Folk Songstress & Multi-Instrumentalist Abigail Lapell

“I really can’t remember a time before I was singing and writing songs – it’s all I ever wanted to do,” says Abigail Lapell in an interview with us from February.

Based out of Toronto, the folk singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has earned two Canadian Folk Music Awards, English Songwriter of the Year (2020) honors, as well as Contemporary Album of the Year (2017). Additionally, she has reached #1 on Canadian folk radio and has received over 13 million streams on Spotify. Not too shabby.

Making her mark both in her native Canada as well as south here in the U.S., the songwriter has garnered much acclaim, and most recently on her latest album, Stolen Time, which dropped in April.

Themes of the album include recovery and reflection, and the introspective lyrics coupled with her gentle instrumentation offer an easy-on-the-ears product that squeezes the soul and refreshes the spirit.

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Lapell has taken her new music with her on the road since the release, racking up a number of tour dates, and making thousands of impressions along the way. She has a few more gigs in Canada before finishing off at the 60th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival. This will be her first appearance at the beloved festival.

Despite a ragged voice from singing to the masses, Lapell was kind enough to give us some insight into the upcoming festival from her perspective. She told us she’s looking forward to sharing stages with a host of other fellow Canadian acts, including Nova Scotia’s Mama’s Broke and Mo Kenney. “I’m excited to see some of those guys. After the last couple years, most of us haven’t really been touring in Canada, so it’ll be fun,” she said.

When asked what makes festivals like these so special, Lapell told us, “For one thing, there’s workshops or ‘in the round’ performances, which is such a cool way to connect with other artists. And for audiences I think it’s really special having these impromptu collaborations. That fourth wall really comes down between emerging artists and more established artists, and you’re all sort of in the mix together. I think there’s something very cool about that feeling of community that everyone has together.”

The festival will be taking place at the Old Pool Farm in Upper Salford Township, Pennsylvania. The festival begins on August 18th and runs through August 21st.

The festival is put on by the Philadelphia Folksong Society, and besides the concert lineup, festival goers can expect camping, children’s activities, local craft vendors, specialty food vendors, and all the usual delights of an outdoor music festival of this nature.

Abigail Lapell will be performing on Saturday August 20th at 3 PM on the Dulcimer Grove Stage, and Sunday August 21st at 1 PM on the Lobby Stage. She will continue her run of festivals and events in September, as she’ll be at Pop Montreal as well as SWRFA (Southwest Regional Folk Alliance) in Austin among other performance destinations this fall.

Note* Paul Howard contributed to this article.

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