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Stompa your heart out: Serena Ryder warms the crowd at Folk Fest

By Courtney Merchand on September 14, 2014

There was definitely no lack of participation as the crowd clappa-ed their hands and stompa-ed their feet to Canadian singer-songwriter Serena Ryder’s performance at the Ottawa Folk Fest on Thursday night.

Ryder, whose set followed an unforgettable performance by New Zealand teen sensation Lorde, unleashed her hit single “Stompa” to kick off her concert.

I was expecting her to save the triple platinum song for her encore, but then I realized just how crucial it was for her to play it right off the bat. It’s the way the lineup was structured – an international pop star opening up for a home grown Canadian rocker.

It’s not something you’d see at every concert, but I think that’s the beauty of a smaller festival like Ottawa’s Folk Fest where they choose to focus on promoting local musicians like Toronto-native Ryder.

That left Ryder with some big shoes to fill and starting the show with “Stompa” was the right move on her part. She needed to match the intensity and momentum that was buzzing in the air after Lorde’s performance if she wanted the audience to stick around.

Not only did Ryder have to compete with her opening act but it became a showdown between her and the exceedingly bitter weather. Judging by the masses that surrounded her on stage, I think it’s safe to say that she was up for the challenge.

Apparently, so were her fans. A steady stream of people began making their way out of the thick Lorde crowd before the show even ended, others were already camped out in front of the Ravenlaw stage in their lawn chairs.

Once Ryder hit that stage there was no stopping her from belting out some of her fan favourites like “What I Wouldn’t Do” and her 2007 breakthrough song “Weak In The Knees”. She came on strong, her signature low raspy voice and folksy melodies in tow, but ultimately I think it was her bubbly albeit timid personality that charmed the hearts of the audience.

Guitar in hand, Ryder only gained momentum as she left it all on the stage. The crowd responded by moving to the music – partly because they couldn’t help themselves and partly because they were trying to keep warm.

After co-hosting this year’s Juno Awards and performing the Canadian National Anthem for the 2014 NBA All Star Game to headlining this years Folk Fest, the Canadian superstar continues to climb her way to the top.

All in all, Ryder did not disappoint. She’s a big voice in a little package.

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