This past weekend was the 13th annual Old Town Ramble and Ride here in Yellowknife. It’s a neighbourhood celebration of music and art, and of course exploring the area and checking out local businesses, most of whom are supporters and participants in the festival.
I’ve lived in the Woodyard (the neighbourhood, not the pub) for nearly twelve years now, and have performed at nearly every Ramble and Ride. It’s one of the highlights of my year in terms of performances, being so intimate and down home (and close to home).
This year I had the honour of being featured in an article in the festival’s Old Town Rambler, in a photo and article by my neighbour Fran Hurcomb.
If any one person could be said to embody the spirit of the Old Town Ramble and Ride, it would have to be Woodyard resident, Ryan McCord.
In 2003, Ryan moved to Yellowknife from Ontario. He biked the entire way here. Today, his yard is home to about 25 bikes, in various states of repair. Many of them are classic bikes from the 50’s and 60’s, some of them looking for new homes. In keeping with his love of bicycles, Ryan remembers participating in the bike workshop at the very first Ramble and Ride in 2007.
Ryan began playing guitar in 2005 and played his first Ramble and Ride gig a few years later outside Squatter’s Books on the Government Dock. He also remembers playing in the back room of the Down to Earth Gallery during a memorable storm which pounded the festival on the Saturday afternoon a year or two later. “I think I played at almost every Ramble and Ride,” says McCord, “although I might have missed one.”
Over the years, Ryan has played with several bands, including The Dawgwoods, Back Bay Scratchers, Bluebird Island, and the Old Town Mondays. These days, he’s still making music although he’s not affiliated with any one band.
“There’s a lot to like about the Old Town Ramble and Ride Festival,” he says. “I like the walking and cycling theme and I like that it combines the arts with Old Town. It also gives people a good reason to come and wander around Old Town and check it out.”
McCord is currently working on his second CD and we know it will be a hit with his many fans across the north. You can catch Ryan at this year’s festival on Friday night at Down to Earth Gallery and on the Government Dock on Sunday afternoon.