Tell us your Willie P Bennett stories. (click here) » Down and out in Fernie

  • Doug Snelling

    Doug Snelling New Zealand

    I used to play in a Southern Alberta folk act called PlainsFolk out of Lethbridge/Fort MacLeod with Maureen Chambers in the early 80's. I knew about Willie from the gigs I'd seen him play in Southern Ontario and through his albums, so when we had the chance to share the bill with him in Fernie we jumped at the chance. We all stayed at the hosts house. Tjhe club used a small church basement as a venue. I remember that Willie was sober then (he didn't want any of our pre-set schnapps) and he was also pretty down on his luck. His next gig was somewhere north of Vancouver and even with the proceeds from the show he was short the bus fare so we gave him our share along with a new set of strings. It was the least we could do for one of the greatest Canadian singer songwriters ever. Maureen has been at the helm of the South Country Fair festival and in later years Wille was one of the headliners more than once. A true legend.

    I used to play in a Southern Alberta folk act called PlainsFolk out of Lethbridge/Fort MacLeod with Maureen Chambers in the early 80's. I knew about Willie from the gigs I'd seen him play in Southern Ontario and through his albums, so when we had the chance to share the bill with him in Fernie we jumped at the chance. We all stayed at the hosts house. Tjhe club used a small church basement as a venue. I remember that Willie was sober then (he didn't want any of our pre-set schnapps) and he was also pretty down on his luck. His next gig was somewhere north of Vancouver and even with the proceeds from the show he was short the bus fare so we gave him our share along with a new set of strings. It was the least we could do for one of the greatest Canadian singer songwriters ever. Maureen has been at the helm of the South Country Fair festival and in later years Wille was one of the headliners more than once. A true legend.

  • Jean

    Jean Vancouver

    My friend Duane was a busker for many years on the streets of Vancouver. One day he was playing "Willie's Diamond Joe" after which a fellow who'd been listening asked him he'd written the song. Duane said, "No, it's a Willie P Bennett song." The guy asked Duane if he'd like to see Willie play live, and Duane said he would, so the fellow gave him a ticket to a show that night at the Town Pump. Duane went to the show and it turned out the fellow who gave him the ticket was Willie!

    My friend Duane was a busker for many years on the streets of Vancouver. One day he was playing "Willie's Diamond Joe" after which a fellow who'd been listening asked him he'd written the song.
    Duane said, "No, it's a Willie P Bennett song."
    The guy asked Duane if he'd like to see Willie play live, and Duane said he would, so the fellow gave him a ticket to a show that night at the Town Pump. Duane went to the show and it turned out the fellow who gave him the ticket was Willie!

  • Ian Royce

    Ian Royce Blue Mountains ON

    Willie and I both frequented Anne Grindstaff’s Change of Pace café upstairs on Talbot Street in London ON in the mid 1980’s. He seemed to me a happy sprite who played the bars and planned extensive touring trips which hung on only bits of a chance. I love his songs and the memories that they pull together of the music and musicians that I knew and know now as well.

    Willie and I both frequented Anne Grindstaff’s Change of Pace café upstairs on Talbot Street in London ON in the mid 1980’s. He seemed to me a happy sprite who played the bars and planned extensive touring trips which hung on only bits of a chance. I love his songs and the memories that they pull together of the music and musicians that I knew and know now as well.

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