The Vancouver Folk Music Festival (VFMF) has run every year since 1978 and is currently held at Jericho Beach Park. Over the years the festival has evolved, featuring acts like Feist, Dan Mangan, Michael Franti & Spearhead, K’naan and Hawksley Workman. With this wealth of talented artists, the weekend long event draws crowds from outside Metro Vancouver, across BC, Alberta and neighbouring Washington State.
This year’s edition of the VFMF is perhaps the most balanced lineup of talent ever assembled. They have selected genre-crossing, nationally and internationally supported artists. The acts are diverse. Australian band The Cat Empire, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, the Mexican group Los Vega as well as the English and Trinidad based group Anthony Joseph and the Spasm Band are only a few of the global musicians present this year.
Beyond the international content, the VFMF boasts an excellent assortment of Canadian acts. With lots of local, provincial and national artists booked, the maple leaf is at the heart of this festival. Just a few highlights include the Toronto based group Cold Specks, Reid Jamieson (a regular on CBC’s the Vinyl Cafe) and Victoria based Aiden Night. Some Canadian minority groups are also represented. Jason Burnstick, an aboriginal musician and composer, brings his combination of blues and folk, as well as Quebecois groups Bon Debarras and Briga.
The festival even features some hybrids, including Delhi 2 Dublin, a cross-cultural band originally formed in Vancouver that mashes up Indian Bhangra with Celtic, Dub, Reggae and Electronic music. The Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble will be there too. Artistic Director Linda Tanaka explained her theory, “We always look for quality first, then I try to balance local, provincial and national artists with international touring groups”. Tanaka has worked at VFMF for six years and has seen the festival grow. She added, “Folk music is rising within mainstream popularity, we’ve seen lots of new people coming to the events year after year”.
The festival will be taking place on July 19th-21st at a number of stages throughout Jericho Beach Park. Over the past few years it has attracted around 40,000 people and the organizing group this year is looking to beat that number. Tickets can be purchased online and adult weekend passes are currently priced at $150, with Student (+19) passes starting at $90. Single day and evening passes are also available on the website. If you are interested in getting involved with the VFMF you can also volunteer. Every year the festival relies on around 1400 volunteers to ensure the events run smoothly. Applications are also on the website. This is an excellent opportunity to get involved in a vibrant and exciting part of the Vancouver and Canadian Music communities. The weekend of the Vancouver Folk Music Festival this July will be a highlight for many this summer.
The full line up and ticket info is located on the VFMF’s website: