Five reasons to take in the 2018 Vancouver Folk Music Festival

The 2018 Vancouver Folk Music Festival at Jericho Beach, July 13 – 15, 2018 

The Vancouver Folk Music Festival is once again nearly upon us. The festival will feature icons and up-and-comers from both the local B.C. scene and around the globe. Here are five reasons to show up this year, whether you’re with the whole family, enjoying the music with friends or flying solo.

#1. The Music

The Vancouver Folk Music Festival (VFMF) is about the music. It truly offers something for everyone. Fans looking for main stage entertainment will not be disappointed. Neko Case, The Dead South and Ry Cooder will headline the evening lineups on the main stage. Case is a versatile talent who has collaborated with the likes of K.D. Lang, Laura Veirs and is a member of the much-loved B.C. band, New Pornographers (who thrilled a large main stage crowd a couple of years back). Case’s haunting vocals are truly hypnotic and she is not to be missed.  

Neko Case will headline this year’s festival.

Saskatchewan’s The Dead South will bring fans of all ages to their feet with boot stomping bluegrass on Saturday. On Sunday, the legend Ry Cooder closes out the festival in style.

The six time Grammy-winning performer and producer is a slide guitar virtuoso whose world rhythms have captivated audiences for decades. He has frequently collaborated with legends and can easily be considered a legend himself. Vancouver is lucky to have him.

Other acts to watch include a pair of Canadian legends, Art Bergman and Carol Pope (of Rough Trade Fame) on Sunday. Canadian axeman Alex Cuba will also entertain on Saturday evening. Local act Gord Grdina’s Haram should not be missed, as this 10-piece middle-eastern inspired ensemble crosses genres and leaves mouths gaping. From the Ukraine, DakhaBrakha, should also push boundaries and usher in Saturday evening in style. Each edition offers beat-busting African music that locals rarely witness throughout the rest of the calendar year. This year’s must-catch act might just be Wazimbo & Banda Kakana from Mozambique, on Sunday’s main stage.

The entire schedule should be announced shortly, but until then, the evening schedule can wet an appetite.

#2. A weekend at the beach

The VFMF’s setting is tough to beat. Set on in the lovely Jericho Park, just steps from the beach, the scenery must be among the most mesmerizing musical backgrounds on the continent. It is really up there with Red Rocks and The Gorge. Viewers can see great music, mountains and water without needing to break into panorama mode. It is easy, and tempting to pop into the ocean water for a refreshing dip between sets on a blazing July Saturday afternoon and a festival rite of passage.

#3. Family Time

There aren’t a lot of musical oriented festivals that truly cater to families, but the VFMF is a rare exception. Children of all ages can be seen running around the festival (indeed kids 12 and under are admitted free!). There is a magical children’s village, with art, games, theatre and special musical performances. Most importantly, there is a lot of space for kiddos to run free and a harmonious, community vibe that leaves all feeling safe and comfortable that makes this a truly unique event.

#4. More than the music

In addition to world class music, there is a convenient beer garden perfectly located between a few stages. There are food trucks galore, a craft village, as well as numerous other community-minded booths sure to inspire.

#5. Sleep in your own bed

Festivals are invigorating, enlightening and yes, often exhausting. A full three days of music in the sunshine will take its toll on the heartiest souls. But the tonic is to hop on your bike, grab a car share or a bus to cruise on home and sleep in your own bed and rest up for the next day at the beach.