Arts & Culture

Musical Treasures

at the 42nd Annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival


by Leslie Ken Chu


Folk Fest

The Vancouver Folk Music Festival celebrates its 42nd year from July 19 to July 21, 2019. Held annually at beautiful Jericho Beach Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, the Festival attracts 40,000 attendees over three days and features 59 musical acts across five daytime stages and two evening stages.


Fans of everything from old-time country, folk, and blues to string music, pop, and rock will find plenty to enjoy at the Festival. The artists come from coast to coast in Canada and all around the world.

Folk Fest Ontario's Midnight Shine mix roots, classic, and modern rock with touches of Mushkegowuk Cree. With an electrifying voice and lyrics like silver arrowheads, Basia Bulat has become one of Canada’s most conspicuous talents. The music of Alberta's Corb Lund embraces his Western heritage, touching on cowboy themes like rough-and-tumble tales of lawless frontier saloons and the somber realities of running a modern family ranch. Tsatsu Stalqayu (Coastal Wolf Pack) are a traditional Salish song-and-dance group consisting of over 50 members, ranging in age from one to 60. They will perform in a workshop of traditional and modern song and dance. Pablo Menéndez & Mezcla features veteran master musicians with 30 years under their belts, plus some of the best young musicians in Cuba today.

The Folk Festival would not be complete without workshops. Catch Our Song is Strong, which gathers several amazing talents. Singer/multi-instrumentalist Nano Stern is the voice of a newly politicized generation of Chileans. The grandson of Jewish refugees fleeing persecution, he was shaped by musical activists of the Nueva Canción movement. Saskatchewan's Rosie & the Riveters play gritty, sultry, vintage-inspired folk anthems with titles like "Gotta Get Paid" and "I Wanna Be King." The band invest 20% of their merchandise profits in women’s businesses around the world. They've helped women in Kenya expand their horticulture farms and women in Ecuador purchase sewing machines for their tailoring businesses. The workshop also includes talents like BC multi-instrumental folk group Illiteratty and Irish Mythen, who brings trad-roots storytelling from Prince Edward Island.

Experience these plus 50 other acts at the 2019 VFMF. Discover artists playing in country, zydeco, and blues traditions and even pushing boundaries with Korean avant-garde string music.

Along with music, the VFMF will feature a host of other family friendly activities. Treasures await Festival-goers at the artisan market and folk bazaar. Grab a meal or snack from tasty food vendors or a refreshing drink from the adult beverage garden. Take the little ones to the Little Folks Village, a special kids area.

The VFMF is a registered charitable organization that prides itself on its values of accessibility, inclusivity, diversity, and strong environmental practices. Over 1,200 community volunteers help the Festival with everything ranging from the box office, the beer garden, recycling, and cleaning up.

Single-day tickets and weekend passes for the 2019 VFMF are available at Children under 12 attend for free. Discounted tickets are available for seniors, students, and youth.

Folk Fest

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