As the most populated city in British Columbia with over 600,000 residents, Vancouver serves a hub for activity and culture, making it the perfect destination for your next summer adventure. The city's culinary scene is second to none, featuring world class restaurants such as Zest, Royal Dinette, and Blue Water Cafe. From watching performing arts at the beautiful Vanier Park to shopping at the unique shops on Commercial Drive, Vancouver is hard to beat.
The Vancouver Folk Music Festival has been a staple of the community since it began four decades ago, and it will take place July 13-16 at Jericho Beach Park. It’s one of the largest ongoing folk music events in Canada with more than 38,000 attendees each year. The event will feature more than 65 music acts, representing a variety of genres. Some of the performing acts include Barenaked Ladies, Cold Specs, Shawn Colvin, Billy Bragg & Joe Henry, and more. Attendees have the opportunity to visit the Artisan Market and Folk Bazaar, which offer everything from one-of-a-kind artwork to unique imports from across the globe. The Little Folks Village is perfect for families with children and will feature a variety of games and activities. Foodies will love the selection of treats and meals within the Food Area, and attendees can catch informal gatherings of musicians Francophone Jam Tent. We got the opportunity to interview Gwen Kallio, Marketing & Publicity Manager for the 40th Vancouver Folk Music Festival, to learn more about this great music experience.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
GK: This is the 40th anniversary year!
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
GK: Audiences range from 38,000 - 40,000 annually.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
GK: The Festival is an all-ages event, so you'll see young families with babies in arms, teenagers and young adults (singles and couples), as well as folks right up to senior ages. Family groups attend together. There's something for everyone.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
GK: So many things make the Vancouver Folk Music Festival unique. We have always been a festival that presents excellent music from North America, as well as from around the world. We present well-known artists as well as artists from countries and cultures that haven't ever been to our city, sometimes who have never left their homeland before. We offer an excellent blend of new artists along with veterans.
RAL: Take me through the activities of a day at the event.
GK: Music is the primary activity, presented on six daytime workshop stages (to start the day). These stages host concerts and musical gatherings of various musicians throughout the day (from 10:00 am to around 6:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday, 1:00 pm to 5-6:00 pm on Friday) - and folks can wander from stage to stage to see one-time collaborations around a theme, or the music of one artist, or groups in concert. This year, we have over 65 groups and artists who appear at different points over the weekend to perform. The Little Folks Village offers unique and fun activities for kids of all ages throughout the day on a drop-in basis. Shoppers can peruse the Artisan Market inside the festival gates for one-of-a-kind items, and the Folk Bazaar on the beach just outside the gates offers a range of imports from around the globe. The Community Village hosts groups from around the city who are working to make the world a better place, providing visitors the opportunity to learn about their projects. There's also the Francophone Jam Tent where musicians gather to play, and this year we are presenting a tent full of photos and memorabilia celebrating the festival's 40 years. Folks can visit two early evening stages starting anywhere from 5-6:00 pm, or sit at the giant Main Stage, where concerts run from 5-6:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?
GK: Yes, we have a Food Area featuring dining options from around 30 different vendors including everything from corn on the cob to Whales Tails and a variety of international cuisine (Thai food, Indian food, Mediterranean food).
RAL: Tell me about the atmosphere of the event.
GK: Jericho Beach Park is an urban ocean-side park in the City of Vancouver, about 20 minutes from downtown. It is one of the most beautiful festival locations you'll find anywhere, accessible by bike, transit, or car. It's also wheelchair accessible.
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
GK: The City of Vancouver offers a broad range of hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts, Airbnb's, and hostels.
RAL: What does this event mean to the community?
GK: The Vancouver Folk Music Festival is one of the city's longest-running and most beloved festivals. It was voted as the #1 music festival in the City of Vancouver in polls taken by the Georgia Straight (5th year in a row), and Westender newspapers, and #1 festival overall by readers of the Vancouver Courier.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
GK: A weekend at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival offers a world of discovery, where you can see artists and hear music thats’s new to you. This year, we welcome Mbongwana Star which includes wheelchair-bound musicians from the Congo, Nive Nielsen and the Deer People - Inuit pop from Greenland, Korrontzi from the Basque region of Spain, and much more. Experiencing this amazing range of music from all over the world is a gift to yourself and your children.
For more information about the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, please visit the event website.