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Vancouver Folk Music Festival Celebrates It’s 40th anniversary With Lots Of Great Performers
by Staff Writer

Clear skies, sunny weather and large crowds showed up for the annual  Vancouver Folk Music Festival, which celebrated it’s 40th anniversary this year. Thousands of people attended the 4-day festival (July 13,14,15, 16) which featured singers and bands from more than 65 countries from around the world. The crowd was a mix of people of all ages, and some people brought their young children and families. People also came from all over the world, and license plates showed visitors coming as far away as Tennesse, Washington State, Arizona, Idaho and Nebraska. While some people brought their own food, others munched on Chinese food, Whales Tales (fried dough served with toppings, including fruit, honey or whipped cream), corn on the cob, European dishes, falafel sandwiches, to name a few. Around the various stages, people danced, sang along, couples danced close, and a mother danced with her young child. This year, the festival was blessed with perfect weather. There was a slight drizzle of rain on Sunday morning, which took the dust out of the air and cleared the sky for a red-sky sunset. In fact, all the evenings boasted colourful sunsets.

Thursday Night Concert And Celebration

The fun kicked off Thursday, when the gates opened for free ticket holders wanting to see a special concert that celebrated Canada’s 150th birthday and the festival’s birthday. However, getting in was a slower, orderly process. In the late afternoon sun, the line stretched as far as the eye could see. When the crowd eventually got in, the grassy area around the main stage  quickly filled up with old and new folk fans. A group of young men and women sat cross-legged in a circle, politely talking and taking in the music.  A lot of the other attendees were clearly pros at this, and people sat on plastic tarps, blankets and knee-high chairs.

The Thursday night concert was a celebration of Canadian music and various performers, from C.R. Avery, Katie Moore, The Sojourners, and Cris Derksen, sang a medley of cover songs composed by legends like Bruce Cockburn, The Tragically Hip, Joni Mitchell, Kd Lang and Ben Mink.

Below: Thursday night, people lined up to get in.  Left: C.R. Avery performs, “Song for a Winter’s Night.”




Friday Festival

Over at the drop off bike zone, a grey-haired festival volunteer strummed a few folk songs on a guitar as a few new arrivals dropped off their bikes. Everywhere the mood was upbeat, and the crowds were high on music.
Festival fans came dressed for the heat; and while shorts, summer dresses and T-shirts were the norm, a few brave fans camped it up with makeup and colourful costumes. While the music of the Australian band, Ganga Giri blared on, one young man danced wildly, and a few feet away, one tall, grey-haired man danced with a book on his head.

Saturday festival

The atmosphere was festive and the mood was upbeat. In fact, while the group from Spain known as Korrontzi IMG_7218performed  on  Stage 6, one woman started a chain reaction of festival attendees who linked arms and did spontaneous circle dancing.


She's got the move --a performer from the group, Alpha Yaya Diallo & Bafing

She’s got the move –a performer from the group, Alpha Yaya Diallo &

Below photos: Ganga Giri, The Funk Hunters, and Billy Braggs And Joe Henry





Later on past 6 pm, over on stage 3, fans clapped their approval of Alpha Yaya Diallo and Bafing.




There was still plenty of fan approval by the time the Bare Naked Ladies took to the main stage late Saturday night.





Sunday Festival

Another hot day greeted festival attendees. The energy was infectious and even festival volunteers dressed up to sell raffle tickets. Over at the Tom Lee music booth, a man patiently paid for a ukulele for his young daughter. Nearby, a few people sat around pounding a few drums, tutored by a Tom Lee employee.

In the early afternoon, on Stage 6, a procession of performers from Africa and Mexico brought fans clapping and stomping to the beat. Who needs to travel when the world comes to the Vancouver Folk Music Festival!

More African beats came courtesy of Wesl and  Chook Bwa Liberte.





July 17th


The Secret Is Out: The Vancouver Folk Music 2017 Festival Offers Music For All Tastes
by Staff Writer

Need a great reason to go to this year’s Vancouver Folk Music Festival? Well, there are too many to go this year, but consider that this favorite annual festival offers music for all tastes and all ages. It’s not just folk, gals and guys! There are country, folk, blues, blue grass, roots, reggae, world fusion, African, electronica, Asian fusion -music-and so much more.

Not too mention, you will be listening to songbirds in one of the most beautiful places in the world. The setting is Jericho Beach Park. There’s also lots of room to stretch out with a book between sets and you are in the best place because you are surrounded by scenic mountains, water and green scenery. It’s also slated to be a hot, hot, hot, so be prepared to come with sunscreen, chairs, blankets and your friends or family. If you go, you can take your pick from a variety of food trucks offering tasty cuisine from all around the world.

It’s a big deal for the festival, now in it’s 40th year. The festival is offering an extra day of music to celebrate the milestone. There’s a free concert on Thursday night to celebrate it’s 40th year and Canada’s 150 birthday. The event called, “Canada Far and Wide: Grand Esprits”, will have musicians from all backgrounds singing a medley of Canadian tunes and cover songs written by famous Canadians, such as Gordon Lightfoot, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young and The Tragically Hip. So for first-timers, you can get a taste of why locals and tourists love the folk festival.
This night is also unique because it’s a collaborative touring musical project among the The Winnipeg, Vancouver, Calgary, Canmore, and Regina Folk Festivals.

According to a release: “The songs chosen celebrate diverse genres, cultures, regions, traditions and generations. Plus, we included key compositions by Canadian trailblazers like Joni Mitchell, Hank Snow, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Leonard Cohen. But, we really wanted to mess with genres and perspectives with these songs, and bring them into new forms while celebrating their narratives and history” explains Artistic Director Kerry Clarke from the Calgary Folk Music Festival on behalf of the festivals involved. Sounds exciting!

You can reserve your free ticket for the Thursday night concert here at: http://thefestival.bc.ca/thursday-night-concert-july-13/.

You’ll also want to stay the rest of the weekend. There are over 65 musicians from all over the world, taking to various stages from over 20 countries, 12 states and 9 provinces and territories.

Besides the Thursday night concert, the festival runs Friday afternoon and evening, July 14, and on Saturday and Sunday, July 15 & & 16 from 10am to 11pm each day.

Get your tickets in advance and check out the schedule at: http://thefestival.bc.ca

Below: A few performers for the 2017 Vancouver Folk Music Festival: Bare Naked Ladies, Alpha Yaya Diallo, C.R. Avery, Rhiannon Giddens, and Archie Roach.






Last Saturday’s Khatsahlano Street Party on West 4th ave attracted thousands of sun-seeking music fans, families and people just out to take in the free music and carnival atmosphere. The 6th annual event offered attendees a selection of stages to listen to different bands, eat from various food trucks, buy from various vendors, or pick up freebies from different merchants.

Below: Local punk rock band, DOA, was one of the many bands that performed Saturday on West 4th ave, where the entire block was cordoned off for the popular event.






July 9th


TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Canada Day Events, Cannabis Day: Weekend Events
by Staff Writer

If you are young at heart, or just young, you don’t want to miss this year’s Vancouver Jazz Festival which offers musicians and bands that span a wide variety of genres, including gospel, big band, funk, hiphop, mainstream or avant innovative styles.
The festival, which kicked off June 23 to July 2, is popular among locals and tourists. One of the most popular stages are located in downtown Vancouver at Robson and Georgia street, where many people gather to sit and listen to the free music. Food trucks are within a stone’s throw of the music lovers, and if you are hungry, you can take your pick of gelato, East Indian food, and chicken wings, among others. Beer lovers also have a chance to drink and listen to the music outdoors in a special section.

For further information, please visit www.coastaljazz.ca. Many musicians are performing around the city, including Granville Island and David Lam Park. Don’t mix out on this year’s 32nd annual festival and catch some great acts. If you missed the reggae artist, Ziggy Marley, who played at the Vogue, there’s still time to be inspired by other artists that are both local and international.

In other news, if you are looking for something to do for Canada Day, you’ll find music, fireworks and activities in the Greater Vancouver area. July 1 marks 150 years of Canadian Confederation. You can take part in the weird –there’s the Canada Day Silent Disco, June 30, 8 pm to midnight at the Vancouver Art Gallery, discover the all-ages activities at Granville Island, join the crowd at Canada Day at Canada Place, head to Canada Day In New West where you can listen to music at the Bandshell from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 pm, or take the sky train to the YVR Food Fest’s Canada Day Cookout.

If you want something that’s easier to get to, go to the Waldorf, which is hosting a Canada Day Block party, which features food, music and drink. You’ve got 14 hours to celebrate the big day, while munching on veggie or beef burgers, drinking lager and just chilling out.

Just in case you want to celebrate Canada Day with a little protest of your own, check out Cannabis Day at Thornton Park. (Just don’t tell your boss.) This is where you can buy and smoke weed without getting arrested and perhaps talk to Canada’s prince and princess of pot, Marc and Jodie Emery.

There’s a party in every city –yeah, right, literally.

The city of Burnaby offers music and appearances by local bank Sideone, African dance group, Kokoma, and Juno nominee Will Street. The fun starts at 5 to 10:30 pm.

It’s going to be a hot one and don’t forget to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and don’t leave your pets in hot cars. Happy Birthday Canada!

Below: Nik West performs at the Jazz Festival. Also, next photo is Blue Moon Marquee.





June 30th


Check Out Farmers’ Markets, Spring Flowers, Amazing Sunsets: Top Things To See And Do This Spring in Vancouver
by Staff Writer

If you want to see Spring flowers bloom, take some time to visit some parks in Vancouver. Some of the more leisurely parks to visit include Queen Elizabeth Park, Stanley Park and VanDusen Botanical Gardens. All these parks also have onsite restaurants that offer fantastic views to dine out with friends or take Dads out for Father’s Day.

Parks that are ideal for biking include Trout Lake and Stanley Park. On a recent visit to Trout Lake, I couldn’t find a place to park due to a weekend event celebrating Victoria Day. Trout Lake offers a wide variety of activities for people of all ages, including an off-leash dog walk area, biking, picnicking, play fields and life guards. It’s best to plan ahead if you are heading there on the weekend, because it gets busy there particularly on Saturdays, due to a popular farmer’s market, offering local fruits, vegetables and entertainment.

Stanley Park is Vancouver’s jewel and is a local favourite as well as a must-see for visitors. It’s a great place to people watch, particularly on sunny days. You can also bike ride, roller blade, take photos, sun bathe, walk, jog or just read a book.

One of my all-time favourite pastimes is to visit the beaches at Spanish Banks particularly in the evening and wait for the sunsets. In my opinion, Vancouver has the most beautiful sunsets in the world. Parking is free along Spanish Banks where you can walk along the beach during low tide, eat sea food, play volleyball, bike or sit and watch the view.

All around, Spring flowers are blooming in Vancouver, which are a photographer’s dream.


In early May, we stopped along the beach to take a few photos, see below:













As the weather heats up, it’s best to put on sun screen to protect your skin from harmful rays.

And sadly, as it gets hotter, some people get careless and leave their pets in hot cars. If you see any dogs in distress in a hot car, please report it to the local authority as soon as possible. Recently, on a sweltering May day, I noticed 2 small dogs in a car with the windows rolled up. The owner was in the mall and it was not clear when he would be back. I quickly told the security guard who said she would look after the situation. Dear readers: I created a petition to hopefully stop people from leaving their pets in hot cars. The brilliant idea is to have pet sitting areas in malls, where people can drop off their pets for a few hours or so.

Sign up here and you could help save a dog’s life.





May 31st


This Week: Checking Out A Local Lebanese Buffet and Canada’s Best Restaurants Are Located In the Lower Mainland And The Winners Are….
by Staff Writer

Have you heard the news? Canada’s finest restaurants are located in  the lower mainland but keep in mind that if you want to dine in one of these restaurants, reservations are a must. Stay posted for the top restaurants which will be revealed later on in this article.

But if you want to eat and have no time for reservations, check out the Lebanese buffet located on the corner of 6990 Victoria drive. It’s hard to miss the lunch and dinner buffet signs. We dined at Tibishti Grill and Restaurant on a sunny day recently and were greeted by the affable owner, Khairi, who was happy to explain the different types of salads and meats available there.

Certainly, the salads were superbly fresh! There were at least 10 different Lebanese salads to choose from and all were refreshingly tasty. The meat entrees were equally appetizing, and ranged from two types of lamb served with gravy, to chicken and beef. Tea came free with the $15 buffet lunch price.

All was good but I admit to being confused over the pricing since outside, the buffet price for lunch said $11.95 but we were charged $14.95 each. Although the owner explained that the lower price was for the week day,  it wasn’t mentioned on the sign. Still, despite the confusion over the pricing, the food was filling, satisfying and hearty.

A meal of this quality also called for desserts. But alas, on this day, the owner said they didn’t have any today. Can’t wait to eat there again, and hopefully, dessert would be available to end a fine meal.

The morale of this article is that if you can’t get at reservation at any of the restaurants below, don’t forget about the lesser known restaurants. They are equally as good and also less pricey. Yes, I guess my biggest beef  is why all the top restaurants rated excellent are usually top-dollar and a bit out of range for families, students and those who want to stick to a budget.

Vancouver entrepreneurs are you listening! There is a market for great restaurants for people who are price-conscious, vegan, vegetarian, eco-friendly, and budget-friendly.





Top Restaurants In The Lower Mainland

Recently, a panel of esteemed judges voted for the top restaurants across Canada. For 2017, a selection of restaurants were chosen in the West including:

Hawksworth Restaurant
Kissa Tanto
Vij’s Restaurant
Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill
Savio Volpe
Wolf in the Fog
Masayoshi Sushi Bar
Ancora Waterfront Dining
Blue Water Cafe
Ask for Luigi
La Quercia
Le Crocodile
Bearfoot Bistro


March 27th

General Interest
July 2017
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