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Archive for July, 2012

Vancouver Folk Music Festival Shines with an International Cast and Happy Crowds
by Staff Writer

July 15 2012

The place couldn’t be more perfect -Jericho Beach, Vancouver. Last weekend’s Vancouver Folk Music Festival celebrated its 35th annual event (July 13, 14, 15) with a stellar cast of international and local musical artists who managed to thrill thousands of sun-seeking festival visitors.
This year’s event also saw almost perfect summer weather, with Sunday being the lone day where visitors witnessed specks of rain –a complete downpour never happened.
People, young and old, packed the seven stages and took advantage of the expansive park to either sleep between sets, read books, or eat at the dozen or so vendors. The attire of the visitors ranged from skimpy two piece swim suits, to hippie style bandanas –preferred by twenty-somethings, t5endy hats, or long flowing skirts by some older women. Sunscreen and floppy hats were visible everywhere during the first two days of the festival. On Sunday, the weather moved from cloudiness, to sun, and a few sprinkles of rain. But despite the mixed weather, music lovers took to the performers in full — in fact, attendance to the 35th annual Folk Music Festival appeared to smash attendance seen last year and earlier festival editions.

This year’s festival also seemed to be loaded with a slate of female performers. Equally numerous were performers backed up by a group of musicians playing all kinds of instruments, ranging from keyboard, trumpets or a guitar section.  The usual raffle sellers made their colorful appearance, bedecked in a variety of costumes, ranging from skimpy to angelic.

BC’s own Roy Forbes stood out for being the only performer who didn’t have a back up band.  During his Sunday night one hour show, he appeared relaxed, and took time to reminisce about his early days as a singer-songwriter working in small towns. During one part of his show, he got the audience to wail along to one his songs, too. At one point, it was quite hard for the crowd to reach the high note –which he politely completed.

No matter what kind of music took to the stages, the festival’s very polite audience lapped it all up with enthusiasm and no doubt gratitude that the sun shined through –most of the time.

K'NAAN took to the main stage Friday night shaking off a mix of hip hop and rap rhythms.

Emel Mathlouthi's vocals finds inspiration from her Tunisian roots.

BC's Roy Forbes' gave the audience a taste of his acoustic and folk vocals.

Award winning group H'SAO got the crowd dancing to its rousing and diverse African rhythms.

Camp gear proved handy for some festival goers

A dancer from the African group H'SAO shows off her unique dancing moves.

Ontario's Minor Empire served up a a hypnotic mix of Turkish and modern sounds

The Johnny Clegg Band from Souh Africa thrilled the closing night crowd

A colorful lantern procession marked each festival night.


July 22nd

General Interest

Vancouver Folk Festival A Summer Event Not to Be Missed
by Staff Writer

Photo above: The crowd gets up to dance to the music of a visiting band at last year’s Vancouver Folk Music Festival.

You got to love summer. Summer is best remembered for the good times -music, sun and people. The annual Vancouver Folk Festival (July 13, 14, 15) expects to host thousands of people this weekend who will gather to hopefully bask in hot sun while listening to a steady flavour of great international musical artists.
While the name of the festival is more international, than folk –as this writer experienced from several visits –the wide variety of musical talent is sure to please all kinds of music lovers, including those who like banjo strumming, reggae, country, bluegrass or gospel (heard at last year’s festival.)
The places where the artists fly in from ranges from British Columbia, Ontario, New Foundland, Quebec, New York, Columbia, the United Kingdom, Chad –the list goes on.
To capture a few acts in this blog would take many pages. But here’s a sample:
You can catch the Canailles, a group from Quebec that delivers a hot mix of cajun, country, blues, bluegrass, ragtime and rock garage music.
There’s Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto, a group that hails from Columbia. This act uses indigenous instruments such as African drums, gaita flutes and maracas.
The atmosphere is casual, friendly and for those who like shopping, the festival normally features a vendor area where you can purchase cheap handmade items that are cotton, colourful and with a hippie edge.
But the big draw is the music and the experience of sampling music from all over the world is intoxicating and addictive. You may fall in love with new sounds created by musicians from Africa using traditional instruments. You also may want to revisit singers from the past, like Roy Forbes whose wonderful folksy lyrics remind one of home and family.
If you feel like fun outside of sitting in front of several stages listening to music, regular festival visitors may be playing frisbee, going for a walk around a pond area inhabited by ducks, trying out the hula hoop, or dozing under one of many majestic trees reading a book.
At the festival, children are treated endearingly and referred to cutely as “Little Folk.” There is a “Little Folk” area where kids can play, listen to music on the Little Folks stage or learn crafts. The festival is popular with parents no doubt because “Little Folks” -12 and under – get in for free.
On previous visits, the food area hosts corn-on-the-cob, Greek food, tacos and snack food like Whale Tales. Did I mention the ever present sale of organic coffee?
Many people come packed with suntan lotion, water, blankets, snack food and even tents.
To buy tickets and check out the musicians, go to http://thefestival.bc.ca/festival-coverage/
Check out photos from last year’s festival on this website.
If you visit the Festival this year, you won’t be in for an average weekend.


July 12th

General Interest

Annual Jazz Festival Sees Some Rain, Different Venues, Crowds, and International Music
by Staff Writer

The week- long Vancouver Jazz Festival (held June 22-July 1) delighted people of all ages, thanks to a wide-variety of musical talent that featured Jazz legends like  George Benson and Bill Frisell, to hundreds of other acts that came from all over the world.

If rain caught a few acts by surprise, many others were held indoor in various places in Vancouver, including Granville Island and the Roundhouse. Hundreds of happy music fans caught more acts outdoors at the popular and free David Lam Park where visitors relaxed in the beer garden or sought food from the many food vendors.

Enjoy some photo highlights.

Shuffle Demons

Above: Shuffle Demons enter the David Lam Park stage by way of the crowd level.

Middle: Warren Dean Flandez shows off his vocal range to hundreds of delighted fans.

Bottom: more Shuffle Demons


July 8th

July 2012
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