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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


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


Vancouver Strangers Dine Out Together To Celebrates The Year Of The Rooster
by Staff Writer

What better way to bring in the Lunar New Year than dine out with friends, family members or even complete strangers. Heard about Meetup.com? It’s a global way where people can meet new people in a variety of social settings, such as hiking, playing scrabble, dancing, and dining.

I added my name to a few social groups and got many invites to join strangers dining out on New Year’s festivities. The menu is definitely not for vegans, so beware. But those who are meat eaters can feast on many delectables, such as Peking Duck, crispy Shanghai chicken, Rock Cod with mixed vegetables, black-pepper crab or prawn.

So if you are new in town, and one of your resolutions is to meet new friends and enjoy  the sights and sounds of Vancouver, check out meet up.com/Vancouver.

If you are shy, not to worry. There’s even a shy people’s group.

Okay. Are you ready for this? This is Wisertraveller.org‘s first annual predictions for the Year Of The Rabbit. Are you listening, Vancouver?

  • -The city of Vancouver will put a ban to plastic bags and  plastic cups. Finally. After all, the city hopes to be the greenest city and ending this wasteful item will help solve the problem of plastic ending up in the landfill and in our oceans.


  • Grizzly trophy hunting will stop in British Columbia. Yes, believe it or not, people with big bucks spend thousands of dollars to book a trip for the sole purpose of shooting a grizzly. Every year, between 300-400 grizzlies are killed by hunters who feel that shooting a grizzly gives them superiority over nature. To help stop the hunting, consider this site: https://www.change.org.


  • Spring will come early and so will be the return of Pamela Anderson, grey jogging pants, milk tea drinks.  Really?


  • The Vancouver Canucks will make it to the playoffs and win the Stanley Cup. There will also be a ticker-tape parade.


  • Über will enter the Vancouver market in a test capacity and be available during peak months, and weekends.


  • More refugees and people from all over the world will choose Vancouver to live –thanks to the new United States President-elect Donald Trump.


  • Vancouver will open it’s first high-tech restaurant. Order food on a tablet and food will be served by regular servers.


  • Vancouver will hold a Peace concert featuring the likes of Yoko Ono, Paul McCartney, The Who and many others.


  • Vancouver will open its first cat-friendly park. Why not, folks? We have dog-friendly parks.


  • 4 major Vancouver employers will pay its employees to take public transit to work.

So there you have it! Gung Hay Fat Choy! If you see these events come to fruition this year, remember that you read this here first!





January 30th


Vancouver Folk Music Festival Thrills: Photos Capture Spirit of Brilliant Festival Featuring Artists like Bruce Cockburn, The New Pornographers, And A Global List Of Musicians
by Staff Writer

Summer’s here and that means it’s that time of year for one of Vancouver’s favorite music festival, the 39th annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival, to carry on it’s tradition of entertaining people of all ages. For 3 days, July 15 to 17, thousands of people flocked to hear and see from a eclectic list of performers who astrummed, sang and danced at various stages set up at Jericho Beach Park.

Selected photos taken during the 3 days show only a selection of the dozens of performers who entertained the largely enthusiastic festival crowd.

On Friday night, people got a sampling of hoedown music, courtesy of Mandolin Orange, Sarah Jane Scoulten, and The Bills.
On Stage 2, British performers, Lucy Ward, The Young’uns and the Moulettes faced the friendly crowd with lively music. At another stage, famous slam poet, Shane Koyczan and the Short Story Long, amazed people with his enthusiasm and his powerful words.

Canadian Elage Diouf took to Stage 3 with his upbeat, rousing Senegelese-inspired music. He thrust out his hands in enthusiasm, much to the delight of the audience. (see photo below).

The schedule for Friday also saw Vancouver’s own, The New Pornographers, (below) take to the stage full of the raw power of their carefully crafted songs.

On Saturday, there were more new performers who enthralled the audience. Some artists came as far away as China. Dressed in partly traditional gear and performing traditional instruments,(see photo below) Aginai’s music was a careful blend of electric guitar meshed with hypnotic and eastern Mongolian folk music. Even if people didn’t understand the singer’s nonEnglish lyrics, it was all easy listening.

Over on Stage 6, a big, sweaty crowd danced to a group of performers, including Venezuela’s ensemble group, fronted by Betsayda Machado. (pictured). The feel-good Afro-Latin American music got people smiling, happy and dancing with enthusiasm.

The weather was mostly favorable throughout the weekend, except for Sunday, when a few showers showed up for a brief, few hours.

By the time the incomparable, Bruce Cockburn, took to the stage at 8 pm, the rain disappeared and many people who brought rain gear, doffed it off as quickly as they put it on.

Around the festival grounds, one could see a few young people dressed up in fun, festive gear. On ocassion, one could see unique sights: like a man walking with a book on his head, or an older man wearing loose-fitting clothing twirling around to the sound of the music. (see photos).

In the kids’ area, young children were busy with plenty of activities, such as going on stilts (see photo below), playing instruments, or swinging the hula hoops.





IMG_7084Left: Bruce Cockburn











August 2017
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