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Unforgettable music

Balkin brass orchestra “Ziveli” leads a procession of musicians around Fraser River Heritage Park to the main stage for the final Mission Folk Music Festival shows Sunday evening. - Bob Friesen
Balkin brass orchestra “Ziveli” leads a procession of musicians around Fraser River Heritage Park to the main stage for the final Mission Folk Music Festival shows Sunday evening.
— image credit: Bob Friesen

The sounds of this year's Mission Folk Music Festival have faded, but the experience is not one that will be forgotten soon.

Thousands of music lovers made their way to Fraser River Heritage Park this past weekend to enjoy the international sounds and dances of groups from West Africa, Asia, Europe, and across North America.

From the opening salvos of the Korean percussion group Dulsori to the closing sets of Ireland's Dervish, festival founder Francis Edwards said the event was one of the best ones ever held.

"It was an exceptional festival artistically, technically, and organizationally," said Edwards. "Ticket sales were good, audiences wonderful, the music — simply amazing, and the weather, perfect."

Attendance numbers exceeded Edwards' expectations, but he notes the final numbers are not yet known.

"There were many musical highlights over the weekend, from the main stage performances to the mini-blues festival," commented Edwards. "Lemon Bucket Orkestra and Dulsori joined forces for a spontaneous musical outburst in the middle of the audience in front of the main stage on Friday evening. Pure acoustic delight."

Another unforgettable festival moment happened on Sunday night during the festival finale when Ruth Moody had the entire audience singing with her as she belted out her acclaimed song "One Voice."

"This was followed by a tribute to Pete Seeger, led by Guy Davis, who was with Seeger in his final hours. As he intoned the first words of Seeger's well-known "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," the entire audience erupted in one voice, singing in one of the greatest anthems of folk."

Seeger was an American folk singer who passed away earlier this year at the age of 94.

But perhaps the scene that stood out the most was the final song, Stan Rogers' "Northwest Passage," which many consider Canada's second national anthem, performed by all the festival artists and the audience.

"It was a wonderful and emotive close to a magical weekend," said Edwards, who also thanked the volunteers who helped bring the festival together.

The 28th annual Mission Folk Music Festival is scheduled for July 24-26, 2015.

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