It’s here at last!
The 34th annual Islands Folk Festival comes to Providence Farm this weekend (July 20-22).
Adult weekend passes are $125 each, with youth weekend passes going for $62.50. Single day passes vary in price and there’s a special for Saturday night only. Check the ticket page online. You can also buy weekend passes at Ten Old Books in Duncan.
Everything starts at 5:30 p.m. Friday night with the opening ceremonies featuring Charlie George singing the Cowichan Anthem and a performance by the Tzinquaw Dancers.
Then, the entertainment rolls out on the Islands Stage until midnight or so before starting up again in earnest at 10 a.m. Saturday on the Chapel Stage, the Spirit Stage, the Islands Stage, and the Tzouhalem Stage. There are also a couple of workshops on the Heritage Workshop Stage.
There’s a similar set-up on Sunday, so get to the farm early again to enjoy a full day.
Friday night’s headliners include Begonia (starts 8:30 p.m.), the Unfaithful Servants (9:45 p.m.), and The Leg Up Program (11 p.m.)
On Saturday night, the Island Stage evenings shows include Leela Gilday (8 p.m.), Logan Staats (9 p.m.), Leeroy Stagger (10 p.m.) and Fränder (11 p.m.)
Artistic director Kelly Nakatsuka is thrilled about the talent that’s going to be on display.
“Artists like the powerful singer Begonia will be front and centre this year. She won a Juno with Chic Gamine and is making waves as a solo artist these days. Canadian folk legend James Keelaghan will bring his stellar song craft and powerful live performance to the stage at Providence Farm this year. There’s Jeremy Fisher as well, with a couple of performances for kids from his brand new children’s album Highway To Spell, and a set for the adults from his decades long and award-winning career as one of Canada’s finest folk musicians,” Nakatsuka said.
“First Nations performers Leela Gilday, Logan Staats, Leonard Sumner, and the world champion Hoop Dancer Alex Wells will be delighting the audience in Cowichan Tribes territory this year as well,” he said.
“Expect to see some of the country’s finest singer songwriters like Jon Brooks, Martin Kerr and local folk hero Paul Ruszel. Catch ground-breaking bands like Aerialists, The Sweet Lowdown, The Unfaithful Servants, and from Sweden, Fränder, who fuse elements of Swedish and Estonian traditions into an eclectic and exciting live act. Country artist Matt Patershuk brings an authenticity to his music that puts him right at home amongst the finest old time, back porch country music,” he said.
“And former Islander Leeroy Stagger is coming, as is Alan Gerber, the award-winning boogie-woogie bluesman. Catch exciting young artists like the rising teenaged sensation Ainsley Elisa from Edmonton, Nanaimo traditional folk artist Quin Etheridge-Peden will drop jaws with his work on the fiddle, and Victoria musician Jaimey Hamilton, who’s work defies her young age,” Nakatsuka said.
In addition, all weekend long, in the Kids Sparklezone, there’s lots of family fun, including crafts and face painting, the wall of noise and music, slip’n’slide, serious bubble action, kid-led improv theatre, play space for really wee folks, chill-out space and nursing corner, plus a kid-led Sparkle Parade through the festival grounds at 3:45 daily.
Special Sparklezone events include family yoga, Laura & Olimpio’s Latin music, circle songs with Stephanie, Zoe & Sarah, Jeremy Fisher Jr., and Susannah Adams.