Vancouver Folk Music Festival
July 16,17, 18 .Vancouver's Jericho Beach Park

By Stefan & Giorgia Moraw

The 22nd annual international folk festival once again hit the Jericho beach area with a wide ranging itinerary and much alternative style fan-fare. For these reviewers, who has never attended any previous Folk Festivals, the eye catcher was not so much the music but the venue's superb location and organization.

Set along the Jericho Beach Park area with the mountains, ocean, and city as a backdrop one could not ask for a better location. This year's festival was also blessed with great weather and fabulous sunsets.

The mini folk market had a wide range of interesting items: from uniquely styled clothing to hand crafted red cedar flutes, to information stations on a wide range of topics such as the Third World Eye Glass Donor Organization.

The rather large multi-ethnic food court had a great selection of healthy alternatives for a change, in addition to the normal rank and file fatty treats, and at the end of your meal, the recycling stations located throughout the festival area were fantastically maintained. Even all the left-overs had a separate bio-bin. One of the best ideas I have seen in a while was the serving of food on plastic-reusable plates for which a $2 deposit had to be given. After returning the plates for your refund, they were cleaned and used again.

The Friday night performances served up an interesting array of musical options, everything from Afro-Latin to Southern Tennessee country. Of note-worthy remark was Steve Earl, whose comeback over the last years after battling several addictions has put him back in the forefront of the Nashville scene.

Hijas del Sol combines the sounds of their Spanish colonizers with their native home of the island of Bioko in Equitorial Guinea. The music sung in the native tongue of the island is an effort to revitalize the language, and at the same time express the traditions of storytelling, dancing, and singing of the original native inhabitants.

The diverse crowd seemed to enjoy themselves from beginning to end, really getting into the music and dancing up a storm up front, while others lay back on their blankets, absorbing the music from a distance. Of key importance in festivals like this is to bring comfortable seating as none is provided, and it is wise to bring an umbrella as there is no covered area.

All in all, we were impressed by the festival which maintained a high level of efficient organization without loosing its own personal folky feel. The final touch of being lead out at 11 o'clock by people carrying flame-lit lanterns did not go unnoticed. The fine details had definitely been worked on and this festival came out shining through!