Vancouver Folk Music Festival
and Venue July 19 - 21, 2019, Friday night 3pm - 11pm &
Sat & Sun 9am to 11pm | Jericho Beach Park, Vancouver
For this year’s
Vancouver Folk Music Festival (VFMF), I’ve chosen a format of this
review that will feature my favourite VFMF picks over the three days.
Best Overall Performances
I was lucky
to arrive at the Park right on opening on Friday and catch two opening
acts I’d been looking forward to seeing. With the grounds quickly
filling, I grabbed the perfect spot under a tree stage-side to catch
Brother Tito Deler ease the crowd into the evening with some smooth
Mississippi blues. Deler is a master player of the acoustic resonator
guitar, and accompanied by his sweet voice and lyrics, the songs “Butterflies
in Bentonia” and “Lucille” were two of my favourites
in the set.
will always have a soft spot in this Kiwi’s heart! Always
the showman, McGlashan had a great rapport with the audience, giving
an intro and background to each song. He also played a couple songs
from his Muttonbird days, including “The Heater”, and
wrapping up the set with my favourite, the legendary song “Anchor
Me”. It was hard not to feel homesick post this show!
Shows To Dance To
Los Pachamama Y Flor Amargo
Flor Amargo (of Los Pachamama Y Flor Amargo) is truly the standout
artist in her band – she nabs top spot for performance energy
at VFMF. Her presence both onstage - wild dancing and superb keyboard
skills - and offstage - running out to dance with audience members
- got an otherwise chilled-out Friday night audience on their feet.
and RNB/Soul artist Zaki Ibrahim had the late-night Saturday audience
grooving to tight beats in a show featuring great costumes –
both Ibrahim and backup singers wore bejeweled lycra unitards –
and choreography to match. Firing out songs one after the other, there
was never a slow moment within this fantastic set.
Band brought their strong New Orleans party vibe to the final night
of the Festival. Their energy and ability to keep the crowd on their
feet was admirable given they played a non-stop set that lasted over
an hour! Obviously 36 years of experience (their youngest band member
is 17 years old) playing together has honed their brass skills and
I wanted to
end the Festival with a dance party, and was pleasantly surprised
to arrive at Tal National’s performance to see the entire audience
already on their feet! The band’s core intent is to make people
dance and they certainly brought it with their infectious traditional
African rhythms performed by an all-dancing band. Notable was a Nigerian
animal dance song which included moves for each animal for the audience
to follow along with.
Best Francophone Band
Vent Du Nord
Le Vent Du Nord brought their Celtic feel to the main stage on Friday
night. Their all-male harmonies and toe-tapping melodies were interspersed
with mesmerizing ballads, and brought together by the perfect mix
of fiddle, guitar, and accordion – a perfect set to settle down
with accompanied by an amazing sunset.
Best Female Group
Sisters Megan and Rebecca Lovell (named Larkin Poe after their great-great-great-great-grandfather)
were on fire on Saturday night with their rock-n-roll Nashville sound.
Bringing tunes from their latest album Venom & Faith, the vocals
in this set were mind-blowing, and both sisters wailed on the guitar.
Best Rock Set
Mike Farris & The Fortunate Few
I’ve categorized Mike Farris & The Fortunate Few’s
sound as rock, but it was a mix of soul, gospel, and blues too. While
much of this great set was accompanied by the full-band sound of The
Fortunate Few, Farris performed a few solo acoustic songs on guitar,
including a song he wrote for Canada at the Edmonton Folk Festival
which garnered audience participation. Farris’ amazing voice
waivered in “Tennessee Girl” – but he quickly picked
it up again and continued to punch out hit after hit, ending with
a standing ovation from the audience.
Best Dessert Vendor
Earnest Ice Cream
It would be remiss not to give a shout out to all the fabulous food
vendors at VFMF. Local ice cream favourite Earnest Ice Cream attended
VFMF again this year and I partook of their vegan flavours which are
always delicious and went down a treat after a day in the hot sun.
Vegan ice cream bars were also on sale this year too.
The VFMF continues
to be one of the top music festivals in Vancouver over the Summer period.
For those that haven’t discovered this gem, I highly recommend
putting it into your calendar now for next year!
2019 Aleana Reynolds