xVancouver Folk Music Festival

Dates and Venue July 17-19, 2015 | Jericho Beach Park, Vancouver

Reviewer Ed Farolan

It's been a few years since I attended this yearly event, and it was a nice hot day intermingling with the folk music crowd,reminiscing when my kids were still small and getting them into the children's activities. The Saturday concerts were varied, and you can only take so much from the six stages that were having shows simultaneously.

I started off with Stage 1, Matthew and Jill Barber, a sibling duet from Ontario--soothing songs, along the lines of the classic American old-time pairings like the Everly or Montoe Brothers. Then I moved to Stage 3 for Kith & Kin, led by Mama Kin from Australia. a musical family originally from Malta. Her brother, Nicky Bomba, is the leader of the Bustamento band which played Ska and Caribbean music. This was enjoyable. The crowd got into it and danced to the music.

I stayed on for the next show, Transatlantica, featuring Irish, Scottish and NewFi music. The band The Once is from Newfoundland, a trio composed of Geraldine Hollett, Andrew Dale and Phil Churchill. Then there was Breaback from Scotland with their bagpipes and fiddles, playing tunes in the Scottish tradition, followed by Ross Ainslie and Jarlath Anderson (Scotland and Ireland). There was a song in Gaelic which stood out, and another tune about the kerosene light that hypnotized me and almost put me to sleep, as it sounded like a lullaby.

Then at 5, everyone heads off to the Mainstage which started off with Ash Grunwald from Australia who surprisingly sang the Blues from the Mississippi Delta instead of songs from the back roads of Australia. Following him was the main event of the mainstage, Adam Cohen, son of the iconic Leonard Cohen. His songs had a mixture of theLeonard style, but I noticed some eclecticism--the Beatles and Neil Diamond in his style. He told all of us to call on Taylor Swift, perhaps his dream girl, and we did. He was hoping we'd get tweets back from her.

Ending my Saturday evening was the female trio I'm With Her composed of Sara Watkins (California), Sarah Jarosz (Texas) and Aoife O'Donovan (New York). Their countrified original songs were well-received by the folk audience who, at this time, were brining in food from the kiosks, or opening their bags and eating their homemade sandwiches. Fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin accompanied their Bluegrass tunes. Great voices, beatiful tunes and fabulous playing. You can check them out on YouTube.

It's never rained in the many years I've gone to this Fest. For some reason, mid-July has always been sunny and dry, and this year, it's been exceptionally sunny and dry for almost a month. When the rains come, I'll surely cherish that summer Saturday at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2015.

© 2015 Ed Farolan