Vancouver Folk Music Festival

VANCOUVER FOLK MUSIC FESTIVAL is an annual outdoor music event held on Jericho Beach during the third weekend in July each year. Inspired by the Winnipeg Folk Festival and the Newport Folk Festival, it was initiated by Mitch Podolak and developed by Podolak and Ernie Fladell for its first production in 1978. The organizers wanted to bring in live music that British Columbians had never before heard or seen. Over the years the "folk music" venue has expanded to include JAZZ, rock, blues, country, gospel, spoken-word and other performances and has presented a number of well-known entertainers. Yet the festival has remained true to its purpose, each year presenting a unique variety of music, rhythm and dance from all over the world, and introducing such BC artists as Stephen Fearing, Veda HILLE, Oh Susannah and Kinnie Starr to its growing audience. The event is still run by a few paid staff and a corps of volunteers—more than 1,000 of them in 1999, compared to 200 when the festival began. In the late 1990s, under the management of Frances Wasserlein and the artistic direction of Dugg Simpson, the event was rated the best festival in Vancouver by the GEORGIA STRAIGHT Readers' Poll for 3 years running.
By Minna Schendlinger