Grammy winning American folk singer Steve Earle will headline this summer’s Vancouver Folk Music Festival.
The festival returns to its waterfront home at Jericho Beach for the 36th year, this July 19-July 21. Attracting some 30,000 fans and famous for its laid-back, counterculture vibe, the event is considered one of the musical highlights of the summer in Vancouver.
Steve Earle, a master storyteller who jumpstarted the “new country” genre, has released 15 albums and been covered by a who’s who of musical greats. He’s touring now with his band The Dukes in support of their critically acclaimed new album, The Low Highway.
Earle shares top billing this year with another rabble-rousing performer from south of the border, the Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines. Maines earned notoriety (and a lot of new fans) by speaking out against George W. Bush during his terms as U.S. president. She’s supporting her new, Ben Harper-produced album, Mother.
The Vancouver Folk Music Festival was first staged at Stanley Park in 1978, the determined effort of a handful of local folk music fanatics. It moved to Jericho Beach in 1979, and since then the festival has expanded considerably, with top talent from around the world now performing on up to eight outdoor stages. Still, it remains a grassroots effort, eschewing corporate sponsorship and relying on the efforts of thousands of dedicated volunteers.
Some other top acts scheduled to perform include:
- Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars: Formed in West African refugee camps, the All Stars combine reggae with tribal chants and African grooves.
- The Waterboys: This Irish band began marrying Celtic licks to rock ‘n’ roll more than 30 years ago, inspiring a brand new genre. Their latest album sets the work of Irish poet W.B. Yeats to music.
- Hannah Georgas: Called “one of Canada’s most sought-after up-and-coming talents,” Vancouver’s own Georgas combines acoustic songwriting with lush studio soundscapes. Her new self-titled album of emotional synth pop weds ’80s New Wave with contemporary sounds.
For the complete lineup of more than 70 bands performing at the three-day festival, check out the Vancouver Folk Music Festival website. One-day adult tickets are $75. Early bird adult weekend passes are $135 until June 11. Kids under 12 get in free with an adult.
Excited about the Folk Fest lineup? Let us know who you’ll be seeing below.
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