Local musicians and artisans to rock at Vancouver Folk Music Festival

Kinnie Starr Photo Credit: VFMF

Kinnie Starr Photo Credit: Hannah C Productions

A spoken-word stalwart with an ear for stripped down beats, a Chinese music ensemble with bluegrass leanings and floral crowns that echo Woodstock: the Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2013 is back, chockablock full of Vancouver-area talent.

Of the 65 acts performing at this year’s Folk Fest – among them Toronto folkster Hayden, former Dixie Chick Natalie Maines and gypsy-dance group DeVotchKa – more than fistful of artists call Vancouver home.

The 36-year old event is a guaranteed good time at Jericho Beach Park, July 19-21. Below is a sneak peek at local musicians and B.C. artisans flocking to the fest to share their songs with and sell their unique wares to the sun-kissed masses.

Dalannah Gail Bowen – described as ‘Billie Holiday meets Howlin Wolf’ Vancouver-based Bowen will get the hometown crowd swaying her smoky, earthy, soulful blues. 

Hannah Georges – Originally from Ontario, Georges moved to west to pursue her music career. She’ll be bringing her synth-poppy new wave to the main stage.

Kinnie Starr – promising to “go back to where I started: poetry, rap, beats,” Starr will play a new music from her latest album, Kiss It, coming out on Aporia Records in August. The Vancouver-based singer, songwriter, rapper and spoken word artist has some surprises up her sleeve. “There will be a pop-up art installation piece during my show,” explained Starr during a recent interview. Ostwelve and Harley, two of Starr’s favourite Lower Mainland rappers, will also join Starr’s on-stage-stylings.

Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble – Performing on traditional instruments like the Chinese violin (ehru), flute (dizi), and harp (zheng), the ensemble embraces popular and classical traditions of China. The highly collaborative group also intends to repeat some of the same magic from last year’s ‘Taps and Twang’ when they invited a tap dancer and bluegrass musician to join them for an unforgettable, fusion performance. 

Reid Jamieson – A regular player in CBC’s Vinyl Café Orchestra, Jamieson has been described as “a male kd Lang, a poor man’s Michael Buble, and Roy Orbison’s long lost son.”

Maria in the Shower – Four dudes, none named Maria, make up this cabaret/folk/punk band. Known for their propensity to dress to impress, the quartet performs avec suspenders, bowler hats and vaudeville-esque energy.

The Shirleys Photo credit: VFMF

The Shirleys Photo credit: VFMF

The Shirleys – Founded a decade ago, this sextet of chanteuses is “a strong line of pretty feisty, yet pretty sweet ladies,” according to Shirleys member Dawn Pemberton. The Shirleys sing in 11 different languages. Pemberton’s favourite melody? “Yamaya, a Yoruban tribute song to the first goddess. Yamaya is the mother of all things. Mother Earth, rivers, lakes, ocean, where the world came from.”

Aidan Knight – so I’m bending the rules to include a Vancouver Islander here….but Knight’s brand of ephemeral, acoustic folk is well worth a listen and he practically hails from Vancouver. The 24 year-old, Victoria, B.C. native has sang with Hannah Georgas and The Zolas among others. 

Looking for a handcrafted goodies? Visit the Folkfest Artisan Market: this year’s community sale includes festival survival items and stylish accessories.  

Element Botanicals, handmade with love near Sorrento, B.C., crafts botanical body care products using the principles of aromatherapy. My recommendation: moisturize first thing with Element Botanicals’ Skin Deep lotion, freshen up mid-afternoon with the citrusy, vanilla awesomeness of Quick Fix mist and gently scrub away festival dust with Mojito organic cane sugar scruwhen you get home.  

Channel your inner Joni, Janis or Joan with a delicate crowns, whispy earrings and cheeky fascinators from Nautilus. Inspired by flora, fauna and the elements, Nautilus specializes in accessories that befit folksy, flower children. Think delicate daisy chains accented with crystals or pearls and neon, feathered flapper-style headbands. 

Other British Columbia-based artisans to check-out: Maiwa and Zula Jewelry & Design.

Who are your favourite folkfest musicians or artisans? Tell us who you’re extra excited to see at this year’s fest in the comment section below.

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