Taj Mahal, Richard Thompson and More: 2015 Vancouver Folk Music Festival Lineup Announced

Taj Mahal | Photo sourced from thefestival.bc.ca

Taj Mahal | Photo sourced from thefestival.bc.ca

Grammy-winning blues legend Taj Mahal will be among the headliners at the 2015 Vancouver Folk Music Festival this summer.

The festival returns to its waterfront home at Jericho Beach this July 17-July 19. 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. This year’s lineup features 60 acts, with performers hailing from 14 countries, and early-bird tickets are on sale now.

Taj Mahal started his musical career more than a half-century ago and has since redefined 20th-century blues and roots music with his unique compositions, singing and guitar-playing. His creations fuse traditional blues with sounds from the Caribbean, Africa and the South Pacific, creating an unmistakeable style. 

Richard Thompson | Photo sourced from thefestival.bc.ca

Richard Thompson | Photo sourced from thefestival.bc.ca

He shares top billing with British singer-songwriter Richard Thompson, hailed by the LA Times as the “finest rock songwriter after Dylan, and the best electric guitarist since Hendrix.” Credited with inventing British folk rock in the ’60s, he has gone on to make more than 40 albums and has been covered by the likes of Elvis Costello and REM.

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 multiple outdoor stages.  Still, it remains a grassroots effort, eschewing corporate sponsorship and relying on the efforts of thousands of dedicated volunteers.

Trampled by Turtles | Photo sourced from thefestival.bc.ca

Trampled by Turtles | Photo sourced from thefestival.bc.ca

This year’s lineup features a large contingent of performers from across Canada and the U.S. and around the globe. Some other top acts scheduled to perform include:

  • Trampled by Turtles (TBT): These bluegrass rockers from Duluth, Minnesota, are known for their fast-paced songs, unbridled passion and plaintive ballads. Their high-energy concerts enjoy legendary status among fans.
  • Adam Cohen: The son of Leonard Cohen carries on his father’s tradition with elegant, introspective songs about love, family, home and self.  His most recent album, We Go Home, follows on the heels of 2011’s critically acclaimed Like a Man.
  • Paulo Flores: One of the most important Angolan musicians today, singer and guitarist Flores plays semba, a traditional dance music first popularized in the 1950s. His songs – in Portuguese and Kimbundu – often address political themes of war and corruption.
  • Frazey Ford: From Vancouver comes this true storyteller with a voice that defies comparison. Best known for her work with local trio The Be Good Tanyas, Ford has struck out on her own with stirring solo album Obadiah.

For the complete lineup of performers at the three-day festival, check out the Vancouver Folk Music Festival website.  Early bird weekend passes for the festival are $145. Single-day tickets are $45 for Friday, July 17, and $75 for Saturday, July 18, or Sunday, July 19. Kids under 12 are free with an adult.

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