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Vancouver’s Festival du Bois Francophone Festival in Coquitlam

Festival Voyageurs in Costume

Featuring a weekend of French Canadian music, food and festivities in Coquitlam, Festival du Bois is Metro Vancouver’s premier Francophone festival.

The festival features French Canadian, Folk and World Music concerts as well as family-friendly entertainment. There are also workshops, French-Canadian foods and other fun activities.

In 2022 Festival du Bois happened on the weekend of April 1st, 2nd and 3rd. As always, it was a wonderful event.

 


This article includes the following information about Festival du Bois:

 What to Expect | Festival Video | When and Where | Admission | Activities | Contra Dance | Festival Schedule | Traditional Menu Items | Mackin House Museum | Other Information


 

Festival du Bois

 

Coquitlam’s Festival du Bois

Festival du Bois is British Columbia’s largest francophone festival. It takes place in Mackin Park. The park’s address is 1046 Brunette Avenue in Coquitlam. The venue is just a 24-km drive from downtown Vancouver.

To learn about the event, continue reading or visit the official festivaldubois.ca website.

 

Festival du Bois at Mackin Park
Festival du Bois at Mackin Park

 

What to Expect

At Festival du Bois you’ll find activities for children, French Canadian foods for sale, a small market, workshops, and a variety of great musical performances throughout the weekend.

Popular foods for sale usually include poutine, crepes and traditional snow-hardened maple syrup candy.

If you like French Canadian folk music (which can be lots of fun and is the festival’s main draw), or want a chance to practice your French (but it’s not compulsory), then you won’t want to miss this event! The festival is lots of fun and very interesting, especially if you’re from French Canadian heritage (but terrific also for people of all backgrounds).

 

Festival du Bois at Mackin Park

 

Festival du Bois Video

For a really good idea of what to expect at the festival, check out the following short video. It shows scenes of the festival from a few years ago. The band playing at the dance in the video is the Sybaritic String Band. The musician performing at the end is Shauit. As you’ll see from this clip, the festival is a lot of fun.

In 2022 the Jocelyn Pettit Band performed on the Opening Night. The Sybaritic String Band also once again played at the Contra Dance.

As you’ll see in the video, at the festival there are food trucks, activities and entertainment spread out all around Mackin Park. There is so much to see and do!

 

 

When and Where

Festival du Bois has been occurring in late winter or early spring since 1989. The 2021 festival happened as a virtual event due to COVID-19 between April 16th and the 30th. The 2022 festival took place in-person on the weekend of April 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

The festival happens in Mackin Park, at 1046 Brunette Avenue, just a few blocks from the Coquitlam IKEA store. The park is a 10-minute walk from IKEA and 5 minutes from Canadian Tire. You are actually allowed to park at IKEA during the festival most years and then take a free shuttle to the venue.

 


Visit festivaldubois.ca for the festival’s official website.


 

Festival du Bois Tent Venue

 

Festival du Bois Admission

Below are the admission prices for 2022 if you paid in advance online. Tickets at the gate were about $2 extra per person or $5 extra for a family.

  • Friday Night: Free but limited amount so register in advance online
  • Saturday & Sunday (April 2 or 3):
    • Adults (18+): $20 per day
    • Students & Seniors: $13 per day
    • Children (ages 5-12): $8 per day
    • 1-Day Family Pass: $50 (2 adults & 2 children under 13 years of age)
    • Little Folk (under 5 years of age): free

The pancake breakfast on the Sunday cost an additional $5 for children and $10 for adults. Shuttle busses to and from the IKEA parking lot were free.

Proof of vaccination status was required for entry to Festival du Bois in 2022 for people ages 12 and older. Face masks were encouraged, especially on the shuttle busses, but not required.

 

Vancouver's Festival du Bois
Live Music in the Grand Chapiteau

 

Festival Du Bois Activities

In 2022, the same as in other previous years (except for in 2021 when everything was online), Festival du Bois takes place in-person at Coquitlam’s Mackin Park. Some activities occur outdoors and others happen indoors in giant tents.

In typical years there are food vendors and community organization information stalls, as well as games and other activities for children. There is also an Opening Night Contra Dance party on the Friday night and live entertainment all weekend.

 

Festival du Bois Francophone Festival

 

Opening Night Contra Dance

In 2022 the Opening Night Contra Dance takes place from 7:00 until 10:00 pm on the Friday at the festival’s Mackin Park venue at 1046 Brunette Avenue. Admission is free but registration is required.

The Contra Dance is a family-friendly event that involves a style of folk dancing in lines of couples. Back to provide the live music in 2022 is the Sybaritic String Band which specializes in contra dancing.

Note: The Contra Dance is open to people of all ages. It’s a family-friendly event that’s recommended for adults and “children who like dancing with adults” (which means there aren’t separate little kids’ activities). It’s a lot of fun!

A few hundred people attend the Contra Dance event most years. Instructions are provided in English, mixed with a bit of French, and then everyone does a particular dance. New instructions are then provided for a new dance, participants go through the steps, and then everyone dances once again.

The dances are simple, fun and lively. Mostly people dance in pairs, and folks are encouraged to switch partners from time to time.

For an idea of what to expect at the Contra Dance, check out the following video. As you’ll see, it’s a ton of fun!

 

 

2022 Festival Schedule

Festival du Bois happened on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of April 1st, 2nd and 3rd in 2022. Below is the schedule of events on the different days.

 

Friday, April 1, 2022


 

The first “official” day of Festival du Bois in 2022 was Friday, April 1st. Opening Night kicked off at 7:00 pm at Mackin Park with entertainment running until 10:00 pm. There was a performance by the Jocelyn Pettit Band. After that, the Friday Night Contra Dance took place, led by Maureen Collier with music by the Sybaritic String Band.

The above Opening Night events were free. You did, however, have to register in advance. To see a video clip showing what the Contra Dance event looks like, see above. It’s such a fun event, and free to attend!

 

Contra Dancing at Festival du Bois
Contra Dancing at Opening Night

 

Saturday, April 2, 2022


 

On the Main Stage/Grand Chapiteau

  • 12:30 pmNorth Shore Celtic Ensemble: a youth group that mixes traditional Celtic music with more modern jazz and folk.
  • 1:30 pmThe McDades: a Juno Award-winning Celtic band that was also named the World Group of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards.
  • 2:30 pmLe Winston Band: this band from Montreal infuses musical styles from various French-speaking regions into an energetic rock flavour.
  • 3:30 pmLocarno: named after Locarno Beach in Vancouver, this band draws on Mexican folk music along with tunes from other cultures.
  • 4:30 pmLe Diable à Cinq: a Quebecois group that brings traditional francophone music across the country.
  • 5:30 pmAlpha Yaya Diallo: a multi-time Juno Award winner, Diallo incorporates language and music from his birthplace of Guinea into his performances.
  • 6:45 pmCollage Trad: a group six musicians including three fiddlers from Western Canada with a lot of energy and fun.

 

Locarno at Festival du Bois
Locarno at Festival du Bois

 

In the Petit Chapiteau/Children’s Tent

  • 12:00 pmLes Petits Matins
  • 1:00 pmGinalina: a children’s music artist who has performed folk music in and around Vancouver for over a decade.
  • 2:00 pmYoro Noukoussi: a musician who plays multiple instruments while performing music from his native Benin.
  • 3:00 pm Will’s Jams: a former regular on CBC Kids TV, he is an accomplished children’s music performer.

 

Ateliers/Workshops at Mackin House

  • 12:30 pm Locarno: named after Locarno Beach in Vancouver, this band draws on Mexican folk music along with other cultures.
  • 1:30 pm Alpha Yaya Diallo: a multi-time Juno Award winner, Diallo incorporates language and music from his birthplace of Guinea into his performances.
  • 2:30 pm North Shore Celtic Ensemble: a youth group that mixes traditional Celtic music with more modern jazz and folk.
  • 3:30 pmThe McDades: a Juno Award-winning Celtic band that was also named the World Group of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards.

 

Accordionist Serge Duchesne

 

Sunday, April 3, 2022


 

On the Main Stage/Grand Chapiteau

  • 9:00 am – Mass
  • 10:00 am – Pancake Breakfast
  • 11:10 amMétis Jiggers: a performance by a Métis group with traditional songs and dance.
  • 11:50 pmGreetings
  • 12:20 pm Le Winston Band: this band from Montreal infuses musical styles from various French-speaking regions into an energetic rock flavour.
  • 1:15 pmThe McDades: a Juno Award-winning Celtic band that was also named the World Group of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards.
  • 2:15 pm Alpha Yaya Diallo: a multi-time Juno Award winner, Diallo incorporates language and music from his birthplace of Guinea into his performances.
  • 3:10 pm Le Diable à Cinq: a Quebecois group that brings traditional francophone music across the country.
  • 4:00 pm Collage Trad: a group six musicians including three fiddlers from Western Canada with a lot of energy and fun.

 

Will's Jams at Festival du Bois
Will’s Jams at Festival du Bois

 

In the Petit Chapiteau/Children’s Tent

  • 12:00 pmLes Petits Matins
  • 1:00 pm Ginalina: a children’s music artist who has performed folk music in and around Vancouver for over a decade.
  • 2:00 pm Yoro Noukoussi: a musician who plays multiple instruments while performing music from his native Benin.
  • 3:00 pmWill’s Jams: a former regular on CBC Kids TV, he is an accomplished children’s music performer.

 

Ateliers/Workshops at Mackin House

  • 12:30 pm Le Diable à Cinq: a Quebecois group that brings traditional francophone music across the country.
  • 1:30 pmMétis Jiggers
  • 2:30 pm Collage Trad: a group six musicians including three fiddlers from Western Canada with a lot of energy and fun.
  • 3:30 pm Le Winston Band: this band from Montreal infuses musical styles from various French-speaking regions into an energetic rock flavour.

 

Le Winston Band
Le Winston Band

 

There is typically lots of food available at the festival. There are food trucks and various vendors, plus a canteen-style venue in the Grand Chapiteau. Prices are all reasonable.

In 2022 the menu at the food station in the Grand Chapiteau includes pea soup, pork & beans, a slice of tourtière (meat pie) and sugar pie all for $6 or $7 each. Other menu items include a “Lumberjack Plate” with an assortment of items for $18 and bread with pork pâté for $5. Juice is $1 and pop, coffee and tea are $2.

Beer is available at the festival’s bar.

 

Festival du Bois Bar Folk
Folk in Plaid at Festival du Bois Bar

 

Mackin House Museum

If you’re at Festival du Bois anyway, walk across the street and visit the Mackin House Museum while you’re there. Also, as you’ll see, at set times there is live entertainment at the historic site during the festival.

Built in the early 1900’s, the heritage building was the home of the General Manager of Fraser Mills, at one time the largest sawmill in the British Empire. Admission to the museum is by donation. Expect to stay for just a few minutes, unless there during a performance.

The Mackin House Museum is normally open Tuesdays to Fridays (11-5 pm) and Saturdays (12-4 pm). It’s also open from noon until 4 pm on Sundays in the summer. Admission is by donation.

 

North Shore Celtic Ensemble Workshop
North Shore Celtic Ensemble at Mackin House

 

Other Information

For more information about the festival in Coquitlam, including their schedule of performances, check out the Festival du Bois website.

Another French-themed event takes place in Victoria, BC, in the spring. Franco Fest is a new festival and it happens in downtown Victoria from March 17th to 19th in 2022.

For other Lower Mainland festivals throughout the year, check out our Festivals and Events Calendar.

And for other things to do in the spring, check out our March and April calendars of events.