The Mission Folk Music Festival is a 3-day music festival featuring a wide range of concerts and local performers at the Fraser River Heritage Park in July.
Mission Folk Fest
In 2019 the Mission Folk Music Festival happens on the weekend of July 26 to 28. It’s a fairly large festival at a beautiful venue which attracts dozens of performers and thousands of local folk-music enthusiasts.
What to Expect at the Festival
At the Mission Folk Music Festival you can expect around four or so stages with performances taking place throughout each of the 2.5 days. Some people camp overnight at the festival right on site while others attend just for the day.
At the venue there’s a camping area, a few food trucks and a licensed bistro, an artisan market with around 20 vendors and a Wee Folks Area for children. There are also usually half a dozen or so food trucks.
The Mission Folk Music Festival isn’t a huge event, but it’s still a nice one. It’s also family-friendly and attracts a wide range of music lovers.
As many as 1500 people show up on the first evening (when admission is by donation), but fewer on the regular full days.
Musicians at some stages attract small crowds, while others attract the majority of attendees. Most of the musicians are local, but the quality of play is very high.
The festival takes place at the Fraser River Heritage Park which is located at 7494 Mary Street just above the Fraser River in the town of Mission, BC.
For a map of the venue and directions on how to get there, click Festival 101.
For an outline of where things are once you get there, click Festival Venue Map.
Admission to the festival depends on your age, when you buy your tickets and whether you plan to camp.
As of April 2019, advanced tickets can be purchased online at $90 for adults for the full weekend, $85 for students and seniors, and $50 for youth. Camping packages cost between $10 and $30 extra per person. One-day adult passes for the Saturday cost $50 for adults, $45 for students and seniors, and $35 for youth. Advanced one-day tickets for the Sunday cost $5 less. Taxes and fees are extra, and prices at the gate will likely be more.
For comparison, last year, at the gate for the full weekend, adults cost about $80, students and seniors (ages 60+) were $75 and youth (ages 13-18) cost $45. If you bought your tickets in advance you would have saved between $5 and $10. Children 12 and under were free. 2019 prices will be similar.
Weekend passes that included camping cost about $30 extra per person last year, although slightly less for youth.
Day passes for the Saturday and Sunday are also available and cost around $50 for adults last year, $45 for seniors and students, and $35 for youth. Again, if you purchase your tickets in advance you’ll save about $5 per day.
On the Friday, in past years, admission to the evening concerts was by donation where you’re asked to just Pay-What-You-Can. 2019 will be the same.
Mission Folk Fest Bands
Some of the bands scheduled to perform at the Mission Folk Music Festival in 2019 include the following:
- Beaton-Plasse – a couple of fiddlers from Quebec and Nova Scotia.
- Geoff Berner – a BC-based Folk singer, songwriter and accordionist.
- Wil Campa Y Su Orquestra – a Cuban musician and his band that have played at both Vancouver’s Carnaval del Sol and Vancouver Jazz Festival in the past.
- Élage Diouf – a Senegalese born singer, percussionist and songwriter who is currently based in Quebec and who performed at the Mission Folk Music Festival last year too.
- Diyet & the Love Soldiers – an Alternative Country, Folk and Roots group with an Indigenous background from the Yukon.
- Cécile Doo-Kingué – a Blues, Groove and soul guitarist from Quebec.
- Leaf Rapids – a Pop, Folk and Indie group from Manitoba.
- Zachary Lucky – a musician from Saskatchewan.
- Irish Mythen – a singer-songwriter from Prince Edward Island.
- Oktopus – a Quebec-based group specializing in traditional East-European tunes.
- Podorythmie – a Washington State-based team of musicians who play a mix of French Canadian and Celtic tunes and who most recently performed at Coquitlam’s Festival du Bois in March of 2019.
- Roads Unknown – a BC-based band that plays Roots, Blues and Country and includes Jennie Bice, Tony O’Hara, Michael Jantzen and Solomon Janzen.
- Schryer, Hillhouse & Dobres – the trio of Celtic Folk musicians comprised of Pierre Schryer, Andy Hillhouse and Adam Dobres from BC.
- ROOTS & GROOVES – the intergenerational duo of Rick Scott and Nico Rhodes.
- Strangely – a one-man cabaret from Washington State.
- Turkwaz – an Ontario-based quartet featuring Balkan, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern tunes. Band members include Maryem Hassan Tollar, Jayne Brown, Sophia Grigoriadis and Brenna MacCrimmon.
- Jesse Waldman – a local BC-based musician.
- John Welsh & Los Valientes – a BC-based band specializing in Folk, Surf Rock, Reggae, Latin and other genres. Last year the band played at numerous Lower Mainland events including Uptown Live in New Westminster, the Surrey Fusion Festival and Squamish Wind Festival.
- Zigue – a Quebec-based duo featuring Dana Whittle (on guitar, vocals and foot percussion) and Claude Méthé (on fiddle and vocals).
Other “Community Voices” participants in 2019 include Fraser Valley Music Awards-winner Jenny Banai, graduates of the Railyard Youth Open Stage Project, the Festival Choir (lead by Deborah Handley) and Low Barrier Cabaret.
Bands last year included the following:
- Pharis & Jason Romero – a pair of Juno Award-winning folk musicians from Horsefly BC.
- James Keelaghan – a Canadian folk singer and guitar player from Calgary.
- The Matinée – a Roots, Folk, Alt-Country and Rock band from Vancouver.
- Noreum Machi – a 5-person band that plays traditional Korean music.
- Élage Diouf – a Senegalese born singer, percussionist and songwriter.
- Strangely – a folk musician described as a “rollicking, sing-along, one-man cabaret riot” by Broadway Baby, Edinburgh.
- The Kwerks – a 3-person folk band from Langley, BC.
Festival Times and Dates
In 2019 the Mission Folk Music Festival runs from the evening of Friday, July 26th, until the early evening of Sunday, July 28th.
To give you an idea of what to expect, below is the schedule of concerts and workshops from last year.
Friday Schedule (in 2018)
On the Friday in 2018 there were performances on the Main Stage from around 6:00 until after 10:30 pm. Bands on the opening evening included the following:
- 6:10 pm – The Kwerks
- 7:10 pm – Early Spirit
- 8:15 pm – Doug Cox and Sam Hurrie & the Friday Night Blues Band
- 9:30 pm – The Matinee
The Friday evening in 2018 was a “pay-as-you-can” event, so very affordable, and close to 1500 typically attend.
Saturday Schedule (in 2018)
In 2018 the Mission Folk Music Festival ran from noon until 10:30 pm on the Saturday and included live music and workshops on five different stages. The day’s performers included the following:
On the Main Stage …
- 6:05 pm – Noreum Machi
- 7:15 pm – The Small Glories
- 8:25 pm – Celeigh Cardinal Trio
- 9:30 pm – Elage Diouf
On the Mt. Baker Stage …
- 11:50 am – World Beat Heart Beat
- 1:10 pm – Bad to the Bow (Youth Fiddle Ensemble)
- 2:00 pm – Island Blues (with Doug Cox & Sam Hurrie)
- 3:10 pm – Dry Bones
On the Fraser Stage …
- 11:30 am – Raw Honey
- 12:15 pm – Strangely & The Kwerks
- 1:15 pm – Two Thin Dimes
- 2:30 pm – Women in Song
- 3:45 pm – Square Dance
On the Log Cabin Stage …
- 11:30 am – Railyard Youth Open Mic
- 12:30 pm – Twin Bandit
- 1:30 pm – Braden Gates
- 2:15 pm – David Francey
- 3:30 pm – Ostwelve
- 4:30 pm – Balkan Shmalkan
On the Gazebo Participatory Workshop Stage …
- 12:00 pm – Festival Choir (with Deborah Handley & Nathan Mah)
- 1:00 pm – The Art of Songwriting
- 2:00 pm – Festival Choir
- 3:15 pm – Celtic Jam with Early Spirit (bring your own instrument)
Sunday Schedule (in 2018)
On the Sunday last year the festival ran from 11:00 am until 9:30 pm. Performances on the various stages included the following:
On the Main Stage …
- 6:15 pm – Viper Central
- 7:15 pm – Pharis and Jason Romero
- 8:30 pm – James Keelaghan
On the Mt. Baker Stage …
- 12:00 pm – Morning Blues
- 1:15 pm – Voices from a Gravel Road
- 2:25 pm – Raw Honey
- 3:10 pm – Old Time Grass (with Early Spirit & Viper Central)
On the Fraser Stage …
- 11:45 am – Our Roots are Showing
- 1:00 pm – Bad to the Bow
- 1:45 pm – New Voices, Old Traditions (with Braden Gates & Twin Bandit)
- 2:45 pm – Nathan Rogers
- 4:00 pm – Eastern Euro Express
On the Log Cabin Stage …
- 11:30 am – It’s a String Thing (with various artists)
- 12:45 pm – Strangely Friends
- 1:45 pm – Four Banjos and the Truth
- 3:00 pm – Brian O’Brien Band
- 4:15 pm – Tim Readman
On the Gazebo Participatory Workshop Stage
- 1:00 pm – Festival Choir
- 2:00 pm – Blues Mandolin (with Doug Cox)
- 3:00 pm – For the Love of a Song (with James Keelaghan)
Parking is available on site, both in the regular paved parking lot and on the grass in a field. Except for at times when admission is by donation or when a major band is playing, parking spots are usually available.
For more information see the Mission Folk Music Festival website.
For a list of other major Lower Mainland events throughout the year, click Festivals & Events.