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Vancouver Folk Music Festival

Vancouver Folk Music Festival

Taking place at beautiful Jericho Beach in July each year, the Vancouver Folk Music Festival is one of the Lower Mainland’s premier music festivals.

Headliners in 2019 included Basia Bulat, Corb Lund, Larkin Poe, David Hidalgo and the Sam Roberts Band, among others.


2020 FESTIVAL CANCELLED DUE TO COVID-19

The organizers of the Vancouver Folk Music Festival announced on April 20th that they were cancelling the event in 2020 due to concerns about the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. The festival now won’t be happening again until July 16th to 18th in 2021.

For people who have already purchased tickets to the 2020 event, options include donating the value of your ticket purchase to the festival (which will be greatly appreciated), getting a credit for tickets to the event in 2021, or requesting a refund. Please don’t phone the VFMF office with questions. They will be contacting you soon via e-mail with more information.

For details about the decision to cancel the event see the official Vancouver Folk Fest website.

To learn more about how the pandemic is impacting other festivals and organizations in the Lower Mainland, see our article about Vancouver, COVID-19 and Event Cancellations.


Folk Festival at Jericho Beach

Attracting tens of thousands of folk music enthusiasts over the three days, the festival features over 60 performances from artists from over a dozen different countries.

In 2020 the Vancouver Folk Music Festival was going to run from July 17th until the 19th. It would have been the event’s 43rd year!


In this article you’ll find information about the following:

Admission | 2019 Concerts Schedule | What to Expect | The Music | Beer Garden | Festival Food | Artisan Market | Festival Advice | Other Information

Click on any of the above links to jump to a specific topic, or continue reading to learn all about the Vancouver Folk Music Festival.


Admission to Folk Fest

Usually performances at the festival run on the Friday from about 4 until 11 pm, and on the Saturday and Sunday from 10 am until 11 pm.

2019 Admission prices at the gate were the following, with early bird advance ticket prices between $5 and $30 less (depending on your age and when you buy them). 2021 prices will likely be similar.

  • Adults: $185 full weekend; $85 Saturday or Sunday; $65 Friday.
  • Students and Seniors (65+): $135 full weekend; $70 Saturday or Sunday; $55 Friday.
  • Youth (ages 13-18): $75 weekend; $55 Saturday or Sunday; $45 Friday.
  • Children (12 and under): free when accompanied by a paying adult.

Tickets can also be purchased in advance for a $5-$30 discount, either online or at a number of retail outlets around Vancouver.

Early bird tickets could be purchased up until May 10, 2019. If you bought tickets online between May 11 and July 18 you also saved between $5 and $15 over gate prices.

Check out the Festival Website for further information.

Locarno in Vancouver
Locarno

2019 Concerts Schedule

Who performs at Vancouver Folk Fest? Below is the list of some of the performers and what day they performed on in 2019. The 2021 lineup will be comparable.

Note: Schedule location and performer details are subject to change.


Friday July 19th (2019) Concerts 


Friday Evening Concerts on the MAIN STAGE

Friday Evening Concerts on Stage One

Friday Evening Concerts on Stage Two

Friday Evening Concerts on Stage Three

Friday Evening Concerts on Stage Four

Friday Evening Concerts on Stage Five

Vancouver Folk Fest Crowds


Saturday July 20th (2019) Concerts and Workshops


Saturday Evening Concerts on the MAIN STAGE

Saturday Concerts and Workshops on Stage One

  • 10:30 am Singing Strings: with the Aerialists, Andrew Collins and Raine Hamilton
  • 11:40 am – John Reischman & The Jaybirds
  • 12:50 pm – Tri-Continental: with Black String, Namgar and Riit
  • 2:00 pm – Let’s Play Some Bluegrass: with Pharis & Jason Romero and John Reischman & The Jaybirds
  • 3:10 pm – Tradical Folk: with Illiteratty, Don McGlashan and Rad Trads
  • 4:20 pm – It’s a Jazzy Folk: with Desiree Dawson, Rosie & The Riveters and Ruby & Smith

Folk Fest Singers

Saturday Concerts and Workshops on Stage Two

  • 10:00 am  Time to Wake Up: with Celeigh Cardinal, Copperhead and Midnight Shine
  • 11:10 am  Songs of Ian Tyson: with Steve Dawson, Corb Lund and Emily Triggs
  • 12:20 pm – Raine Hamilton String Trio
  • 1:30 pm  Learn to Play Ukulele: with Ruby & Smith
  • 2:40 pm  Let’s Get Down: with Steve DawsonBrother Tito DelerAmos Garrett & Julian KerrKirchen, Cox and McRae
  • 3:50 pm  Ramblin Jack Elliott
  • 5:00 pm  Matthew Byrne

Saturday Concerts and Workshops on Stage Three

Saturday Concerts and Workshops on Stage Four

  • 10:00 am – Non-Traditional Encounters: with Black String,  Marin Patenaude and Son of James
  • 11:10 am – Songs of Unrequited Love: with Bobby Dove, Front Country, and the Lonesome Ace Stringband
  • 12:20 pm – Songs we Love to Sing: with Basia Bulat, Irish Mythen and Lucy Rose
  • 1:30 pm – Amos Garrett & Julian Kerr
  • 2:40 pm – Nano Stern
  • 3:50 pm – Heartworn Highways: with Bobby Dove, Sara Shook & The Disarmers, Emily Triggs and Sunny War
  • 5:00 pm – Celeigh Cardinal

Saturday Concerts and Workshops on Stage Five

  • 10:00 am – Good Morning Blues: with Brother Tito Deler, George Leach and Joey Landreth
  • 11:10 am – Groove Sisters: with Desiree Dawson, Zaki Ibrahim, Riit and Too Attached
  • 12:20 pm – Shake It Up: with La Mexcalina and Tal National
  • 1:30 pm – Muy Caliente: with Locarno and Pablo Menendez
  • 2:40 pm – Son of James
  • 3:50 pm – Dance your Ass Off: with Oktopus and the Rebirth Brass Band
  • 5:00 pm – Too Attached

Viper Central in Concert


Sunday July 21st (2019) Concerts and Workshops


Sunday Evening Concerts on the MAIN STAGE

Sunday Concerts and Workshops on Stage One

Sunday Concerts and Workshops on Stage Two

  • 10:00 am – Marin Patenaude
  • 11:10 am – Shake Your Soul: with Ceiligh Cardinal, Mike Farris, Amos Garrett & Julian Kerr and The Hamiltones
  • 12:20 pm  Coast Salish Culture & Dance: with Tsatsu Stalqayu
  • 1:50 pm – Our Song Is Strong: with Illiteratty, Irish Mythen, Rosie & the Riveters and Nano Stern
  • 3:50 pm – Ramblin Jack Elliott
  • 5:00 pm – Namgar

Sunday Concerts and Workshops on Stage Three

Sunday Concerts and Workshops on Stage Four

  • 10:00 am – Aerialists
  • 11:10 am – Blow That Horn: with the Rebirth Brass Band and The Rad Trads
  • 12:20 pm – String AlongAerialistsDardanelles and Namgar
  • 1:30 pm – Kindred SpiritsAndrew CollinsMarin Patenaude, Pharis & Jason RomeroJohn Reischman & The Jaybirds
  • 2:40 pm – Young & RestlessFront Country Raine, HamiltonSarah Shook & The Disarmers
  • 3:50 pm – La Mexcalina
  • 5:00 pm – Rosie & The Riveters

Sunday Concerts and Workshops on Stage Five

  • 10:00 am – What Will They Say: with Basia Bulat, Sunny War and Too Attached
  • 11:10 am – My Beat Your Beat: with Zaki Ibrahim and Tal National
  • 12:20 pm – Joey Landreth
  • 1:30 pm – Everybody Rock: with Kirchen, Cox & McRae, La Mexcalina and Son of James
  • 2:40 pm – Wild At Heart: with Mike Farris, Joey Landreth and George Leach
  • 3:50 pm – Traditions and Our Times: with Locarno and Nano Stern
  • 5:00 pm – The Rad Trads

What to Expect at Folk Fest

At the Vancouver Folk Music Festival you can expect three days of amazing folk music performances by dozens of international singers and bands on multiple stages spread out over the lawns at the park by beautiful Jericho Beach.

You can also expect thousands of people enjoying not only the music, but also the beer garden, festival food and artisan market. There are also special activities for children, like face painting and crafts.

Mandolin Orange Band at Folk Fest

Folk Fest Music

The Vancouver Folk Music Festival attracts some fairly big names in the folk music world. If you’re really into folk music, you will likely have heard of a number of each year’s performers. If you like folk music but aren’t seriously into it, however, then you might have heard of one or two.

In 2016, the headliner for the final night was Bruce Cockburn. In 2017 one of the main bands was The Bare Naked Ladies. 2018 bands included Alex Cuba and Les Poules à Colin.

Music is played from multiple stages in different areas of the park at the same time, so if you find you don’t like what you’re listening to, chances are pretty good you’ll find something you love pretty close by.

For a look at the festival venue, click Folk Fest Site Map.

Vancouver Folk Fest Side Stage
A stage near the Festival’s West Gate

Festival Beer Garden

At the Vancouver Folk Music Festival there is of course a beer garden. Wine and beer have been about $6 each in recent years and the beer garden area has tons of tables, many of which have umbrellas for shade.

A gazillion people attend the festival of course, so be prepared to wait in line to get your drinks at popular times, or simply keep your eye on the line as it has both busy times and slow times.

Folk Festival Food

The Vancouver Folk Music Festival always has a great selection of food for sale – everything from healthy vegan dishes, to ethnic cuisine to junk food. There’s something for everyone, and most of it is really delicious!

Most of the food vendors are concentrated in sort of a food court area in the northeast corner of the festival venue, which is convenient as it means everyone in your group can find something they like all in the same general place.

Folk Fest Artisan Market
Artisan Market at Vancouver Folk Fest

The Artisan Market

The Artisan Market at the festival is truly impressive. It features over 100 vendors selling all kinds of beautiful and interesting things and it’s not open just for festival attendees – anyone off the street (or the beach) can go into the market for no charge. It’s really worth it!

For the weekend of the festival, the Folk Fest Artisan Market is arguably the best market in the Lower Mainland.

At the market you’ll find everything from handmade soaps to African drums to colourful Guatemalan clothing. You’ll also find hats, bags, Persian rugs, sunglasses, hemp clothing, all kinds of jewellery and even vendors offering shiatsu massages and palm readings. Even if you don’t plan to buy anything, it’s interesting just taking a look.

Folk Music Festival Artisan Market
The Artisan Market

Folk Festival Advice

Below are some tips to help you make the most out of your Vancouver Folk Music Festival experience.

TIP #1: If you’ve never been to the Vancouver Folk Music Festival before, unless you really don’t like music, go! It’s not inexpensive, but reasonable for a festival of its kind and well worth the price. The evening headliner concerts, for example, alone are worth the price of a full day’s ticket.

TIP #2: If you’re not sure if you’ll like the festival, or if you’re not even sure if you like folk music, just go to Jericho Beach for part of the day and check it out from a distance. Wander through the Artisan Market or listen to the music from the beach. If it turns out you like what you see and hear, then either buy a ticket and go inside or plan to do so in the following year.

TIP #3: If you order your tickets online at least three days in advance you’ll save yourself a few dollars. The weather in Vancouver in July is usually pretty good, but check the forecast in advance. People say that in past years when it has rained the event was still fabulous. Beautiful sunny weather for an outdoor music festival though is still pretty nice to have.

TIP #4: Take a water bottle. It can be hot at Jericho Beach in July and the Festival provides water stations where you can refill your bottle. And if you think you’ll really need cooling off, take your swimsuit too – the ocean can be freezingly cold, but Jericho Beach is one of Vancouver’s finest. Also, time your dip in the water when the tide is coming in. If the sand is hot the water warms remarkably.

TIP #5: Take public transit if you can, or ride your bike, because with thousands of festival goers all at the same place, parking can be a nightmare. Take good walking shoes and don’t be surprised if you have to walk a considerable distance, like from as far as the western end of Spanish Banks some four or so kilometres away. If driving, go early and try your luck. Or, if you can, put bicycles on your bike rack and plan to park and then cycle. (Note: there is a large secure bicycle parking area at the main (East) entrance just off 4th Avenue. Bicycle parking there costs about $2.)

TIP #6: Take your old garbage electronics to the festival. No, really. Many years there is a booth accepting old electronics for recycling. Got an old radio, coffeemaker or battery-powered toy that no longer works? Take it with you and they’ll recycle it for you for free (or at least that’s what they have done in recent years).

Folk Fest Video

To give you an idea of what to expect, below is a short video clip of people having fun at the festival from a couple of years ago.

Other Information

See the Folk Fest Website for further information on the Festival in general.

Check out Vancouver’s Best Places’ July Calendar for other great events taking place this same month, or the Vancouver Festival Calendar for a list of the Lower Mainland’s other top events and festivals.

Click Free Summer Concerts for a list of other music venues in July and August.