The Vancouver Folk Music Festival took over Jericho Beach last night, kicking off the start of another great weekend of music. The VFMF, now in its venerable 39th year, mixes local talent with a curated list of international musicians – some you’ve heard of before, others not so much. These surprising musical discoveries, as well as the amicable and homegrown atmosphere of the crowd, are why the VFMF remains among the most well-organized festivals on the West Coast.
The two festival stages kicked off in earnest around 5 pm last night, after a traditional First Nations Welcome. The two stages rolled through an eclectic mix of genres, showing just how much ‘folk’ has expanded to fuse with soul, funk, indie, world and even spoken word. From “Little James Brown” soul crooner Lee Fields, to the intricate slide pickings of roots & blues guitarist Martin Harley, to local indie rock favourites The New Pornographers, who capped off the night.
Wandering freely between the stages, festival goers settled in comfortably on mats and chairs, nibbling at the assortment of local food trucks and vendors, enjoying the sunshine and even fitting in a quick yoga session (oh Vancouver).
Unlike Pemberton Festival, which is also running this weekend, the Vancouver Folk Music Festival isn’t as driven on huge names, but by a homegrown attitude in doing festivals right. From a zero waste initiative to the hundreds of helpful volunteers, the grounds are a calm oasis, and a fantastic way of experiencing a large-scale music festival within city limits.
Some more photos from day 1 of the Vancouver Folk Music Festival: