Left: April Verch brings her fiddle and her band from Ontario. Top Right: Internationally acclaimed musician Renato Borghetti

Mission folk music festival begins tonight

Special 25th anniversary celebration features music from six continents across the seven seas

The stage is set to kick off the 25th Mission Folk Music Festival tonight at the Clarke Foundation Theatre with a gala concert featuring a few of the festival’s internationally renowned stars.

The flavour will be more international than ever. On Saturday night’s main stage, for example, the festival will showcase six music groups from six different countries spanning five continents.

Over a five-hour period you can watch musicians from Asia, South America, Australia, North America, and Europe.

In addition, Saturday night will feature music from a place not belonging to any continent, and almost large enough to be a continent itself – Greenland’s Rasmus Lyberth sing’s in his native language, showcasing a rare glimpse of Arctic culture.

Friday and Sunday also offer a bounty of world music. Daytime sessions on the weekend will bring together festival artists in workshop and collaboration sessions as well as on the main stage concerts.

Thursday, July 19

The gala concert kicks off at the Clarke Theatre at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 at the door. Performers are:

• Denmark’s Himmerland, combining traditional Danish folk, jazz and world sonics with Polish and Ghanaian influences

• Swedish band Lyy plays medieval ballads, dance tunes and hymns

• Brazil’s Renato Borghetti and Artur Bonilla meld the traditional sounds of Brasil’s Rio Grande do Sul and the Argentinean pampas with modern and Euro influences

• The Epic Swedish All-Stars

• Scottish-born troubadour and folk-poet David Francey has been hailed as “the likeliest candidate for all-Canadian folk singer”

• From Chad, Africa, comes the rhythms and dance of H’Sao

• Rasmus Lyberth;

• Award-winning nine-member Danish band Habadekuk offers polka-swing that will get you dancing

Friday, July 20

The main stage concert starts at 7 p.m. and features:

• The Epic Swedish All-Stars

• Fiddling master and hand clapper Matt Gordon and Friends

• Himmerland

• B.C.’s own Van Django, a punchy, driving and rhythmically inventive music with gypsy jazz roots

• H’Sao

• New Zealand’s Pacific Curls, combining fiddle, ukulele, cajons, Maori traditional and other instrumentation

• Scotland’s Shooglenifty plays Celtic music with fiendish dance groove

Saturday, July 21

The main stage concert begins at 6 p.m. and features:

• Ontario/Turkish band Minor Empire reaches into the heart of Istanbul

• Referred to as Australia’s Bob Dylan by folk festival organizer Francis Xavier, Shane Howard is hugely popular down under

• Renato Borghetti and Artur Bonilla

• Rasmus Lyberth

• Buffy Sainte Marie, an artist, educator and activist of remarkable accomplishment both on and off the stage

• Habadekuk

Sunday, July 22

The final day’s main stage concert begins at 6 p.m. featuring:

•  Globe-trotting percussion ensemble Talavya from India with traditional  hand-drumming

• Ireland’s Colum Sands draws on the Irish  tradition of poetic musicality to weave wonderful songs

• Argentinian-cum-Los Angeles band Los Pinguos provide upbeat, sizzling Latin rhythms, with vivacious harmonies

• Eliza Gilkyson is a politically minded, poetically gifted singer-songwriter, and one of the most respected musicians in folk and American music circles today

• The Teetotalers from Ireland combine fiddle, guitar and flute

• David Francey

Weekend passes are $105 for adults, $70 for youth (13-19), $75 for seniors (60+), and $10 for children (5-12). Kids aged four and under are admitted free. One day passes are $60, $40, and $45, respectively. Evening concerts are $55, $35, and $40,  respectively.

Festival weekend camping passes are available for $135, $105, and $75, respectively.

The box office and camp ground opens on Friday at 3 p.m. at the park, and the main gate opens at 5 p.m. for the evening concerts.

Daytime concerts and workshops run on three stages from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day.

You can buy your tickets at the gate, online at www.missionfolkmusicfestival.ca, or call 604-826-5937.

For more information about parking, local transit, accommodations, camping, and on-site amenities, visit the website.

Festival organizers warn to dress for the weather, so that means bringing a sun hat and sunscreen for the day and warm clothes for the evenings, rain gear if the weather sours, and insect repellent for mosquitoes.

No alcohol, audio or video recording is allowed. Bring a lawn chair or blanket, and considerate of others.