Concert to help Folk Fest

Folk music festival presents authentic flamenco from Spain.

Juan Martin and the dancers from his flamenco ensemble.

Juan Martin and the dancers from his flamenco ensemble.

The Mission Folk Music Festival, a non-profit charity best known for its annual summer concert, is appealing to the public to help a funding shortfall by attending  the Juan Martin Flamenco Ensemble concert at Clarke Theatre, Nov. 6.

The festival’s artistic director, Francis Xavier, currently in Barcelona for a music conference, said the charity lost $110,000 last year to provincial funding cuts.

A large chunk of that, $65,000 in gaming revenues, was redirected into the provincial coffers last year.

That doesn’t sit well with Xavier because he says the only rationale for allowing gambling in B.C. is to “redeem a social evil” by ensuring non-profits receive some proceeds.

“During this last recession, [B.C.] was the only province that made any cuts to the arts at all,” he said.

Xavier said the arts provides twice as many jobs as forestry, a figure he added was pointed out by federal heritage minister James Moore during a visit to B.C.

But although Xavier isn’t happy about the funding gap, he’s hoping Mission’s passionate music community will come and enjoy flamenco music.

The idea for a fundraising concert came about after Xavier asked Juan Martin if he would appear in Mission. The two had met years ago at a music conference in Seville and have become good friends.

“We could do bake sales, but I like to see things that happen emanating from an artistic purpose,” he said.

“Doing a concert like this is consistent with what we do, why we’re here, and has the possibility of raising funds without hitting people over the head for a donation.”

By putting together a good musical performance for Mission, it will remind the community of the important role the charity plays not just during the annual festival, but in supporting the arts.

As for the show, Xavier said it promises to be a “true experience” of flamenco music, which includes the six-person ensemble of the guitarist, the singer and the dancers.

Juan Martin is an authentic experience of flamenco music that comes from the heartland of Spain’s Andalusia region, said Xavier.

“It really is steeped in tradition, the roots are strong. For those who will never travel through the south of Spain and be able to sit in one of the small tablas, these places where they play flamenco, this is an opportunity to see flamenco as it truly is.”

Ranked one of the top three guitarists in the world and the leading flamenco guitarist of his generation, Juan Martin will do several guitar solos. But the dance promises to be just as entertaining, featuring Miguel Infante and  Raquel de Luna.

The only thing missing will be tapas and a little bit of red wine, Xavier said jokingly.

The Juan Martin Flamenco Ensemble plays at the Clarke Theatre on Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 and available at Murdoch’s Book Shop, the Clarke Theatre or online at