The 32nd annual Mission Folk Music Festival kicks off Friday night with a full schedule of live entertainment.
The three-day event (July 26 to 28) takes place at Fraser River Heritage Park and festival general manager Michelle Demers-Shaevitz is excited about the level and variety of talent that will be performing.
This year’s festival main stage opens on Friday night with the Cape Breton sounds of Beaton-Plasse, and ends on Sunday evening with Canadian country superstar Michelle Wright.
Wright, together with her guitarist, will be bringing her favourite songs, old and new, to the Mission festival.
“She’s pretty iconic and her songwriting has really stood the test of time. It’s important for me that we get a range of styles and genres on the stage and I believe country is a folk music,” Demers-Shaevitz said.
Demers-Shaevitz said she wanted to invite musicians who have an element of storytelling in their songs.
“I’m really interested in the story behind the song, so I’ve been really focusing on people for whom their songwriting is sort of essential to communicating who they are.”
One example of that is her choice of musicians who “come from somewhere else” and have made Canada their home.
“In their music, they are really able to convey that experience of how they made their way in a new world.”
Demers-Shaevitz said it allows people to enjoy the music on different levels.
“Our audience will be challenged by some of these people, but entertained as well.”
The festival will also feature traditional forms of folk music, combining the music of the Maritimes with French Canadian and other more traditional sounds.
More than 20 acts will perform everything from Celtic tunes to country and from klezmer to Senegalese asiko, Latin grooves, Thracian dance tunes, and so much more at this year’s event.
In addition to the music, there are both food and artisan market vendors, a “wee folks” area on site where kids and families can have lots of fun, and a licensed bistro.
The opening day of the festival will again be a “pay what you can” event where patrons can enter by donation, rather than purchasing a ticket.
Along with providing a huge range of performers, Demers-Shaevitz said the festival has a goal to shrink the space between artists and the audience.
“Every time we can have opportunities for our audience to participate in the festival, we will. So we are going to have our choir back, have a dance to French Canadian music, some songwriting workshops and even jam spaces so people can bring their instruments.”
She said the goal is to present good music and still be approachable.
“We really try to re-connect with the community … There’s something for everybody.”
The festival also supports local businesses.
Demers-Shaevitz said they are using local hotels, local printing and even have Mission Springs brewing a special festival ale again this year.
“We’re just trying to support as many local businesses as we can; make sure our dollars are being spent in Mission.”
Advance tickets prices for a weekend pass are $90 for adults, $85 for seniors and students, and $50 for youth. Children 12 and under are free. Single-day passes are $50, $45 and $35.
Visit missionfolkmusicfestival.ca to purchase tickets and for a list of performers.
MAIN STAGE SCHEDULE
Friday, July 26 – Beginning at 6 p.m.
Diyet and the Love Soldiers
Jesse Waldman Trio
John Walsh and Los Valientes
Saturday, July 27 – Beginning at 5 p.m.
Rick Scott and Nico Rhodes Roots and Grooves
Cécile Doo-Kingué Trio
Sunday, July 28 – Beginning at 5 p.m.
Zachary Lucky Trio