The Board of Directors of the festival society announced the change in a press release this morning.
Edwards will be leaving after 28 years of “remarkable service” to the community
Edwards, the festival’s founder and artistic director, informed the board of his decision earlier in the week.
“I have made a significant investment in this community and hope the district will respond by supporting an event treasured by the community. I look forward to pursuing other projects and the first free summer in 28 years,” he said.
“The Board and I are incredibly grateful for the opportunities provided to the community of Mission to experience the music that Francis has brought to the Festival over the last 28 years,” said MFMFS board president John Vissers.
“He had an artistic vision and passion for world music that resulted in some stunning programming. To think that we were able to see Buffy Sainte-Marie, Valdy, Loreena McKennitt, Judy Collins, Ian Tyson and other world class artists on stage in Mission is simply amazing.”
According to the release, the festival attracts upwards of 10,000 people to Fraser River Heritage Park each year. This infusion of folks has “added greatly to the cultural fabric of the community” and to the local economy every summer.
The international scope of the event has also attracted an international audience. In 2015, online ticket purchases were made from Brazil, New York, Norway, Pennsylvania, Scotland, every western US state and several provinces.
The Mission Folk Music Festival Society is a registered Canadian Charity and non-profit society dedicated to music and culture.