Singer-songwriter Neko Case is one of many of the headliners at this year's Vancouver Folk Music Festival.
Singer-songwriter Neko Case is one of many of the headliners at this year's Vancouver Folk Music Festival.

The 41st annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival is set to begin this weekend at Kitsilano’s Jericho Beach Park. Under predicted sunny weather, this year’s festival is expected to draw over 35,000 attendees to take in a global mix of over fifty acts, featuring an equal number of female and male artists.

“My primary goal has been to find an eclectic blend of artists and music that sounds really, really good, whatever the genre,” says the Vancouver Folk Music Festival’s new artistic director, Debbi Lynn Salmonsen.

Under Salmonsen’s leadership, this year’s festival also finds a gender balance.

“The Vancouver Folk Music Festival has always taken pride in being inclusive, diverse, expansive in our definition of folk music, and this year’s line-up reflects that,” she says.

With artists coming from across Canada, Europe, Africa, North, Latin & South America, and Australia, the three day outdoor festival is more than just what its title might suggest.  The offerings on tap this year include everything from folk, Americana, bluegrass and blues, to son jarocho, marrabenta, mariachi, Quebecois and Cajun, to Ukrainian folksong, and ancient Moravia melody.

Beginning at 4pm on Friday afternoon, festival-goers will be able to take in an array of concerts and workshops on five daytime, and two evening stages.

Each evening, the main stage concerts will showcase some big names in the world of music including a Friday night set from singer-songwriter, and member of Canadian indie rock group The New Pornographers, Neko Case.  She will be preceded by performances from indie folk band, Darlingside, the trio Three Women & the Truth, and singer-songwriter, James McMurtry.

On Saturday, the evening concert will be anchored by Canadian folk-bluegrass musical ensemble, The Dead South. The concert will also include performances from Canadian folk/roots duo, Kacy & Clayton, the Ukrainian folk quartet DakhaBrakha, and country music artist, Rodney Crowell.

The festival weekend comes to an end on Sunday evening with main stage performances from Jayme Stone’s Folklife, Wazimbo & Banda Kakana from the African nation of Mozambique, and the group, Ranky Tanky, who specializes in jazz-influenced arrangements of traditional Gullah music. A performance from the Grammy Award-winning Ry Cooder featuring the HamilTones will close out the festival.

The 2018 Vancouver Folk Music Festival gets underway on July 13 at Jericho Beach Park and continues through July 15. Visit thefestival.bc.ca for tickets and information.