Vancouver Folk Fest Raffle sellers

This was my fourth Vancouver Folk Festival, but like many in attendance, a first for having to deal with buckets of rain for most of the day.

Taking refuge in the back of the main stage area

VW ATM machine
[ATM Machine]

I arrived in time to catch Joel Plaskett and Jim Bryson at Stage 3 for their morning Sounds of Home workshop. When By arrived in time, I mean that I’d forgotten about the fact that artists listed in the program are not always in order of performance.

Joel Plaskett
[Joel Plaskett]

In fact, due to the rain, I wandered much more than I normally would have, and caught several acts that took me by pleasant surprise.

Joy Kills Sorrow
[Joy Kills Sorrow]

Joy Kills Sorrow, a band out of Boston, gave me a good show for my time under the umbrella. The band’s newest member is Jacob Jolliff, who’s been on the road since the age of 11! Vocalist Emma Beaton is the Canadian contingent of the group; she won the 2008 Canadian Folk Music Awards Young Performer of the Year. I liked their bluesy bluegrass sound, as did the crowd.


Free Geek

Impromptu jam session at bluegrass society tent

Vancouver Folk Fest vendors

Wandering between the music stages brings you to festival’s real core: the vendor tents. One moment I was talking with Free Geeks, the next thing I knew, an impromptu jam session was underway at the cozy Pacific Bluegrass & Heritage Society tent.

Little folks at the community puddle

Kids climbing the rock wall

Leon Rosselson
[Leon Rosselson]

Little kids had fun in the rain by “swimming” in puddles, climbing rock walls, and listening to songs for their age group at Little Folks Stage 1. In fact, I caught Leon Rosselson and Dan Bern singing the little ones a few entertaining tunes; later Rosselson joined Tim Robbins and the Rogues Gallery Band on Stage 2 for a crowd rousing set.

Emily Wells
[Emily Wells]

Another unexpected surprise was Emily Wells, a Los Angeles based musician, who performed with both keyboard and violin. Her style is electronic, incorporating vocals, sampling, and drum machine.

Dancing in the rain

In fact, I wouldn’t consider her music to be folk, but more hip-hop merged with classical music. She’ll be at Stage 4 today between 11:10 and 12:10 pm.

Tim smiling at other musicians performing on stage

For me, the highlight of the day was getting to watch tall and handsome Tim Robbins (I’m a fan of his films since the early days of Bull Durham) and his band, the Rogues Gallery Band.

Stage 2 showcase 'No Power Greater'

Stage 2 showcase 'No Power Greater'

Tim Robbins & the Rogues Galley Band

Mr. Tim Robbins himself

He ended his portion of the set with Arlo Guthrie’s “I’ve Got to Know“. The crowd loved it, and by that time the rain had subsided, making life at the festival more enjoyable.


My heart went out to those who look forward to setting their blankets at the Main Stage each morning of the festival, guaranteeing their spot for the evening concert. This year, the blankets were replaced by tarps and day tents. Still, the mood of the crowd wasn’t swayed too much by the ark that’s aiming to be built in Vancouver this weekend.

Main stage tarp city

Wayfinding amongst the tarps

Setting up tents

Today holds promise of a drier afternoon and evening.

Dancing in the rain

Vancouver Folk Fest food area

Juice Caboose

If you’re planning on going, a full schedule is available online. Secured bike parking costs $1 and public transit is highly recommended as I live in the area, and more cars choke the neighbourhood streets each year. Check out more photos from Day 1 on Flickr.


  • Comment by Sandi Amorim — July 17, 2011 @ 9:40 am

    Love this update Ariane! I’m missing the festival for the first time in a long time this year and it’s nice to see that in spite of the weather, the folk festival spirit lives on.

  • Comment by arianec — July 17, 2011 @ 10:25 am

    Thanks, Sandi. Day 2 coming up 🙂

    Hope to see you next year.

  • Pingback by 2011 Vancouver Folk Festival: Day 2 | ariane c design — July 18, 2011 @ 9:05 am

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  • Comment by Erica Nye — October 3, 2011 @ 10:50 am

    I am looking for a vendor who took part in the 2011 Van Folk Fest. She transforms tshirts into amazing dresses… I can’t seem to find her anywhere. Do you have any idea who this is, and where I can find her?

  • Comment by arianec — October 3, 2011 @ 10:54 am


    I’d contact Van Folk Festival and ask them about their vendor list. Explain in detail about the type of clothing and whether it’s inside the vendor area or on the beach. Might be harder to track down a vendor on the beach side of the fence. Good luck in your search!

  • Pingback by 2012 Vancouver Folk Music Festival | ariane c design — June 27, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

    […] is one of my favourite summer festivals for its lively, inclusive […]

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