Vancouver Folk Fest – Global and holistic

Photo courtesy of Vancouver Folk Music Fesival

Photo courtesy of Vancouver Folk Music Fesival

For Linda Tanaka, music is one of the things that can cut cross all lines and overcome barriers.

As artistic director of the Vancouver Folk Music Festival (VFMF), now in its 38th year, tries to deliver a festival that creates a sense of community for all.

“The upcoming festival celebrates and supports all genres of music and invites the entire community to experience Canadian and international artists,” says Linda Tanaka, VFMF artistic director.

Tanaka aims to bring a global and diverse perspective to our community from an inclusive spectrum of musicians, who combine sounds with social consciousness and speak to our shared experiences in life.

“I welcome artists that are ethical, and align with the festival’s philosophy – artists who are politically and environmentally aware and those who fight for a cause,” Tanaka says. “It’s inspiring to see artists literally as the voices of their people and community, eliciting awareness and change. Some artists are also activists in preserving their traditions and histories as well.”

With that in mind, Tanaka promises a diverse and eclectic line-up that features slices of the best sounds from across the globe –
whether it be exuberant bluegrass, charismatic blues, rollicking rock, or different flavours of infectious and therapeutic tunes. VFMF hopes to enrapture the young and old alike, showcasing a diversity of sounds for people of all sorts.

Communication and collaboration

Being inspired by music time after time, Tanaka hopes to have the festival’s dispositions resonate with the belief that music is a prominent apparatus of communication, as it holds the community together and brings new ideas and unexpected ways of looking at the world.

“I hope to inspire people to be more creative, more observant and aware of their environment,” Tanaka explains.

Following this idea, Tanaka explains that the principle of the festival is to create a distinctive platform for cultural values and artistic mediums to flourish and thrive on the shores of Jericho Beach – rendering opportunities for open dialogue, truthful thinking and community engagement.

At the same time, the festival will include workshop stages that partner up artists from various backgrounds.

“Usually, by the end, [the artists] wind up collaborating. That spirit of collaboration and working together are what make our motto. It’s something very positive and uplifting,” says Tanaka.

Inspiring community

Tanaka is excited by the combination of artists that contribute to the festival’s unique atmosphere and community

“What we’re doing is building little communities on-site with a village-like atmosphere – we’re creating a diverse community of musical talents from around the world. In that sense, I think it’s great. It makes our community all the more exciting in bringing new outlooks, cultures and voices,” she says.

Tanaka wishes to show that music can bring together different cultures and draw all kinds of people to meet.

“The festival links us to a wide range of demographics of all in-come brackets – in some cases, even three generations of people,” says Tanaka. “This creates a really nice sense of community where we’re able to discover and connect in many ways.”

In that vein, the 38th annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival will be a celebration of community spirit and artistic voices and creativity. As with the previous years, the event will continue to nurture positive relations between a sundry of artists and our community.

For more information, visit