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2008 Vancouver Folk Music Festival (Saturday)


VanRamblings got a late start to the day on Saturday, but finally wended our way onto the grounds of the 2008 Vancouver Folk Music Festival about four in the afternoon. Of course, this late start to our day represents a mighty change from years past, when we found ourselves in line with kids in tow at 8:30 a.m. (or even earlier in the morning), but time passes — even if enthusiasm doesn't wane — and after 31 consecutive years of attendance at the Folk Fest we're willing to cut ourselves a bit of a break.

All of the above said, VanRamblings will do much better on Sunday.

No sooner had we walked through the gates, on our way to lay our blanket down in front of the Main Stage, and who should we run into but old friend and comrade, Gary Cristall, one of the founding fathers of the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, and its first (and most successful) artistic director.

We chatted amiably for about 10 minutes, Gary agreeing that the Festival is in a year of transition. When it was suggested by VanRamblings that attendance was down on Friday night, he indicated that he'd heard reports of the same from friends who'd attended the Festival's opening night.

As to where the Festival is heading in future years, Gary agrees — albeit reluctantly — that change is in the air, that the Festival is moving inexorably in the direction of seeking corporate funding, a notion that is anathema to Cristall and anyone who was around at the inception of the Vancouver Folk Music Festival. But with a debt of some $268,000, the Festival has to do something to address the financial shortfall if it is to prevail into the future.

Next, we ran into friend, community activist and all-around good guy, Mel Lehan, who this day was proselytizing about the impending closure of the UBC farm, which he suggested was a completely wrongheaded move by the University of British Columbia Board of Governors, a university body seemingly more dedicated to untrammeled, for-profit condominium growth on campus than they are to the long term sustainability of campus life.

Once we signed the petition he had in his hands, VanRamblings was off once again to find a spot in front of the Main Stage, this time somewhat further back than was the case on Friday — we'll rectify that on Sunday, when we'll participate in the energizing morning run, in order to secure a spot fairly close to the Main Stage. Once we had secured our blanket, we were off to traipse around the grounds, both on and off the site.

We ran into Vancouver City Councillor Heather Deal (we apologize for the poor quality of the photo ... we're just getting used to our camera), a member of Vision Vancouver, and a candidate in the upcoming November 15th Vancouver municipal election. We chatted about the Flatlands, a large tract of land east of Main Street and west of Clark Drive.

We also got into a discussion about the deal with COPE (Deal figures it'll be an 8-2, split, with Vision taking 8, leaving COPE with 2 slots on the ballot). We touched on a number of municipal issues of mutual concern (e.g. housing), but we'll go into that another day (and, by the way, apologies to Ms. Deal for taking her picture — as badly as it turned out, VanRamblings hardly being expert in photography — without asking for prior permission).

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Okay. What about the Folk Festival, you ask? Enough of this political talk.

Hold steady, because we're going to post some YouTube video we shot on Saturday. We're novices at this video / YouTube thing, so bear with us.

As we traipsed around outside the Festival grounds proper, we were drawn back to the Festival site by Dubblestandart, who we heard almost a kilometre away from the site, playing a gig at Stage Five. This, through the fence, is what we saw and heard outside the gate, nearby Stage Five. So, we wandered inside the gates, to see and hear the end of the concert

As we headed back to our blanket we ran across a group of children frolicking in the sun, hula-hooping on the grass adjacent to Stage Four (we apologize for the grainy black and white quality of this video). By the time we headed over to catch a closer glimpse of Broken Social Scene's, Jason Collett, we had resolved our camera video conundrum, and shot this video of children at play, hula-hooping over by Stage 3, west of the Main Stage (that's Collett you hear in the background, by the way). Then we turned our attention to Jason Collett, the end of his set captured on video here.

We've also updated our Folk Festival weekend photo shoot, which we'll continue to add to over the weekend, and in the days to come.

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And as the day drew to a close, we returned to our blanket, changed into our long-sleeve, navy blue shirt and warming sweatshirt, and settled in for the remainder of the evening, for terrific sets by Abigail Washburn and The Sparrow Quartet featuring Bela Fleck, and our own Spirit of the West.

All and all, VanRamblings experienced a great day in the sun, the Folk Festival providing the soundtrack of our lives, an opportunity to meet and be with friends, and to enjoy ourselves within the safety, warmth and humanity of the 2008 Vancouver Folk Music Festival. And it was ever thus.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at July 20, 2008 12:42 AM in Folk Festival 2008


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