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2008 Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Wrap Up


Sunday was the best day — weather-wise, music-wise and otherwise — of a spectacular three-day weekend, at the 31st annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival. Everything fell nicely into place, and a good time was had by all.

Although the 2008 Folk Fest was a Festival quite obviously in a year of transition, with interim artistic director Linda Tanaka holding the fort while the Folk Fest Board of Directors figures out where to take the Festival in future years, and what the nature of the presumed 'corporate funding' will be, thanks to uncommonly great weather and what appeared to be the largest turn out by families in some years, Festival staff would have to consider this to be one of the more successful Festivals of recent years.

True to form, VanRamblings continued to be a pest to political types, on Sunday focusing our attention on lawyer and community activist Ruth Herman, and her beloved, Vancouver-Kensington MLA David Chudnovsky; COPE internal chairperson Donalda Greenwell-Baker; former Vancouver City Child and Youth Advocate, Penny Parry, and her beloved, former COPE Councilor and current COPE Board member, Tim Louis; and to top (bottom?) the day out, NPA mayoral candidate, Peter Ladner, who was querulous (in a quiet way) that we took the time to shake his hand, and wish him well (cuz he knows we're hardly a supporter of his ... he was probably wondering why we bothered to approach him at all — but, heck, it was Folk Festival weekend, and a time for peace, love and understanding).

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VanRamblings was most impressed with Mr. Chudnovsky and Ms. Herman.

Although we agreed not to report out on the specifics of our conversation, both felt strongly that the 8-2 Vision Vancouver / COPE deal is hardly a fait accompli, and that there is every prospect that the deal might be 7-3, or even 6-4. Of all the political types in COPE (of which both are longstanding members), and Vision Vancouver, only Chudnovsky and Herman expressed hope for a 'workable deal' between the two civic parties that serves the interests of progressive forces in the City of Vancouver, and by extension, the people of Vancouver, and the entirety of the Metro Vancouver region.

But politics aside, it wasn't the discussion of the specific machinations of the municipal political scene that most impressed VanRamblings, it was ...

  • The passion that Chudnovsky and Herman brought to the conversation.

    Rarely has VanRamblings found in recent years, individuals who were as willing as were Chudnovsky and Herman to express themselves so respectfully, yet so passionately, about their belief in a 'better society', and how we, together, can work toward the achievement of that goal.

    While most of our generation talk in platitudes, or go out of our way not to offend, during the course of our 20-minute conversation, Chudnovsky and Herman were, at all times, vibrant, hopeful, and ardent in expressing themselves, yet always respectful and willing to listen and respond.

  • Even more impressive was the respect Chudnovsky and Herman expressed for one another. Chudnovsky consistently deferred to Herman (when the occasion arose, and the moment appropriate) to hear her point of view on any given subject. The two were as loving and respectful as any couple we have ever witnessed. Both were passionate, both were respectful.

    Any marriage is a negotiation. If the relationship that Herman and Chudnovsky have developed over the years is any indication of the respect that both bring to the political process, just by their very example, both of these individuals have much good to offer to all of us.

VanRamblings will post soon on the remaining conversations we had Folk Fest weekend with Greenwell-Baker, Louis and Parry, and Ladner.

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Okay, finally, to the wrap-up of the 2008 Vancouver Folk Music Festival.

The 2008 Folk Fest was very much a family event, as has been the case for many years.

From the children playing with hula-hoops, to the kids blowing bubbles, to parents helping their children to learn to ride a unicycle, and a first-rate and renewed Children's Stage at this year's Fest, the 2008 Vancouver Folk Music Festival was the place to be for families Folk Festival weekend.

Of course, there was something going on for everyone.

From the small stage concerts — like the rousing Saturday afternoon concerts by DNA6 and Dubblestandart, to the quietening Sunday morning concert with Maeve McKinnon, from the triumphant return of Ferron on Stage 3 early Sunday afternoon, to Kunaka on the Little Folks stage and Outlaw Social on Stage 5, there was, indeed, something for everyone.

We missed virtuouso fiddler and step dancer, Ontario-based April Verch, but fortunately parts of her performance were caught in the preceeding videos. We'll read our programme more closely next year, and do some 'Net searching about the artists, much in advance of our attendance at next summer's Folk Festival. Hopefully, Ms. Verch will make it back to Vancouver soon, or for the sure-to-be-glorious 2009 Vancouver Folk Music Festival.

And to wrap things up for the weekend, late on a spectacular west coast Sunday evening, Michael Franti and Spearhead brought the crowd to their feet, here and here, here, here, and, in this Main Stage video, here.

Here's VanRamblings' photo diary of the 2008 Vancouver Folk Music Festival. Let's hope the Folk Fest continues to triumph long into the future.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at July 23, 2008 8:49 AM in Folk Festival 2008


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