32nd Annual Mission Folk Music Festival is coming

The 32nd Annual Mission Folk Music Festival returns to the Fraser River Heritage Park in Mission, BC, July 26-28. 

The 2019 festival features an exceptional and diverse roster of artists from bringing sounds from around the world. From Celtic to Country, Fiddles to Folk, over 20 acts are slated to perform at both daytime stages and on the evening main stage in the Park overlooking the Fraser River, just east of Mission.

The Mission Folk Music Festival’s Artistic Director, Michelle Demers Shaevitz has put together a weekend that includes both familiar names, like headliners Michelle Wright, Élage Diouf, John Welsh & Los Valientes, plus scores of exciting new discoveries. Community Voices join the festivities, including a participatory Festival Choir.

The festival kicks off Friday night July 26 with a pay-what-you-can main stage concert featuring a selection of festival artists. Saturday and Sunday (July 27 and 28) sees music on three daytime stages and on the evening main stage. For the full festival artist line-up check out the online setlists.

In addition to the great music, there are both Food and Artisan Marketplace with a license bistro, and a Wee Folks areawith entertainment and activities aimed at the under 12s.

Single-Day, Weekend Passes or Camping Tickets for the Mission Folk Music Festival, are on sale online at missionfolkmusicfestival.ca or in person at Shoppers Drug Mart in the Mission Hills Plaza, 32530 Lougheed Hwy.  The Festival July 26 – 28, 2019 at the Fraser River Heritage Park in Mission, BC.

Luke Bryan asks What Makes You Country

What Makes You Country Tour – BC Place Stadium – October 13, 2018

This weekend, Luke Bryan‘s What Makes You Country Tour made a stop at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver.  The country superstar packed the tour with 4 other support acts, making it like a six hour country festival.  The dinner hour audience was warmed up by Carly Pearce, then Jon Pardi took the stage. In between sets, DJ Rock kept audiences energized and dancing.

Sam Hunt

Once Sam Hunt took the stage, the audience was filling the seats and the energy was filling BC Place to the roof.  The Georgia-born singer-songwriter was welcomed to the stage with a roar, in all-black outfit and ballcap, his swagger gave a hip-hop/pop vibe. Hunt led a singalong as he played his hits “Downtown’s Dead”, “Take Your Time”, “Body Like A Backroad”, “House Party”, and a mid-set Honky Tonk tribute to those country star he grew up listening to; Brooks & Dunn, The Dixie Chicks, Tim McGraw, Garth Brooks.  His easy country/rock style has crossover appeal and he worked the audience to make sure everyone was on the Sam Hunt bandwagon.

Luke Bryan

The stadium was packed and roaring as headliner Luke Bryan took the stage with “Country Girl (Shake is for me)” which definitely prompted a lot of Vancouver girls, and guys, to shake it for him.  The affable platinum-selling country superstar worked the whole stage reaching as many of the audience he could.  While it was noticeable that something was troubling Luke, and he mentioned suffering from local allergies, his vocals didn’t seem troubled at all. His charm and energy shone throughout the set, high-energy tracks balanced with sweet acoustic ballads. After a rousing cover of Alabama’s “Mountain Music”, Bryan slowed it down with the audience favourite “Drink A Beer”. “Play It Again” and appropriate for Vancouver “Rain Is A Good Thing” closed out the main set.

Audience Fave: Drink A Beer

Even for those of us who didn’t attend the whole 6 hours of performances,  Sam Hunt and Luke Bryan alone definitely left the audience satisfied.  The What Make You Country Tour has just two more dates, wrapping up nearly a year’s worth of shows, in Rochester and Detroit.


The Fratellis kicked off North American Tour

The Fratellis – Commodore Ballroom – April 26, 2018

Scottish act, The Fratellis flew into Vancouver to kick off their North American tour supporting their latest release, In Your Own Sweet Time. The fifth full length album by the Fratelli trio, brings an alt-country sound to the stage with a relaxed twang mixed with a Scottish burr.

The Commodore Ballroom was filled with a mix of fans from near and far as the opening act, Brighton’s Blood Red Shoes, warmed up the room.  The headliners made their way to the stage the audience was ready to hang on their every note.   Most Vancouver Canucks fans may have a distaste for the Scottish act responsible for the dreaded Chicago Blackhawks goal song, but they’re music is much more than the pop/punk sound of Chelsea Dagger, taken from their first release.

Jon Fratelli

Not ones for a lot of chatter, other than the odd greeting from lead singer/guitar Jon Fratelli, and a laugh at their jetleg caused gaffs.  The band lets the music speak for them, plugging away with song after song from their five albums, for the 90 minute set.  The Commodore fans were left satisfied with the return of The Fratellis and their first taste of what audiences around North America will experience in the month to come.

The Fratellis In Your Own Sweet Time Tour continues with dates around Canada and the US until wrapping May 22nd in Atlanta.

Texas Troubadours sing-along at Chan Centre

This week, the Chan Centre for Performing Arts held a hootenanny as a trio of Texas Troubadours – Ruthie Foster, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Carrie Rodriguez took the stage.

The Chan Centre’s stellar acoustics added to the simple staging and sounds of the award winning trio.  Starting off the evening, Carrie Rodriguez fiddled her way into the hearts of the audience with her folksy stories of growing up surrounded by musical influences of family and friends in Texas.  Her self-described “Ameri-Chicana” attitude, Spanglish lyrics and timeless melodies were vaguely reminiscent of Linda Ronstadt but at the same time fresh and new.  An old friend of her father, Jimmie Dale Gilmore brought his guitar to join Ms Rodriguez onstage for a duet, then took the reins for his own solo set.  A classic Texas troubadour’s voice, Gilmore’s country twang fed the audience some ‘down home’ country-folk sounds and jovial meandering stories.  Ruthie Foster joined Gilmore for one song, then displayed her own powerhouse voice for a few of her own numbers before Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Carrie Rodriguez returned for a group number before the interval.

Upon return to the stage, the second set was casual, impromptu feeling collection of tunes. Each singer lead the way with some of their own tunes, with the others joining in.  Like an old fashioned hootenanny or front porch sing-along, the audience was encouraged to join in on choruses and lend their voices whenever they felt the desire.  A great number of the audience took part and filled the Chan Centre like a country or gospel choir.  The mutual respect and admiration of the three performers was clearly evident as they supported and collaborated to the delight of the audience.

The Texas Troubadours continue to perform together and separately through the winter and spring.  Visit carrierodriguez.com, ruthiefoster.com and jimmiegilmore.com for more tour information.

Picks of the Week – Jan 4, 2017

Welcome to 2017!

Let’s hope for another year of great entertainment and activities happening around the region to fill our picks of the week …

Pucks: Vancouver Canucks get the year off with home games against Arizona on Wednesday and Calgary on Friday.

ChimChimCheree: It’s your last week to catch Disney’s Mary Poppins, held over until January 8th at the Arts Club Theatre Company’s Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage

New Wave: With a decades spanning career covering the best of British music, Midge Ure plays the Rickshaw Theatre on Wednesday evening

Punk: Actor, Author, DJ, Musician, Radio/TV Host Henry Rollins takes to the Vogue Theatre Stage, tonight Jan 4th

Photo: Emily Cooper

Stage: History comes to life in “And Bella Sang With Us” by Vancouver playwright Sally Stubbs, a play about Vancouver’s first female police constables. Playing at Firehall Arts Centre until Jan 14th.

Film: The Italian Film Festival begins on Friday, bringing a week of classic and new Italian cinema to the city

Country: A pair of award-winning Canadian country music artists, Tim Hicks and Chad Brownlee, share the stage  Saturday & Sunday at the Commodore Ballroom

Barney Bentall & The Cariboo Express 2016 Tour

Barney Bentall & The Cariboo Express are currently on the road for their annual charitable tor around Alberta and BC.

CaribooExpress2016-11-17-at-10-25-13-pmIn its 10 year history, the roadshow has raised over $500,000 to support local charities; like local food banks, Habitat for Humanity, Inner City Kids programs, and The Potluck Cafe here in Vancouver, the event that started it all.

The 2016 tour wraps up on November 26th at the Vogue Theatre in Vancouver.  The Cariboo Express line-up includes a regular cast of Barney Bentall, Ridley Bent, Dustin Bentall, Wendy Bird, Matt Masters, and the Gold Rush Allstars. To make each show a unique local experience, unannounced special guests often pop-up onstage.

The Barney Bentall & The Cariboo Express roadshow is back in our neck of the woods this week as it makes its way closer to the Vancouver finale

Catch the roadshow onstage at the following locations; 

Edward Milne Community Theatre.
Benefitting the Sooke Food Bank

Charlie White Theatre
Benefitting the Sidney Lions Food Bank

Fulford Hall.
Benefitting the Salt Spring Island Community Services Society Food Bank

NOVEMBER 24: Kelowna, BC
Delta Grand Okanagan
Benefitting the BC Farmers Nutrition Coupon Program

The Vogue Theatre
Presented by & Benefitting The Potluck Café Society

Tickets are on sale now and available from the venues.

Keith Urban – ripCORD World Tour Vancouver

Keith Urban – Rogers Arena – September 10, 2016

Saturday night in Vancouver, Keith Urban’s ripCORD world tour began its arena leg with multiple stops scheduled across Canada.  The Aussie country star is being joined on this leg by up and coming singer Maren Morris and hometown country/rock artist Dallas Smith.

Promptly at 7:30 JRFM’s Clay St Thomas welcomed the audience to Rogers Arena and Maren Morris took to the stage for a half hour set to warm up and launch the ripCORD world tour. The young star, belted out a number of tunes from her HERO album which made its debut in June 2016 as she joined Keith Urban’s tour.  Making her Canadian debut Maren thanked the support of Canadian country radio which pushed her single “My Church” to top 3.

DallasSmith_img_8374After a quick stage change, award-winning Dallas Smith hit the stage to a warm Vancouver welcome, as many had obviously come early to support the Langley BC native.  The former Default frontman, acknowledged his rock roots and demonstrated that his powerful voice can lend itself just as easily to hard power-rock as it does to rousing country.  With 5 full-length albums and EP, Smith has more than enough material for his near-hour long set.  The star related how this show brings his career in a sort of full-circle, in his Default days be remembered being backstage at Rogers Arena listening to Keith Urban before coming onstage and now here he was supporting him.

KeithUrban_img_8450The audience roared when Keith Urban burst to the stage, with Gone Tomorrow (Here Today) and heated up with Long Hot Summer.  The affable star’s performance crosses all genres, appealing to the country fans and rock lovers alike.  Keith Urban’s guitar skills and energy rocked the arena as he made his way through a two-hour set. While I can’t profess to being a big fan before the show, I came away a fan.  I was surprised how many of his songs were familiar to me, and even those that I didn’t know were carried by Urban’s buoyant energy and performance.  By the time the set got to the hit Days Go By,  the audience was fully dancing, singing and whooping it up all around the arena.  Maren Morris joined Urban for We Were Us, singing Miranda Lambert’s part on the duet. Carrie Underwood even made an appearance, albeit on video, during The Fighter.
Giving his backing band the spotlight, bandmates Nathan Barlowe and Jerry Flowers each sang for their intros.  To the unlikely beats of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky, Urban and band made their way to the second stage at the back of the arena where they were joined by Dallas Smith for Somebody Like You and Who Wouldn’t Wanna Be Me. KeithUrban_img_8468 The audience clearly wasn’t ready as the set came to a close and for that matter, the star himself seemed like his could go on playing all night.  Urban seemed genuinely appreciative of the audience, even going so far as bringing on member onstage to record a rendition of Happy Birthday on her phone for her youngster. Signing and giving away one of his performance guitars to another fan.  Then after all the singing was done he stayed onstage shaking hands and greeting the audience around the stage.  It’s no wonder, everyone I spoke to who had seen Keith Urban shows in the past spoke so highly of the experience.

The ripCORD World Tour continues in arenas across western Canada through September before moving into the US and Oceania until the year-end.