Staging a first-ever music festival is always tricky, not least of which is the matter of securing talent.
Nellie Quinn has found that out during the formative stages of the inaugural Folk ‘N Fiddle Festival, but she’s thrilled with the musicians, bands and other performers who have committed to the event, slated for May 31 and June 1 in Sidney.
As artistic director, she’s worked tirelessly to bring in a solid cross-section of entertainers for the two evenings and Saturday daytime program.
“I feel like we have a little bit of everything at this festival,” says Quinn, an active musician and current president of the Victoria Fiddle Society. “I’m really excited that we have people coming from the States, from up North, Cape Breton Island and across a good chunk of North America.”
To be sure, there’s a broad combination of talented acts due to hit the stages at the Mary Winspear Centre and Sidney Bandshell.
|Adam Dobres, left, and Pierre Schryer combine to perform multiple times at the inaugural Folk ‘N Fiddle Festival in Sinday at the end of May. Photo contributed|
The Friday night gala concert (7:30 p.m.) at the Winspear Centre is headlined by legendary U.S. bluegrass duo, violinist Darol Anger and mandolinist Mike Marshall, who are supported by Victoria folk trio West My Friend, and Canadian blues/jazz singer (and ukulele player) Coco Love Alcorn.
A free warmup show at the bandshell features The Sweet Lowdown at 5 p.m., followed by the guitar fiddle duo of Pierre Schryer and Adam Dobres.
“It’s nice to have the music there, then people can just walk on up to the Mary Winspear Centre for the next concert,” Quinn says.
Saturday’s activities start at 10 a.m. and include numerous family friendly events. They include everything from Lil’Wat Nation hoop dancer Alex Wells and Irish step dancers, to fiddle and folk instrumental workshops (reservations needed) with some of the festival entertainers and pop-up musical performances around Sidney.
The action continues in the late afternoon at the Bodine Hall with the Cross-Canada Family Barn Dance, with Cape Breton fiddler Troy McGillivray joining Trish and Jeff Horrocks from Nanaimo, and Victoria fiddling guru Daniel Lapp and Adrien Dolan joining forces with multi-talented fiddler/dancer Stephanie Cadman.
The show is expected to go late, with bands like The Wilds and Tiller’s Folly in the mix, while the finale act is Electric Timber Company, a popular eight-piece R&B/folk band from Victoria that Quinn hopes will appeal to a younger audience.
“We’ve tried to schedule it so you can take part in as many things as possible in the festival,” she says, noting that many free activities take place Saturday during the day at the Winspear Centre.
To purchase tickets visit folknfiddle.ca/tickets online, call 250-656-0275 or stop by the Winspear box office, where you can also reserve a spot in the workshops. For more information about the festival or workshops, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SUNDAY FUNDRAISER CONCERT: If you want to get the jump on things, the Victoria Folk Music Society, one of the sponsors of the festival, is hosting a festival fundraiser concert April 28, starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Norway House on Hillside Avenue. The performers include Daniel Cook, Coastline with Ivonne Hernandez, Eden Oliver from West My Friend, Daniel Lapp and the Victoria School of Irish Dance.
Tickets are $7 at the door and free for those 16-under. Find more about the society at victoriafolkmusic.ca.