Check out the new performance t-shirts!
Below is John’s editorial from the August issue of The Bulletin:
My neck is sun burnt, my legs ache, and my back hurts . . . all in all, it was a successful weekend! I spent July 18, 19 and 20 at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival—an event that I have been a part of for going on 30 years, first as an audience member, then as a performer, and lately as co-coordinator (with Amy) of the children’s area. This year, Chibi Taiko—the youth taiko group that our daughters Emiko and Kaya belong to—performed there for the first time, playing a set Saturday morning on the kid’s area stage. For most members of the group, it was just another performance; for my kids and me, it had special meaning. Emi and Kaya have grown up attending two festivals every summer—the Powell Street Festival on the BC Day long weekend and, a few weeks earlier, the Vancouver Folk Music Festival. The former connects them to their Nikkei community and heritage, the latter connects them to a different kind of community. From the outside, to those who have never attended the Folk Festival, it can seem like nothing more than an exotic mélange of aging hippies, pierced, tattooed youths and assorted other anti-establishment types squatting in the dirt in front of small stages to listen to music that would never be heard anywhere else outside of the CBC. It is all those things, but it is also something much harder to explain to the uninitiated. It is, for three nights and two days, a place where the outside world goes into soft focus, where garbage and ads are at a bare minimum, where it’s safe to let your kids wander off clutching a twenty-dollar bill, where people pick up after themselves, where doctors and daycare workers share the same patch of earth (and often wearing the same t-shirt). It is a place where star power has little or no currency, where musicians and volunteers line up for the same food served on reusable plates and use the same porta-potties.