Woman-powered acts rock the mainstage at Folk Fest

By Loose Lips Mag

The Vancouver Folk Music Fest is older than a handful of its fans, but that won’t stop the annual fete from sharing some of its birthday bounty.

Celebrating its 40th year in action, the Jericho Beach-based music festival will be blowing out the candles with a free first evening of songs. Yup, we said Free (with a capital F).

Kicking off Thursday, July 13 and partying through the weekend, the Vancouver Folk Music Festival outdoes itself once again with an all-star line up – including some fierce women on the mainstage. We can’t wait to indulge in the sonic sass.

Cold Specks

This compelling, soulful-voiced Canadian singer is now wisened in her art, but she was fresh with the release of her 2012 debut recording, I Predict a Graceful Expulsion. Beyond the sheer power of her voice, she was the foremost proponent of doom soul back then – her phrase to describe the fusion of sparse folk and gothic gospel she’s crafted.

Cold Specks performs the Vancouver Folk Music Festival mainstage on Friday, July 14

Shawn Colvin

Shawn’s most recent solo endeavour, Uncovered (Fantasy Records, 2015), is the long-awaited follow up to fan-favourite Cover Girl. But for those who just remember “Sunny Came Home” from her late-’90s hit record A Few Small Repairs, you’re in for a treat. In June 2016, she united with Steve Earle to release Colvin & Earle, a true standout in careers already filled with pinnacles and masterpieces.

Shawn Colvin plays the Vancouver Folk Music Festival mainstage on Sunday, July 16.

Kathleen edwards

This isn’t Kathleen Edwards’ first Vancouver Folk Music Festival, in fact this Ottawa musician took the main stage in 2013, singing to an audience eager for her alt-folk, country, roots rock sound, the dusty silk of her voice, her gobby wit, and her abilities as a lyrical sharpshooter. Since then, she took a small hiatus to start up her Ontario-based coffee shop aptly named Coffee For Quitters.

Kathleen Edwards performs the Vancouver Folk Music Festival mainstage on Saturday, July 15.

Rhiannon Giddens

The elegant bearing, prodigious voice, and fierce spirit that brought the NYC audience to its feet that night, and audiences around the world since, was also abundantly evident on Giddens’ Grammy-nominated solo debut album, “Tomorrow Is My Turn”. It has become abundantly clear that Rhiannon Giddens is taking her place as a peerless and powerful voice in roots music, and her appearance at Folk Fest festival is to be eagerly, enthusiastically,  breathlessly anticipated.

Rhiannon Giddens performs the Vancouver Folk Music Festival on Friday, July 14.

Linda Saddleback

Unfortunately not a mainstage act, but Linda Saddleback performs as part of Native North America: A Gathering of Indigenous Trailblazers, which will feature live performances of poetry and storytelling. Includes her cohorts Duke Redbird, Willie Thrasher, Willy Mitchell, Lloyd Cheechoo, and Gordon Dick Sr.

Aoife O’Donovan & Noam Pikelny

With her ethereal voice and substantive songwriting, Aoife O’Donovan captivates fans and critics alike. This time around, she’s playing as one-half of a duo with Grammy-nominated banjoist Noam Pikelny. Watch them below. I mean, enough said.

Aoife O’Donovan & Noam Pikelny perform the Vancouver Folk Music Festival mainstage on Saturday, July 15.

Kristi Alexandra is an unabashed wino and wannabe musician. Her talents include drinking an entire bottle of cabernet sauvignon, singing in the bathtub, and falling asleep.