Funky Mission Folk Music Festival turns 25
With the Mission Folk Music Festival’s silver anniversary taking place from July 19 to 22, we had only one question for artistic director Francis Xavier Edwards: how has this adventurous and eclectic event survived 25 years in the Fraser Valley?
“It’s a mystery to me,” Edwards told the Straight. “But part of it is because it’s in Mission. And Mission, of all the places in the Fraser Valley, is probably what I would call the funkiest.…You don’t have to be a sociologist to know, when you cross the Mission bridge, that there’s a big difference between Mission and, say, Abbotsford.”
Edwards also noted that the festival’s riverfront locale has been a venue for cultural exchange since precolonial days. Coast Salish tribes used it as a trading centre long before it was pre-empted by steamboat captains, railroad men, and the Catholic outpost that gave the town its name.
This, of course, makes it an entirely appropriate venue for a four-day showcase of performers from “six continents and seven seas”. The festival’s lineup was announced mid-May, with Celtic and Scandinavian acts well represented, along with musicians from Chad, Cameroon, Turkey, and Brazil. And while veteran songwriters Buffy Sainte-Marie and David Francey are the biggest names, many of the relative unknowns promise to be just as stellar.
For more festival information, visit the Mission Folk Music Festival website