You can never rely on the weather for the Vancouver Folk Music Festival but you could always be sure of the impeccable main-stage sound. Simon Garber, the man behind the mixing since the inaugural event in 1978, passed away in late May.
Garber also mixed for the festival’s year-round concerts, and was instrumental in other aspects of the organization. He engineered albums for countless Canadian artists as well as international figures like Utah Phillips, Dave Van Ronk, and Frankie Armstrong.
“In 1984, during the war in El Salvador, Si went to the capital city and recorded a concert there, Live from El Salvador, which was released in the U.S.,” VFMF board member and longtime colleague Jack Schuller recalled to the Straight. “Si loved live music, and working with people on the Downtown Eastside especially. Two of his favourite festivals were Heart of the City and Powell Street. He helped a lot of musicians document their work. Back in the day of X-Acto–knife editing he cut down to a single note, and he always shared his knowledge and skills with interested young people. Si loved the folk festival, and when he knew he’d be too weak to be there this year he met with us with suggestions to make things even better.”
The VFMF main-stage sound booth will now be known as ‘Garberville’.