Harrison Festival to celebrate the best in Canadian roots music

All-Canadian Harrison Memorial Hall concerts series begins this weekend

The 39th Harrison Festival of the Arts will be celebrating the land and peoples of Canada this year, with a strong representation of performers from across the country, and from a range of cultural communities from coast to coast to coast.

“The Harrison Festival has always aimed to have a lineup that includes mostly Canadian performers, alongside international representation,” says artistic director Andy Hillhouse.

“This year is particularly Canadian in focus. Our hall show lineup this year is entirely Canadian, which is unusual. Artists are coming to the festival from the breadth of Canada, from north, south, east, and west.”

The festival will have a strong B.C. orientation, including Vancouver roots music performers Buckman Coe, Coco Jafro, Cuban-Nigerian fusion Kokoma, and Ukrainian-Canadian group Zeellia.

Performing in the Memorial Hall on Sunday, July 16 will be West African guitarist Alpha Yaya Diallo, who played at Harrison Festival on his first tour to British Columbia from Guinea in the 1980s.

Other B.C. performers in the Memorial Hall include renowned guitarist/songwriter Stephen Fearing from Victoria, Juno winning husband and wife old time duo Pharis and Jason Romero from Horsefly, and silver-voiced Cuban singer Adonis Puentes, who will be performing with his Voice of Cuba Orchestra on Friday, July 14. This latter performance should be quite special, as it will include Adonis’s father Valentin Puentes, who is a well known musician in Cuba, and will be visiting especially for this performance.

The Canadian program reaches well beyond B.C. Two aboriginal Yukon-based performers, singer songwriter Diyet and Gwitch’in fiddler Boyd Benjamin, will bring sounds of the north, while east coast musicians Coig, from Cape Breton, and powerhouse folk rock group Hillsburn, from Halifax, will take listeners to the other side of the country.

In the hall, Saturday, July 15, the spectacular Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra represents the playful, cosmopolitan spirit of Montreal, and traditional fiddle/guitar duo Yann Falquet and Pascal Gemme will delve into more rural traditional Quebecois music, played sweetly and tastefully.

From the prairies, Alberta-born aboriginal creative cellist Cris Derksen combines grooves and loops with plains dancing in a fusion of the traditional and contemporary, and The Small Glories from Winnipeg bring traditional folk sensibilities and a rock energy together in a small but powerful package.

Finally, we can’t forget the great musical metropolis of Toronto, which brings us Columbian/Canadian artist Beny Esguerra and New Tradition, as well as one of the most recognizable names of this year’s lineup, blues artist Colin Linden.

For a look at the full festival lineup and schedule, please visit the festival website at harrisonfestival.com.

The early bird deadline for individual tickets and passes is June 23 and is approaching fast. Tickets can be purchased through the website, by phone at 604-796-3664, or in person at the Ranger Station Art Gallery. Follow the Festival on Social Media for chances to win your way into the festival too.

About the Harrison Festival Society

Known worldwide for its professional artistry and small town hospitality, the Harrison Festival Society has long been a beacon for growing acceptance of diversity and purpose-fuelled programming. Each July for more than 35 years the society has produced the internationally acclaimed Harrison Festival of the Arts, a nine-day, cross-disciplinary, multicultural art event set amidst the small town atmosphere and breathtaking scenery of Harrison Hot Springs.

A charitable non-profit, grass-roots organization, the society also presents an annual season of the performing arts from September to May and works closely with a number of Fraser Valley partners in continuing to bring high quality, inclusive and accessible performing arts into the area.

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