Islands Folk Fest a ‘treasured’ tradition in Cowichan Valley for 33 years

Islands Folk Fest a 'treasured' tradition in Cowichan Valley for 33 years

WATCH: The Cowichan Valley became the heart and soul of folk music this weekend. Ceilidh Millar reports. 

The soothing sounds of folk music drew hundreds to the Cowichan Valley this weekend for the 33rd Annual Islands Folk Festival.

“We have such an abundance of amazing acts on the Island,” said first-time artistic director Kelly Nakatsuka. “I really wanted to represent the Islands all around the South Coast and feature Indigenous performers.”

The homegrown event attracted more than 40 international and local acts including Brentwood Bay’s own Patrick M’Gonigle with The Lonely Heartstring Band from Boston.

“There’s all types of music here,” explained M’Gonigle. “It really feels like a real part of a community here.”

The festival lineup included The Bills, Supaman, Craig Cardiff, Big Little Lions and The Kerplunks.

The annual event has been held at Providence Farm in Duncan for more than three decades. The farm’s unique setting makes for a picturesque backdrop for the performances.

“There’s a very long-standing and special relationship between the festival and the farm” explained Nakatsuka.

Nakatsuka said in recent years they’ve had as many as 2,000 festival attendees.

“There’s so much music going on all the stages,” said festival goer Hannah Torok-both. “I’ve only ever been to the folk fest a few times but has grown so much.”

“It’s the basics and not overly complicated,” explained attendee Logan Swain. “It’s simple and it’s just pure music.”

Aini Sun commented on all the “wonderful musicians” who took part in the festival.

With activities for the whole family, the three-day event is a treasured time each year for many.

“It has such a beautiful legacy here on the Island,” said Nakatsuka. “It’s treasured by the community here in the Cowichan Valley.”

The festival wraps up on Sunday but folk fans are marking the next one on their calendars.


Ceilidh MillarCeilidh Millar

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