July 13, 2023 edition - Your Folk Fest need-to-know

Plus wildfire season, a shotgunning mayor, queer arts collective, and more


Vancouver is, in our humble opinion, one of the best cities in the world for outdoor shows.

From concerts at Deer Lake Park and Malkin Bowl to Shakespearian performances at the aptly-named Bard on the Beach, multi-stage street parties like Khatsahlano to pop-up raves at Third Beach, it comes as no surprise that open-air music and arts events thrive during a Vancouver summer.

And no event epitomizes that sentiment more than the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, which kicks off this weekend after a somewhat tumultuous turn of events saw it called off, and then revived, earlier this year.

We’ve got your go-to guide for all things Folk Fest at the top of this week’s newsletter, meaning you’ll be able to fully enjoy one of this city’s most picturesque outdoor festivals.

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Your guide to the 2023 Vancouver Folk Music Festival

One of Vancouver's favourite music festivals is happening this weekend.

Vancouver Folk Music Festival will be taking over Jericho Beach Park from July 14 to 16, with the three-day event featuring 50+ performers, four stages, dozens of workshops, and countless vendors to make for a memorable weekend of music and art.

We connected with organizers and musicians in the lead-up to the performances to give you an in-depth look at what this year's Folk Music Festival has in store.


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“I’m afraid of summer now:” Vancouver is in dire need of proper ventilation

By the end of June, more than 76,000 square-kilometres of Canada had burned in wildfires—a new annual record.

Smoke has blanketed Ottawa, Calgary, and New York City, and more than 100 fires blazed in BC alone.

Climate change induced wildfires are causing a health crisis of poor air quality—and in Vancouver its effects are most acutely felt by disabled people, people living in poverty, or other marginalized groups.


How grassroots queer arts collectives spark community joy

Dimple Takhtani found Vancouver pretty lonely when they moved to the city in 2020. It was the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, after all. The gender non-conforming media artist decided to put what they wanted to see out into the world, and started the Queer Art Exchange as a digital place for people to share their creative work.

“I didn’t know any queer poets, and it was a pandemic, and it was hard to hit up open mics,” the artist, who goes by Nhylar, tells the Straight over the phone. “I started a virtual page, and then it turned into a virtual community and became a virtual art showcase.”

Recently the collective hosted a Sunday Chillin’ day in Jonathan Rogers Park that included crafting, a pop-up market, and a clothing swap—creating artsy real-world spaces for queer people to hang out and produce art together.


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What's In Your Fridge: Shari Ulrich

What’s In Your Fridge is where the Straight asks interesting Vancouverites about their life-changing concerts, favourite albums, and, most importantly, what’s sitting beside the Heinz ketchup in their custom-made Big Chill Retropolitan 20.6-cubic-foot refrigerators.


From a cappella to zydeco, world beats to blues, ballads and more, the Vancouver Folk Music Festival starts July 14, at Jericho Beach Park. Come experience a scintillating slice of global music and culture. It’s a weekend of your favourite tunes and exciting new discoveries. Get your tickets today.


Commentary: Ken Sim shotgunning a beer highlights hypocrisy of what substances we’re “cool” with

Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim was seen shotgunning a beer on-stage at Khatsahlano Street Party with two other men this past weekend.

Clad in aviator shades, a LOVE UNITES Adidas jersey, and chino shorts, the 52-year-old bagel mogul did a great imitation of a man half his age. The kicker: a voice on the loudspeaker caps it off with, “Who says Vancouver is no fun?”

It’s hard to imagine having such a warm reception if Sim had got up on stage and done a bump of cocaine—or dropped acid—or consumed any of the drugs currently banned under Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances act. And yet, alcohol is also an addictive substance.

🗓 Events & things to do


  • is it as it is by Ali Bosley: The Burrard Arts Foundation is showcasing an exhibition from local artist Ali Brosley from June 29 to August 12, with an installation being viewable from the street. | To Aug. 12 | Pay what you can $10+ | Burrard Arts Foundation

  • 35th Annual Dancing on the Edge Festival: The festival will include a presentation of over 30 extraordinary dance productions in live stage performances showcasing artists from across Canada. | To July 15 | $20+ | Firehall Arts Centre

  • Salsa Dancing at The Amazing Brentwood: Get your salsa on at The Amazing Brentwood as part of its summer programming on its outdoor plaza. | Wednesdays from July 12 to Aug. 2 | Free | The Amazing Brentwood Plaza

  • Theatre Under the Stars returns to Stanley Park from Jul. 6, until Aug. 26, with Broadway blockbusters The Prom and Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical.*

This week/weekend

  • Rhythm Infinitum: Shabazz Palaces & Sarathy Korwar: Catch a performance by Shabazz Palaces and Sarathy Korwar as part of the 13th annual Indian Summer Festival. | July 13 | $30+ | Chan Centre for the Performing Arts

  • Louise Burns at the Fox Cabaret: Producer and songwriter Louise Burns performs songs from her new album Element with special guests Devours and Matías Roden. | July 13 | $15 | Fox Cabaret

  • Rocket & Roll Drag Night: Drag and space come together for a night of star-lit starlets at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre during its all-ages drag night. | July 13 | $20 | H.R. MacMillan Space Centre

  • The Space Ball: An In-ter-GAY-lactic Cabaret: Dandy the Dandroid explores the far reaches of the galaxy and finds sexy astronauts, other worldly spectacles, and an alien or two that knows how to party. | July 15 | $30 | Rio Theatre

  • The Truck Stop Concert Series is bringing the heat on July 15, with headliner Drake White & The Big Fire, and an epic country lineup!*

Next week

  • Studio Ghibli Forever! From Up on Poppy Hill: Written by Hayao Miyazaki and directed by his son Goro, the movie tells the story of a lonely high school girl who becomes involved in the fight to save a dilapidated boys’ club house. | July 16 to 17 | $15 | Vancity Theatre

  • Sunday Afternoon Salsa at Robson Square: Sunday Afternoon Salsa is an annual series of free community events which begin with a free salsa dance lesson followed by social dancing and dance performances. | July 16 to Aug. 20 | Free | Robson Square

  • New Moon Women's Circle: This workshop will guide you through a series of mindfulness exercises, supportive group work, manifestation practices, breathwork, intention setting, and journal prompts, all designed to help you align with your desires. | July 18 | $60 | 1495 Richards Street

  • Follow Your Folk to the Mission Folk Music Festival, July 21-23 in Fraser River Heritage Park. Brilliant music, on-site camping, shady Bistro, shopping and more!*

Later this month

  • Mavi: The American rapper from Charlotte, North Carolina will be in Vancouver for a performance at the Cobalt. | July 25 | $25 | Cobalt

  • Caribbean Days Festival is back July 29-30 at Coquitlam’s Town Centre Park. Two days of tropical rhythms, carnival, cuisine, and culture. All ages, free of charge.*

  • Celebrate Pride at Parq! Rooftop Vogue Jam, Drag Brunch, Trailblazing Queens, and more. Parq is a proud partner of Vancouver Pride. Get your tickets today!*

Next month

  • MRG Live Presents: JVKE: JVKE got big over the pandemic on TikTok, and is bringing his tunes to Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre this August. | Aug. 3 | $35+ | Vogue Theatre

Find more things to do around the city in our events listings.

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