Performers

Vancouver Island MusicFest 2021 virtual broadcast schedule: Click here 

Friday, July 9 @ 7 pm – 11 pm
Saturday, July 10 @ noon – 11 pm
Sunday, July 11 @ 11 am  – 9 pm

Special Sessions Include

A session curated by very special guest,  Anishinaabee singer/songwriter Leonard Sumner. Leonard picked some of his favourite Performers from across the country including:

Evan Redsky
Silla & Rise
Leonard Sumner
Fawn Wood
Wyatt C. Louis
Caley Watts

Island Blues session with:

Doug Cox
Shawn Hall (The Harpoonist)
Angel Forrest and Denis Columbus
Rick May
David Vest
Phil Wipper

BettySoo & the Texas Writers including:

BettySoo
Diana Burgess
Bill Kirchen
Curtis McMurtry
Bonnie Whitmore

Postcards From Scotland
features a variety of artists who introduce us to their country and their music. Performers include:

Blue Rose Code
Eabhal
Elephant Sessions
Fara
Gnoss
Iona Fyfe
Niteworks
Ryan Young
Skerryvore
The Jellyman’s Daughter
The Outside Track
Zoë Bestel

Linden is a genuine renaissance man of roots music. He’s a singer and songwriter of great skill, an in-demand and prolific record producer ( Bruce Cockburn, Tom Wilson, Colin James), a sideman to the stars as guitarist for the likes of Bruce Cockburn, Emmylou Harris, and Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, and, for the past decade, a member of the highly successful trio, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings.

There are entertainment legends, and then there is Tom Jackson, a triple-threat actor, musician, and activist whose achievements in each discipline are downright head-spinning.  His career is unparalleled, not to mention wildly acclaimed, abundantly decorated, and almost ridiculously interesting.

William Prince approaches the big questions with humility and curiosity. Prince’s influences, from the gospel of his childhood to the pantheon of classic outlaw country singers, baseball and the great beyond, shape his approach to songcraft, a masterclass in skillful simplicity.

Every generation or so, a young bluesman bursts onto the scene and sends a jolt through the blues community.  24-year-old Grammy nominee Jontavious Willis may just have that effect on people. This gifted musician delivers dynamic vocals and all types of blues: Delta, Piedmont, Texas, and Gospel. His stand-out fingerpicking, flat-picking, and slide prowess are also on display.

Marc Atkinson is one of Canada’s finest JUNO-nominated, Western Canadian award-winning musicians. He is the leader and composer of the internationally renowned Marc Atkinson Trio (and co-founder, composer and performer in the acclaimed, The Bills). The music of this virtuosic group is melodically captivating, sensually charged and ferociously, technically awe-inspiring.

After years of writing songs while making a living as a musical stand-up comedian in the UK, Helen Austin’s move to Canada in 2002 was the catalyst for her musical career. Her music, both solo and as the duo, has won many awards including a JUNO Award and John Lennon Song Writing Competition Song of the Year.

Ethereal vocals, poignant melodies and stirring lyrics describes award winning nu-folk singer/songwriter and musician, Zoë Bestel, hailed as one of the countries most exciting emerging talents. 

Blue Rose Code is Edinburgh-born songwriter Ross Wilson. At the edge of contemporary alt-folk, Wilson’s music evokes a meeting of Van Morrison and a young John Martyn.

Diana Burgess is a cellist, educator and composer based in Austin, TX. Diana holds a Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance at UT Austin and focuses primarily on writing, performing, touring and collaborating with artists in a variety of genres.

Gordon Carter is a rare breed in this world. He writes from the heart and writes about his local heritage and homeland. He is the kind of songwriter that defies time.

There are world musicians, and there are musicians of the world. In the case of Doug Cox, this extremely talented composer/multi-instrumentalist happens to be both.

As a young bluesman, this devotee of bottleneck slide guitar had a life transformation when he first picked up the Dobro. That eerie, slightly plangent music resonated deep in his soul and changed everything.

Dirt Road Opera’s journey began back in 2016 when they were inspired to start writing and recording an album of their own. Dirt Road Opera solidified its core when Jim Ryan became the third member of the trio. Rachel and Barry’s voices have always had that special “thing” when they sing together and Jim’s third part brings it all home.

Liam Docherty may be only 14 years old, but he’s already garnering attention from the Canadian blues establishment. The young Qualicum Beach, B.C.-based singer-songwriter has been nominated for the New Artist of the Year category in the Maple Blues Awards, which recognize the best blues musicians across the country.

Eabhal came together while based in the Scottish Outer Hebrides. Alongside traditional songs, contemporary and self-penned tunes, the band draws influence from other musical cultures and unites them with in their music.

 

Annie Handley and Dave Devindisch are talented multi-instrumentalists who can “make that song their own” like no other duo.  They put their own jazzy spin on everything from musical standards of the 1940s, to current pop hits. Annie’s sultry, soft, voice, and rhythm guitar and Dave’s harmonies, upright bass guitar licks, and comedic antics will leave you wanting one more set.  

Creating a progressive blend of intricate tunes, engulfing guitars, with a bass and drum heavy backline, their music combines the very best of trad, funk and electronica resulting in a new and exciting sound.

FARA brings together four leading musicians at the forefront of today’s Scottish folk scene. The all-female folk quartet Fara hailed from the Orkney Islands off the north-eastern tip of Scotland, a close-knit community whose strong Norse heritage has produced a unique and rich culture and musical tradition.

Tammylynn Filgate fills venues with her awesome and soulful voice. Singing at age 6 with dad started playing guitar at 12, she started performing and writing songs at age 14. She performed at the semi-finals of the BC talent search 2016 and performed at the Cloverdale rodeo and the Vancouver Island Music Festival in previous years.

In 1988, Angel Forrest began a musical career that would span over three decades – and counting. Her first album, Secondhand Blues, featured several classics. The energetic vocalist’s work immediately gained attention from critics and new fans. Her tribute show to the legendary Janis Joplin brought Angel into the public eye. The live performance was immortalized on her Angel Sings Janis Live album. Angel will be performing with her amazing partner Denis Columbus.

Denis Columbus will be performing with his amazing partner Angel Forrest.

Corwin Fox is a Canadian songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist living on Vancouver Island.  Having toured across four continents, Corwin has been spending an increasing amount of time recording and producing other artists across a wide range of genres. He still plays concerts and festivals performing his songs on banjo and guitar, and he teaches song writing to youth each summer, but the studio has really become his focus since he founded the Corwin Fox Academy of Perpetual Excellence. Corwin is also playing with Richard Reed Parry’s Quiet River of Dust. 

Aberdeenshire folksinger, Iona Fyfe, has become one of Scotland’s finest young ballad singers, rooted deeply in the singing traditions of the North East of Scotland.

Gnoss’ signature sound is a rich tapestry of acoustic layers; outstanding musicianship, deep traditional roots and contemporary compositional flair combine to create songs and tunes brimming with character.

As half of the Juno Award winning duo The Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer, Shawn Hall learned early that many of life’s hardest experiences can transcend themselves thru music. “The blues is life, its guts, its lusts, its losses, grief, and redemption.”

Kentucky Eileen is a new folk quartet born from the bush in the South Interior of BC. This quartet takes traditional American folk and bluegrass and gives it a supremely Canadian flavour – sonically akin to The Band. They are all multi-instrumentalists, experienced storytellers, and storied entertainers – prepared to bring you a spectacular show.

From performing with his Who Knows Pickers jug band in Ann Arbor High School’s senior talent show, to birthing the Americana genre with the original “hippie country band,” Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen, this affable Austinite has been everywhere, man, flying alongside some of the planet’s coolest cats — including the Jesus of Cool, Nick Lowe, and Lowe’s old protégé, Elvis Costello.

Donna’s roots in Western Canada stretch from her home on Vancouver Island to the wide landscape of Alberta. With a rodeo cowboy for a father, who played guitar and sang, she couldn’t help but soak up some of the old style country in her songs.

As a songwriter Donna’s unique style of folk music reveals her prairie roots, and embraces the modern sensibilities of the coastal landscape. She’s done her part to maintain the frailing banjo style, but also plays a guitar during performances.

Consisting of both lead vocalist Kevin Roy and instrumentalist/vocalist Jon Fennell, L∞PS have been playing together for 2 years. Based out of Kamloops, BC, they mix unique covers, with original songs in an Acoustic/Piano based style.

Wyatt C. Louis is a Cree-Métis folk singer-songwriter based in Moh’kinstsís (Calgary). He has made an impact on the eclectic city with songs built from soaring melodies, railroad-like finger picking and quiet, haunting vocals and lyrical phrasing.

British Columbia born folk singer/songwriter John McLachlan’s original folk songs are hand-woven from his own roots, and the history and salty air of Canada’s west coast. 

He began performing in folk clubs in Vancouver in 1979 and for 20 years he presented his original songs in hundreds of theatres, festivals, clubs and schools. After a hiatus from touring while he worked as a graphic designer and arts administrator he returned to music in 2014. Since then he’s recorded five albums and is touring again. John calls Hornby Island (K’òmoks Traditional Territory), home.

Curtis McMurtry is a singer-songwriter, composer, and multi-instrumentalist from Austin, TX.  Influenced by Fiona Apple, Billy Strayhorn and Tom Waits, Curtis’ songs combine sinister lyrics with sophisticated orchestration.

Rick May’s CV for his work as a bassist may surprise people, who may think he is making it up. He is not.  He is a highly motivated talented professional and a consummate musician. He also plays a mean and funky Minimoog.

“Playing acoustic guitar and singing about real stuff.”  The songs that Kevin Mitchell plays and sings have the feel of a far off Woody Guthrie era, mixed with a contemporary roots vibe.” 

Prairie born and raised, Kevin Mitchell has been on the west coast for 30 years. In the vein of Alt Country Roots, Folk and Blues, his songs are honest and engaging and performed with a unique style that plays like the band

Hailing from the Isle of Skye, Niteworks have achieved critical acclaim for their modern take on Gaelic & Scottish traditional music.

Jeff Plankenhorn, singer-songwriter and all things strings multi-instrumentalist—guitar, lap steel, mandolin, piano, upright bass—began his career as a boy soprano in Ohio.

His larger-than-life presence on stage binds together a host of talents into a powerful whole. His soulful roots rock gained him a seat among the best contemporary Americana songwriters, while the vocal clarity and power developed in his early years is unmistakable in his poignant baritone.

Evan Redsky is a singer/songwriter from Blind River, ON by way of Toronto. Having spent five years on the road with Juno-nominated rock group Single Mothers – he has since returned to his indigenous story telling roots.

Silla and Rise blend Inuit throat-singing and futuristic dance floor beats. Silla are Cynthia Pitsiulak (Kimmirut, NU) and Charlotte Qamaniq (Iglulik, NU) their name comes from the Inuktitut word “Sila” meaning weather.  Rise is Ottawa’s Rise Ashen, a Juno Award nominated global-grooves producer, DJ and dancer who has spent his life pursuing the intersection of traditional and futuristic music.  In respecting and honouring the need to preserve Inuit culture and paying homage to our land and the strong connection to its spirituality, they experience and perform the sounds of traditional and contemporary throat songs. 

With a mix of fiddle, accordions, pipes and whistles, alongside guitar and vocals, underpinned by driving bass, drums and keys, Skerryvore represent the best in contemporary Scottish traditional music. 

BettySoo’s vocal prowess is a thing of wonder.  A voice that knows the roots of American music inside and out; coming from a most unexpected place – a diminutive Korean-American with a deceptively girl-next-door demeanour. 

Anishinaabe MC/Singer/Songwriter Leonard Sumner’s storytelling flows directly from the shores of Little Saskatchewan First Nation, located in the heart of the Interlake of Manitoba.  Sumner’s self-determined sound is evidence of his ability to simultaneously occupy landscapes of multiple musical genres including; Hip-Hop, Spoken Word, Country, and Rhythm and Blues. 

Sweet SantaFe, a duo featuring Michel Rivero from Havana, Cuba and Christine Baxter from Alberta, Canada.  They combine rich warm vocal harmonies, Caribbean rhythms, and Canadian folk style song writing, to transport audiences to a sunny beach with a gentle breeze drifting off the azure ocean. They spread their infectiously upbeat vibe in both Spanish and English.

PK Tessmann is a fixture in the Vancouver Island indie-folk community. Her well-crafted, original songs are something of substance: a synergy of flowing lyrics, whispered harmonies, twinkling ukulele or acoustic guitar, and her bold, multi-faceted voice.

Singing with an affinity and closeness that can often have audiences puzzling over who is singing which harmony line, Emily’s honeyed voice and Graham’s soft introspective tone have an almost matching vocal range.

The Outside Track’s marriage of Celtic music, song and dance has been rapturously received around the world. Hailing from Scotland, Ireland, and Cape Breton, its five members are united by a love of traditional music and a commitment to creating new music on this as a foundation.

The long time Victoria BC resident is still going strong some 50 plus years since he first stepped on stage. Long revered as one of the great boogie-woogie piano players, Vest is a five-time winner of Canada’s national Maple Blues Award for Piano Player of the Year.

Caley Watts is a Cree singer-songwriter and artist from the West Coast. She was born and raised in the remote Bella Coola Valley, located within the vast wilderness of the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia. Her music blends blues, folk, experimental sounds, and Indigenous stories into a style that is her own.

Phil has been performing and teaching drums professionally since the mid 80s. Phil currently works with award-winning and three-time June-nominated children’s performers The Kerplunks, as well as the ever-popular Nanaimo local-favourites, Johnny Inappropriate and Wunderbread.

Bonnie Whitmore is not new to the music business. For the last two decades, she’s played bass and sung with some of the biggest artists in the Americana genre: Hayes Carll, John Moreland, Eliza Gilkyson, Sunny Sweeney, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Butch Hancock, to name a few.

A folk roots band from Quadra Island, Willow is the quartet of singer-songwriters Andrea Blaseckie, Trinity Gogolin, Maureen Fox and Noelle Maffin. Mixing old world styles with island flavour, heaps of instruments, and blending harmonies.

Judy and Bruce Wing are an award winning acoustic duo from Vancouver Island and long time hosts of two open mics in the Comox Valley. They love to write and encourage original music.

 

Born into the respected multi-generational traditional singing Wood family, Fawn Wood’s singing reflects her Cree and Salish tribal lineage. In 2006 Fawn was the first female to win the Hand Drum contest at the Gathering of Nation’s Pow-Wow. In 2009 she opened the show at the 11th Annual Native American Music Awards.

Ryan Young is one of a ‘new wave’ of young players bringing fresh and inventive ideas to traditional Scottish music. Ryan’s fiddle playing is brimming with fresh melodic ideas, an uplifting rhythmic drive and a great depth of dynamics and precision.

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