Performers of the 2017 Islands Folk Festival

Confirmed Performers! We will be adding this content soon, so stay tuned!




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. Embracing a lifetime of musical influences, Marc and the Trio recently released their fourth CD, The Marc Atkinson Trio IV. 

The Trio, formed in 2000, has toured North America, England and Europe and has received standing ovations everywhere they perform from the Montreal Jazz Festival to the Vancouver International Folk Festival to DjangoFest Northwest. If you are a lover of the guitar, instrumental music or just music, you will love this band. Marc Atkinson is backed by Joey Smith on bass and Reuben Wier or Chris Frye on rhythm guitar.



Brishen, Romany for ‘bringer of the storm’, is what Quinn Bachand, one of Canada’s most outstanding young musicians, and his band serve up with their original western and euro-gypsy swing homage.  They introduce a space where virtuosity meets vibe, leaving you with a sense of jubilance and nostalgia. With understated mastery and intuition, the group dedicates itself to musicality and the root of trad jazz and swing with the goal of bridging the gap between early Western and Euro Swing.  Quinn Bachand’s fascination, respect and commitment to tradition is clearly audible, setting him apart from the rest with an effect that is awe-inspiring. Join Quinn and his world class bandmates as they wow the crowds at the Festival.   



Little Lions is the ferocious songwriting duo of Helen Austin and Paul Otten. Both successful singer/songwriters in their own right, they met while on a conference songwriting panel, and then a couple of years later started the band from afar, with Helen based on Vancouver Island, and Paul in Cincinnati, Ohio. It’s been five years since they formed the band and only three since they began performing together and in that time Paul and Helen have won many awards, including 1st place in the International Songwriting Competition, the top prize of Song of the Year in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition and they won a Canadian Folk Music Award for Ensemble of the Year. Both of them are prolific songwriters whose work has been heard on commercial and CBC Radio, and on hundreds of TV and ad placements as well. Their folk-pop sound and strong song craft combine to delight audiences wherever they play and we’re very excited to have them at the festival this year. 



In 2017 The Bills are celebrating 20 years of bringing great music to fans all around the world. Their newest album, Trail of Tales features tracks composed by all five members of the group. The band has won multiple Western Canadian Music Awards, as well as two JUNO award nominations, and they are among the most reliably fantastic acts the country has to offer. The Bills are renowned for their instrumental virtuosity, lush vocal arrangements, evocative songwriting, and a refreshing sound that transcends musical boundaries and defies simple categorization. With individual band members sporting world-class credentials in folk/roots, jazz, classical and world music, The Bills truly are a Canadian acoustic music super-group, and their combined creative studio talent and explosive live shows have made them legendary folk/roots entertainers. We’re thrilled to be celebrating 20 years of The Bills at the Islands Folk Festival this summer.



For the past two and a half years, Craig Cardiff has been passing around a Book of Truths during his shows and asking his fans to share something truthful in it — a story, a confession, a hope, a secret. The stories can be heartbreaking, and they can leave Cardiff wanting to do something, to find the person who wrote in his book and tell them to hold on for tomorrow, that things will be OK. Cardiff’s most recent album, Love Is Louder (Than All This Noise) Part 1 & 2, has turned into a response to those stories. “I didn’t realize it at first, but this collection of songs is just really to help people be OK and to let them know to just wait until tomorrow, stay here and push on through,” says Cardiff. “Every song has that kernel of hope and joy, even if it’s not apparent at first.” Craig is one of the great songwriters this country has to offer and creates a beautiful intimacy with his audience whether it’s in an auditorium or a house concert. He is a Juno and WCMA nominee and we’re thrilled to have him at the festival this year.



Victoria’s The Choir is a non-auditioned, community choir that sings all-original arrangements of pop, folk and indie music. What started as a small project based out of Larsen Music in early 2013 turned big in no time: 100 great people who love to sing their hearts out! The Choir has had a string of very fun and successful concerts, and performances at Rifflandia 2014 through 2106, and the 2015 Campbell Bay Music Festival. They've taken the stage with Hank Pine, Adam Cohen, Kathryn Calder, Pharis and Jason Romero, Choir!Choir!Choir!, Aidan Knight and more. The Choir is directed by Marc Jenkins and accompanied by Erin Gray. If you’ve never seen a concert by The Choir you’re in for a treat. There’s nothing like hearing some of your favourite tunes sung in four part harmony by almost 100 voices. 

There will also be an opportunity for festival goers to experience being a part of The Choir during the festival. Check the schedule for that. 



Soaring harmonies, catchy original songs, foot-stomping fiddling: Genevieve and the Wild Sundays is an all-female quintet that feature the award-winning songs of Cowichan Valley  homesteading, guitar playing mama Genevieve Charbonneau. With songs that run from insightful love ballads to rollicking political hootenannies, the music of the Wild Sundays is rooted in old-time country, incorporating Eastern European folk, Americana, and indi-pop.

Genevieve began crafting tales of love, loss and rural living while homesteading in the Cowichan Valley, in between raising her three sons, harvesting veggies from the garden and hauling firewood to fuel her earthen home. Since they formed in 2013, Genevieve and the band have rapidly become one of Vancouver Island’s favourites, garnering airplay on CBC Radio and snagging award nominations along the way. Joining her are long-time bluegrasser and fellow Balkan Babe Kelly Sherwin, vocalist/percussionist Laura Carleton, and Yiddish Columbia State Orchestra’s mandolin player Chandra Crowe. With five time North American fiddle champion Ivonne Hernandez joining in July 2016. We’re thrilled to welcome Genevieve and the band back to Folk Festival.



Since the release of her debut EP, Boats, in 2012, Lydia Hol has toured the country from coast to coast, filling rooms with her songs and stories. Lydia’s time spent living in Ireland flavors her performances with a storyteller’s honesty and charm, and her studies in English Literature has helped to shape her songwriting into an insightful, and mature art. Sharing the stage with folk legends such as Sylvia Tyson, Dar Williams, and Shari Ulrich as she did this past year, has further encouraged Hol’s place as one of Canada’s most dynamic young artists. In 2013 Lydia was a Top 20 Finalist in the Peak Performance Project, and a Regional Finalist in CBC’s Searchlight Contest. We’re thrilled Lydia is joining at the festival this year. 



They’re back! After thrilling the audience at Folk Fest a few years back, we’re happy to welcome once again the guitar wizardry of Incendio, from Southern California. With eight albums under their belt the has been delighting audiences around the world for the better part of two decades now. Incendio, simply put, is instrumental world music. The primary “voice” of the band is the guitar, but to say the music of Incendio is solely guitar music would be an oversimplification. The guitar is certainly present, but other instruments such as the mandolin, bouzouki, violin, Celtic harp, piano, bass, synthesizer and various ethnic percussion instruments play a huge role in the ensemble’s sound. Whether it is the rapid acoustic guitar melodies found in Mitra’s Dance or the expansive use of undulating synthesizers on Someday, the music of Incendio tells stories. Formed in the summer of 1999 by Jim Stubblefield, Jean-Pierre Durand and Liza Carbé, Incendio (which means “fire” in Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish) became a vehicle for the influences and compositional talents of the three musicians. Echoes of music ranging from classical, to jazz, to rock, to flamenco, to Celtic, to even bluegrass can be heard in Incendio’s music. It is no surprise that this eclectic blend of influences has led to a sound that is a truly unique one.



Hanne Kah is an award winning singer-songwriter from Mainz, Germany whose music touches on folk, pop, rock and country. Reflected in their sound you might find shades of everything from Mumford and Sons through to the Indigo Girls or Melissa Etheridge. After a couple of EP releases in recent years, 2016 saw the release of her debut full length album “Hand Full of Secrets” to critical acclaim in her native Germany. Singing mostly in English, Hanne and her band have become known for their energetic live performances and we’re thrilled to get to experience that for ourselves here on their debut Canadian tour.



Kent Fiddy and David Sinclair are Juno, B.C. Country Music and Vancouver Island Music Award nominees. They are artists who weave the past and contemporary into a unique musical tapestry. The material is pure Canadiana in the way the songs celebrate stories, events and people from sea to sea… from Ripple Rock (B.C), Ice Road (NWT), The Heart of the Country, (Prairies and Ontario), Farley on a Harley, (Maritimes), and Bob Bartlett, (Nd.). Together, with impeccable harmonies, they combine as an original mix of pop, Celtic, country and jazz-inuenced roots. This is Canadiana Roots Music at its very best. David Sinclair’s brilliant solo songs and guitar compositions display his stellar musicianship, vocal ability and forty years of professional touring and recording experience. Kent Fiddy is a songwriter whose words and music touch the heart and soul of his listeners. “Nation building in the song style of Gordon Lightfoot and Stan Rogers” (Yukon Star)



Locarno is the Latin project of JUNO Award winning musician, Tom Landa. Like him, the music is equal parts Mexican and Canadian. In the mid nineties he formed the Folk Roots band, The Paperboys, who have been touring world-wide for over 20 years. Tom has always dabbled in Latin music, and in 2005 decided to immerse himself more into the genre. In 2009 Tom joined forces with producer Joby Baker (Alex Cuba, Adonis Puentes, Cowboy Junkies) and trumpeter Miguelito Valdes (Omara Portoundo, Afro Cuban All Stars). And in 2010 Locarno released ‘Una Mas Y Ya Nos Vamos’ The music was a mix of Son Jarocho inspired folk tunes with Afro-Cuban rhythms. The album went on to be nominated for a WCMA and garnered rave reviews. Since then the band has incorporated influences such as music from Columbia, African Sukous, Mexican Marimba Music, Venezuelan Joropo and Brazilian Forro Music. Perhaps where the band shines the most is in the live shows which features Tom Landa on jaranas and guitars, Kalissa Landa on violin, Robin Layne on marimba, congas and timbales, Pedro Mota on guitar an vocals, Aaron McKinney on bass, Liam MacDonald on drums, congas and pandero, Mark D’Angelo on trumpet and Nick La Rivere on trombone. Get ready to party with Locarno on Friday night at the Islands Folk Fest this year.




Performing on banjo, guitar and accordion her warm and world-weary voice, unforgettable melodies and thought-provoking lyrics, make McRae a captivating and sought-after artist. Promoter Fernando Pinto says "One song breaks your heart, the next one puts it back together”.
Though perhaps best-known for her eight-year tenure as a member of the platinum-selling band Spirit of the West, Linda McRae had already raised a daughter and performed for more than ten years with west coast punk and roots outfits before joining Spirit. Recent highlights include teaching songwriting workshops at Folsom Prison, and with youth at risk, which inspired her album Shadow Trails. Linda was inducted into the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2016 and won the 2017 FFC Songwriting Competition with her song “Be Your Own Light”.



Roots Roundup plays a high energy hybrid of globe-spanning music, mashing up the sounds of rock’n roll, reggae, ska, afro-beat, folk, funk and pure old school punk rock.The Roots Roundup lineup has evolved over the years as members pursued various musical interests including performing, writing, recording and teaching. Core Roots members Greg Hathaway, Dave Hannah (Dym-E-Tree), Barry Taylor, Keith Rose, David Hathaway, Mark Campbell, Shuggy Milligan and special guest trombonist Andy Cakes reunited in 2005, treating a full house of loyal and new fans to a truly rip-roaring two-night performance at the Fairview Pub in Vancouver. The response was so great that the band has continued performing several times a year. The band has long been a favourite band to many here on Vancouver Island and we’re so happy to have them come and party with us on Saturday night at the Festival.



At age 5, Sarah Jane Scouten was sitting on the dining room table, singing “Lace and Pretty Flowers,” by Canadian country-folk musician, Willie P. Bennett. Hank Williams and Stan Rogers were her greatest inspirations, both a staple at Sunday morning pancake breakfast and afterward, singing bluegrass and gospel music with her father and sister Anna Scouten on Bowen Island, BC. Her talent for performing came naturally, and as chance would have it, so emerged a knack for songwriting. Bringing us up to date, Sarah Jane Scouten is an internationally touring songwriter, loved by audiences across the Northern Hemisphere.  With flavours of Lucinda Williams, Nanci Griffiths, Old Crow Medicine Show and a wealth of old-time and bluegrass music, the two-time Canadian Folk Music Award nominee's songs are faithful to a long-standing folk music tradition, but often spill over into modern themes that are outspoken and edgy, from homelessness to midwifery to tongue-in-cheek heartache songs and unabashed Canadiana. Her live shows are dynamite and we couldn’t be happier to have Sarah Jane Scouten joining us for the festival this year.