Performers of the 2017 Islands Folk Festival




An Aboriginal women’s trio from Edmonton who draw from their cultural heritage to create music that is accessible to a wide audience, but delivers a powerful message from their hearts. They are Debbie Houle, Sherryl Sewepagaham and Sarah Pocklington. Asani have performed across Canada and internationally at such venues as Carnegie Hall in New York, The Kennedy Centre in Washington D.C. and the Saddledome in Calgary.   

With often understated instrumentation, these three remarkable artists let their voices do the bulk of the heavy lifting. Asani’s music is a reflection of where they come from and who they are. It is a celebration of their musical and cultural roots within a contemporary context. Carrying with them the traditional influences of First Nations and Metis music accompanied by drums and rattles, their songs resonate with their own blend of traditional vocals infused with the sounds of jazz, folk and blues. Their unique blend of rhythms based on traditional Cree/Metis musical styles combined with a variety of those found in other music traditions puts Asani in a category all their own. 

In 2009 they were inducted into the Canadian A Cappella Hall of Fame, and they have performed for the Dalai Lama, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and at the 2010 Olympics in Whistler, BC.

Their debut CD ‘Rattle and Drum’ was nominated for 11 music awards including a 2006 Juno nomination for Aboriginal Recording of the Year and received the Canadian Aboriginal Music Award (CAMA) for Best Female Traditional/ Cultural /Roots Album, 2005. Asani also received a 2010 Canadian Folk Music Award for Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year and a 2010 Indian Summer Music Award for Best Spiritual Song. We’re absolutely thrilled to welcome Asani to the festival this year.



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.



Canadian singer-songwriter Jay Aymar is known for his poetic lyrics and conversational singing style. He’s recently finished his latest project entitled: The Chicken Came First (and other half-truths from my life as a touring songwriter). It’s a collection of short stories accompanied by a live CD of his most requested songs. After a successful 2016 tour he returned to Toronto to organize an official Pledge Music campaign to raise funds for his forthcoming album 'Your Perfect Matador'. The campaign far exceed expectations and he's currently in the studio working with producer Michael Wojewoda (Great Big Sea, Buffy Sainte-Marie, The Jerry Cans). Your perfect Matador is slated for a fall 2017 release. 

With songs covered by the likes of the legendary Ian Tyson and a Canadian Folk Music Award nomination under his belt, his work has consistently garnered high praise. Born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie ON, currently residing in Toronto he performs primarily throughout Canada and the United States to over 120 shows per year at clubs, theatres and festivals.  

He released his first studio album in 1996 and has since released four more studio albums and one live album. In 2008, Canadian musician Ian Tyson recorded Aymar's composition “My Cherry Coloured Rose”—a song about legendary Canadian hockey broadcaster Don Cherry and his late wife Rose, for his album ‘From Yellowhead to Yellowstone and other Love Stories’. 

"This alone should elevate Jay Aymar to front and center stage where the likes of John Prine, Randy Newman and all the others I tiresomely mentioned stand. He’s that good." John Apice, No Depression Magazine

"Aymar is a classic, and Overtime is a knockdown priced master-work." David Farrell, New Canadian Music



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.


COASTLINE Coastline is a string ensemble comprised of BC's top young musicians ranging from ages 14-21, coached and mentored by
internationally acclaimed fiddler, Ivonne Hernandez. This award-winning band has already been making a name for themselves since their inception in January, 2013.

With fiddles, cellos, guitars and piano, the group of talented teens play a diverse and exciting repertoire. With intricate arrangements of traditional, original, and contemporary fiddle tunes from around the world, Coastline is pushing boundaries and always having a great time whenever they play.

After being together for only a few months, they won the Large Fiddle Ensemble award at the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival. They have since gone on to perform at many different festivals and venues, including the Aberdeen International Youth Festival, Victoria International Highland Games & Celtic Festival, Victoria's Tartan Day, and Car Free Day.

With a keen desire to perform, share their music and travel, Coastline has had a busy couple of years. In 2014 they released heir debut self titled album to rave reviews.  They’re recording a second album this year along with more touring and performing around the West Coast.

We’re thrilled they’re joining us at the Festival for the first time.  



The Ecclestons are BACK!

‘Full Contact Folk’ best describes what The Ecclestons bring to the stage. After fourteen years together as a band touring all over Western Canada and the US, siblings Colleen (guitar and vox) Kelt (bass, penny whistle, and vox) and adopted brother Greg Madill (bouzouki, mandolin, bodhran and vox) have been busy doing their solo projects for the last few years.

Known for their infectious humour, joyful energy and harmony, this Victoria based band has a massive Celtic repertoire alongside solid songwriting tackling everything from ‘bombs falling from the sky’ to the fires raging in Alberta and Montana, to siren’s song and dancing outside on a summer night. Growing up in the nomadic tradition of University and Airforce brats they have lived all across Canada and beyond bringing a deep worldliness to what they do. Past winners of ‘The Best Live Act on Vancouver Island’ MPower Award, they are excited to be reunited are packing some brand new songs to this summer’s festival.



They burst onto the scene about five years ago whereupon the trio of Claire Butterfield, Chelsea Kanstrup, and Renn Madeleine Bibeau quickly established themselves as a staple of the music community here on Vancouver Island. Their folk pop sounds are accentuated by their beautiful harmonies… and made all the more rich by their truly diverse voices and range in sound. Whether as a trio or with a full band, they’ve been delighting audiences since they arrived on the scene. You’ve likely heard them featured on CBC Radio, receiving extensive airplay and also serving at the house-band during the 2014 Food Bank fundraising day. 

Fox Glove puts a focus on evolution. Constantly looking to grow, strengthen, and expand, the style of this trio has matured with time and finds itself settling further into the sphere of darker folk pop.  And their music is as likely to lift you up as it is to break your heart.

Fox Glove has two EPs under their belt, produced respectively by Jason Cook and Sam Weber. 2016 was busy, with several sold out performances including shows at Alix Goolden Hall and Sugar Nightclub, festival appearances at Rock the Shores and Rifflandia, and a Western Canadian tour with Sam Weber. At the beginning of 2017, Fox Glove organized and headlined the first annual "Love In” at Alix Goolden Hall. They have a very busy rest of 2017 in front of them with more touring and finishing up their debut full length album which is due out in 2018. 

They’re so busy these days we only get them for one day at the festival but we’re very excited to have them with us. 



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. 


IVONNE HERNANDEZ AND TAD RUSZEL Some people are born to play music. By the age of three, Ivonne Hernandez started playing violin by ear, everything from her mother’s favourite Maritime reels to her father’s Chilean folk music roots. A child prodigy, she soon was playing guitar, piano, cello, flute, and percussion before joining the BC Fiddle Orchestra at age 11. Similarly, just north of Victoria, Tad Ruszel was singing songs and harmonies with his singer-songwriter father, and playing the ukulele. This quickly lead to Tad writing songs himself as well as becoming a hot young guitar and mandolin player and being scouted for touring bluegrass and folk bands. 

Still in their pre-teens, Ivonne was playing gigs before 60,000 at a Commonwealth Games performance with the Crash Test Dummies, while Tad was performing MainStage at Vancouver Island Musicfest. Both Ivonne and Tad have since toured and taught all over North America, the Caribbean, the UK and Ireland and Europe. They have both recorded albums of their own to critical acclaim, and have also recorded albums with different band projects over the years, to which Ivonne’s last album with The Fretless has won her a 2017 Juno Award. Tad and Ivonne are both sought after studio musicians and if that wasn't enough, Tad is an award winning coffee roaster at Bows and Arrows Coffee, while Ivonne, a highly sought after teacher and arranger, of which her student fiddlers in the award winning group Coastline, have recorded 2 albums of Ivonne’s arrangements under her direction. This has taken the teens in Coastline across Canada and to Europe and they also received 2 Canadian Folk Music Award Nominations!

As the story goes, one day Ivonne stopped in for a coffee and Tad happened to be working. Tad needed a fiddler for a bluegrass show and asked Ivonne. They bonded and started playing music together and they’ve been inseparable ever since. Their partnership combines the essence of the folk, bluegrass, pop and celtic worlds. Tad and Ivonne are a folk powerhouse duo combining the hot fiddling of one of the top fiddlers in Canada, and the veteran singer-songwriter-guitarist from the West Coast. Together, their tight harmonies, prolific playing, great arrangements, beautifully sculpted songs put together with their wit and personality make their show mesmerizing. 



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.



They are an award-winning children’s music group based on Gabriola Island

bringing high-energy, colourful performances to the stage - and outfits that match! As a group they are committed to entertaining and educating children through musical creativity and top-notch musicality. They're also celebrated for their ability to entertain parents and adults as equally as the kids. Since forming in 2007, the band has released four full-length albums and a ten-video DVD. In that time they’ve garnered three consecutive JUNO Award nominations, won twice at the Vox Populi Independent Music Awards for Best Children’s Album and for best Children's song. In 2008 they won the Canadian Folk Music Award for Children’s Album of the Year, Parent’s Choice Approved Award and the Western Canadian Music Award for Outstanding Children’s Recording. Their four albums and DVD are a mainstay in North American libraries and, due to this and their growing popularity, The Kerplunks are enjoying high CD sales all around the world.

The Kerplunks have played some of Canada's largest drawing and highest profile events, garnering rave reviews, and we’re a little giddy that they’re bringing their high-energy show to the festival this year. 



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).



A six-piece Celtic traditional folk band with members from Victoria, Saanich, Metchosin and Sooke.  Formed in the spring of 2012, the original intent was, and still is, to perform traditional Celtic and English folk songs, intrumentals and ballads dating from the 1600’s up to the 1960’s. Their repertoire includes songs made popular by voices such as Ewan MacColl, Shirley Collins, Luke Kelly, Ronnie Drew, Enoch Kent, Andy Irvine, Paul Brady and well-known musical groups such as the Dubliners, The Pogues, Corries, The Wolfe Tones, Planxty, De Danaan, and the Bothy Band to name a few.

Knacker’s Yard currently has three self-released albums: ‘The High St. Demo'(2013), ‘Live at Dunsterville'(2015) and ‘Songs of the Sea'(2016). While arranged by the group, their songs are closest in presentation to the musical style of The Dubliners, a style the group has chosen for its clear, direct and energetic presentation. In addition to this, they bring in elements from the youthful urban revival of traditional music in the 60’s and 70’s and also from the humble, stripped down presentation such as can be found on many of the more traditional singer/songwriter albums of the 1960’s. Traditional music enthusiasts will appreciate the song-tales of lost love and betrayal, the misdeeds of ramblers and rakes, emigration, hard drinking and hard living, sea shanties and worker’s songs. In addition to these ballads and chorus songs, KNACKER’S YARD also adds the explosive musical energy of traditional instrumental, reels, jigs and slides. We’re very excited the boys will be bringing their infectious love of traditional music to the festival.



West Coast band Lion Bear Fox is three huge voices joined as one, telling the truth through compelling story, honest narrative and unbridled passion. Three men going to war onstage every night to share a message of hope, vulnerability and redemption.  Lion Bear Fox is “a musical force of nature”, an “emotional awakening” that’s sure to “be around for a lifetime”. (Nanaimo Daily News/Songs in the Valley/Terry David Mulligan).

 Originally known for their respective solo careers, Christopher Arruda, Ryan McMahon and Cory Woodward joined forces as Lion Bear Fox in 2012 and was immediately selected as one of the top 20 unsigned bands British Columbia (Peak Performance Project). The fall of 2013 saw the band release their self-produced breakthrough EP “We’d Be Good Men” and take Western Canada by storm, touring 15 times over the next two years including stops at Canadian Music Week (Toronto), Contact East (PEI), OSAC (Regina) Mission Folk Festival and The Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, BC. They have had the pleasure of sharing the stage with artists like Tom Wilson, Good For Grapes, Elliot Brood and Kim Mitchell.

With the help of friend and producer Nygel Asselin (Half Moon Run), the trio spent ten days in the Vancouver Island wilderness crafting “the record of their lives” -  a collection of songs steeped in character and full of warmth.  One part folk, one part rock - a pinch of gospel and a dash of growl, the self-titled LP is a testament to the trio’s strength as songwriters.  Lush acoustic guitars are bookended by buzzing electrics and screaming organs;  all tied together by rich percussion and three voices in mighty harmony.  It’s a sound that harkens back to an era when the song was paramount.



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.



Nourished by deep roots in the expansive canon of traditional American music, The Lonely Heartstring Band embodies the modern American condition—an understanding and reverence for the past that informs a push into the future. This multi-talented group of musicians is a classic Bluegrass quintet—always far greater than the sum of its parts. Combining soulful instrumental virtuosity with soaring three-part harmonies, their growing repertoire of original songs and compositions showcases not only their considerable talents, but a dedication to meaningful roots-conscious music.

Since their beginnings in 2012, The Lonely Heartstring Band has been on the rise and shows no sign of slowing down. With their 2015 IBMA Momentum Award and their 2016 release of their debut full-length album on the legendary Rounder Records label, there is every reason to hope that they are at the front edge of a significant career.

Already they have generated a devoted following of music-lovers across North America, performing and headlining at major music festivals and historic venues from Western Canada to California, from Kentucky to New Hampshire. Whether it’s a festival stage, theatre, or intimate listening room, The Lonely Heartstring Band always delivers a dynamic, diverse, and heartfelt performance. Over the last three years of touring, the band has crafted shows that generate a genuine connection and bring crowds to their feet. We’re certain they will do the same for you at the Islands Folk Festival this year.

"These guys are as close to the Real Deal as it is possible to get. They made my hair stand on end." ~Darol Anger, fiddler for Republic of Strings –Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music

 "Topnotch instrumentation and a beautiful vocal blend are the cursory reasons to begin forming an allegiance to this band.  Their music is addicting, and just like viewing the Grand Canyon, you can't begin to find the words to describe the wonder witnessed." -Bluegrass Unlimited

 "The Lonely Heartstring Band, may well be a precursor of what bluegrass music will sound like in the future."- John Lawless, Bluegrass Today



From barns to churches, from moving trains to windy Winnipeg rooftops, Mad For Joy has delighted audiences coast to coast with their uplifting and soulful music. Blending elements of jazz, blues and folk, Mad for Joy creates a dreamy-gutsy-bluesy sound that will warm your heart and make you joyful. The band’s founding members are Vancouver-born Jocelyn Hallett and Adam Kerby, from Terrace, BC. The pair met at Vancouver Community College’s Jazz Music program and have been writing and performing across Canada together since. In 2015, Mad for Joy embarked upon two coast to coast tours promoting their acoustic EP, Vintage Rainbow. The tours included performances for passengers in VIA Rail train cars and stations from Vancouver to Halifax. In 2016, Mad for Joy was awarded a grant through CreativeBC to help produce their first full length album, Garden of the Muse, which is set for release in the Fall of 2017. The foundational vision of Mad for Joy is to produce uplifting music and bring joy to a wide variety of audiences. We’re so thrilled they’re joining us this year at the festival.



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”.



EILEEN McGANN Cowichan Valley-based Eileen McGann has long been acclaimed as one of Canada’s finest Celtic singers and songwriters.  For more than 30 years she has toured across Canada, the US, Great Britain and Ireland, bringing her rich, poetic lyrics and soaring melodies to festivals, clubs and concert halls. Her seven solo CDs have received international 5-star reviews, and many “top ten of the year” listings.  Eileen’s CD “Beyond The Storm“ was nominated for a 2002 Juno Award as “Best Album: Roots & Traditional” and her “Pocketful of Rhymes” CD garnered her a CFMA nomination as “Traditional Singer of the Year”. 

Thematically, Eileen’s songs show a wonderful breadth, from incisive political and environmental ballads, ditties and anthems, to story songs from modern and ancient sources; from celebrations of the Canadian wilderness to powerful songs of the spiritual journey.  She has played almost all the major folk festivals across Canada and Great Britain, often multiple times, and continues recording and touring, as well as following her second profession as a painter of vibrant Canadian landscapes. She teaches workshops on songwriting, voice, traditional music, painting, Celtic knotwork art and creativity.  

Instrumentally, Eileen has a strong rhythmic guitar style, augmented by the brilliance of multi-instrumentalist David K. on bouzouki, bass, slide guitars and harmony vocals.



She is a 16 year-old singer-songwriter based on Salt Spring Island. “Beyond her years” is a terrible cliché but oh boy does it fit with this remarkable young artist. Nicky is a strong songwriter and her poise on stage suggests someone with many more years experience performing live. But it’s her voice that is stealing the hearts of darn near everyone who hears it. Strong and clear and just plain beautiful, with great timing and a gift for giving depth and shape to her vocals, we’re so excited to see her perform at the festival. She has a brilliant future ahead of her, having already landed herself into the top 10 regionally in the nation-wide CBC Searchlight competition. Her video for that contest, Cobblestone Midnight ( ) is a beautiful live performance well worth checking out. We’re thrilled to have her with us and really look forward to following her budding career.




LAUREN MANN  “Honest & affectionate, with a little bit of whimsy,” is the sentiment behind songstress Lauren Mann’s latest album Dearestly (Wildwood, 2016). The songs are a poignant narrative of dark and light set against the backdrop of different landscapes, and chronicle years of touring and personal joys and struggles. Musically, the album travels from moments of sparse simplicity to bombastic choruses, anchored by Lauren’s strong vocals and beautiful melodies.

The Calgary native, who has recently put down roots in British Columbia’s Southern Gulf Islands, started touring full time in 2011 with her first album Stories From Home, a collection of self-produced home recordings. She followed this with the 2012 release Over Land and Sea.  In 2014, Lauren and her band, affectionately known as the Fairly Odd Folk, were the winners of the CBC Searchlight contest, rising to the top of over 4500 bands across Canada and named Canada’s best new emerging artist.

Since her start in 2011, Lauren has captivated audiences with an impressive live performance at over 650 shows across Canada and the United States. She has shared the stage with bands such as July Talk, Reuben and the Dark, The Strumbellas, Rusted Root, The Matinee, Balkan Beat Box, Phox, among others. The Washington Post named Lauren “one of the best indie-folk rockers that you’ve never heard of. ” 

Her new album Dearestly, is an expertly crafted journey through moments of joyous elation to haunting darkness, providing a depth and maturity to the foundation that was laid in the 2012 release Over Land and Sea. The songs are an honest insight into Lauren’s personal journey and experiences in the past four years, and establish her as an adept songwriter and performer.

We’re excited that Lauren is hopping the pond from Pender Island to be with us for the festival this year.  



Jake Morley is one of England's most innovative singer songwriters. Seriously captivating live, his groundbreaking lap-tapping and strumming guitar techniques are an accompaniment to his true passion for words, ideas and their power to connect. Morley has played over 400 gigs across the UK, Europe and Canada in the past few years and supported many leading lights of modern English songwriting, including Ed Sheeran, Ben Howard and Lucy Rose. His 2012 debut album ‘Many Fish To Fry’ received airplay across 6Music and Radio 2 in the UK and saw him perform at countless festivals including Isle of Wight and Secret Garden Party.

His 2016 follow-up album ‘The Manual’ received glowing reviews was well: 
“Incredibly original musicianship, inventive lyrics and real sense of care whilst retaining the freshness. Bravo Monsieur Morley, bravo indeed.” Listen With Monger 

“I am just completely mesmerized by this album.”  IndieBandGuru

“Jake Morley is not just your average bloke with guitar, he stuns crowds with his unique style and is always a show stealer.”  BBC Introducing

“We like this a lot” Dermot O’Leary, Radio 2

“It’s phenomenal to watch him but it’s still more daunting to consider that he also sings up a storm and writes
cracking songs.  Morley is a true original”. 
Acoustic Magazine 

“Jake Morley is not just your average bloke with guitar, he stuns crowds with his unique style and is always a show stealer.”  BBC Introducing

“We like this a lot” Dermot O’Leary, Radio 2



He walks in “two worlds”, equally comfortable on a big city stage or boardroom, as he is skinning a moose in a hailstorm with a pocketknife. Tapping into rich and profound ancestral knowledge to create sustainable and ethical alternatives for the modern world are the foundations that guide him in his many projects. 

Musically, Art’s work travels through folk, to rock and blues and traditional Cree. He is a champion of Aboriginal language preservation and in particular of his own Cree language. Whether he’s re-interpreting John Lennon or Bob Marley in Cree or teaching the language to Children through music, you won’t find a more eloquent voice on the power and value of preserving our ancient languages here in Canada.   

A former hand-picked (not elected) Chief of the Saulteau First Nation in north-eastern BC, Art is a conservationist, naturalist, faith-keeper and educator who interprets life through the holistic lens of Cree worldview. Art is also a budding TV personality with a growing resume in the film industry and is known as an on-stage humorist with an uncanny ability to improvise and engage audiences of all ages including children and youth. Currently based in Victoria BC, Art remains connected to his home territory and his Cree and Dane Zaa roots. He tours regularly as a performer and speaker and also serves as a juror on arts and culture organizations across Canada. His moose stew has been known to cure hangovers and his campfire tales have mended broken hearts…or so the stories go.



He is a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, and story-teller, he is a skilled and seasoned performer. Ed has a timeless kind of cool that appeals to audiences of all ages. His performances go from blazing guitar work to foot stomping fiddle and haunting Native flute – all sprinkled with his Cree humour and philosophy.  He takes people on a wildly varied musical journey from country folk to a touch of classical and jazz. Ed will be joined at IFF by his wife Gail (vocals) and Corbin Keep (cello) a gifted musician in his own right who collaborated with Ed on his latest CD atayohkan.

From the Ahtahkakoop Cree First Nation in Saskatchewan where he grew up in a musical and supportive family, Ed now lives on Vancouver Island. He has been a solo musician for over three decades – cutting his musical teeth in the bars and clubs of Vancouver and now appearing in concerts, festivals, school performances, corporate events, dances, and retreat gatherings across western Canada and into the US. Ed was twice nominated as the BC Country Music Association’s “Instrumentalist of the Year” and his CD “in the key of cree” was nominated as “Best Country CD” in the Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards.



GRACE PETRIE  Grace Petrie is a folk singer, songwriter, and activist from Leicester, UK. She first exploded on to the national protest scene in 2010 with the emotive anthem Farewell to Welfare, which captured perfectly the spirit of the new wave of dissent in austerity Britain. Since then, she has written, recorded and toured relentlessly. Her unique takes on life, love and politics, and the warmth and wit with which they are delivered have won over audiences everywhere, and she has quietly become one of the most respected and prolific songwriters working in the UK today.

Her latest release, Whatever's Left (2015), charts the journey beyond protest singer, through political and personal change to emerge through shades of folk, Americana and country as a more mature songwriting voice. The result is a collection of songs that provide a soundtrack to the modern struggle, with politics and with love, that will resonate with listeners everywhere.

Grace’s young career boasts four studio albums, a dedicated fan base and national tours supporting Emmy the Great, Billy Bragg and comedians Robin Ince and Josie Long, as well as a string of festival appearances including regular visits to Latitude and Glastonbury. She has collaborated with some of the most respected names in folk, including Leon Rosselson, Roy Bailey and Peggy Seeger. In 2015 she completed a Canadian tour, culminating in a hugely successful performance at the main stage of Vancouver Folk Festival. She is a frequent guest on BBC Radio 4’s the Now Show and has appeared on Channel 4’s Random Acts, and has been featured in The Guardian, Diva Magazine and the Independent on Sunday’s 2013 Pink List of influential LGBT figures.



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.



This is the brand new project by Sarah Noni and Sarah Fitzpatrick from the Sunshine Coast. Noni is a brilliant singer-songwriter with three solo albums out, not including her latest that is seeing her release the ten songs over ten months here in 2017, five of which are now available. Sarah Fitzpatrick is a dynamic fiddler and teacher who is perhaps best known for having toured the world as a member of Delhi 2 Dublin for three years. When the two found themselves neighbours and new moms, they struck up a friendship that also became Sky Parallel. Individually they’re both fantastic performers and together, well it’s clear they’ve created a whole new batch of musical magic. This is their first festival season as a duo and we’re so happy to have them with us. 

Sarah Noni is a Canadian Folk Music Award winner and has been heard regularly on CBC Radio over the years since her debut in 2004. Her three previous solo albums are each of them gems in the Canadian folk and roots music collection. After moving to East to Toronto, and then further to Europe for a number of years, Sarah Noni is back in BC, living on the Sunshine Coast with her family. 

With a background in Classical, traditional and jazz music, Sarah Fitzpatrick’s fiddle and violin work has taken her around the world with the aforementioned award-winning Canadian band Delhi 2 Dublin, as well as several other projects. When she’s not teaching the next generation of fiddlers, she’s also the newest member of the award winning Rakish Angles, who have delighted audiences on the Islands Folk Fest stages in previous years. She’s also based once again on the Sunshine Coast where she grew up.


SUPAMAN As a member of the “Apsaalooke Nation”, Supaman makes his home on the Crow reservation in Montana. “Supaman” Is Christian Takes Gun Parrish, a Native American dancer and innovative hip hop artist who has dedicated his life to empowering and spreading a message of hope through culture and music. He has been the recipient of the Nammy “Native American Music Award”, “North American Indigenous Image Award”, and 7 “Tunney Awards”. He recently was awarded The Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Award in Canada for best video and was voted MTV’s new Artist of the Week! His latest video’s titled “Prayer Loop Song” and “Why” both have gone viral and have received over 2 million views, which has put him in high demand touring extensively throughout the U.S.A and internationally. He has performed for Google at the Google headquarters in San Francisco and got to dance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City. He recently was asked to audition for America’s Got Talent and the Broadway play Hamilton.  

Christian’s presentation combines Native American culture and urban hip hop culture and through this he has gained the respect of his culture and his generation. The communicative talent along with the compassion that exudes from his music allows him to connect with people from all walks of life. His uncanny ability to motivate, encourage and inspire through dance, and hip hop music keeps him at the forefront among his contemporaries.  We’re so excited to welcome Supaman for his first visit to the Islands Folk Festival.   




This year marks Clever Trever's 20th year as a juggler and Islands Folk Festival was one of his first gigs! Clever Trever is please​d​  to be back at the Festival to wow the audience with his highly-skilled juggling. He's a graduate of the clown Conservatory in San Francisco, a circus clown training program. He has performed in d​uos and trios as well as e​nsemble circuses all over North America and especially Vancouver Island and the ​G​ulf Islands. If you see him roaming around the festival you might want to ask him to show off​!!



Described as everything from indie-roots to chamber-folk, Victoria-based West My Friend has an acoustic blend of instruments and four-part harmonies that challenges the conventions of popular music. The band features pure and thrillingly elastic vocals with catchy arrangements of bass, guitar, mandolin, and accordion that draw from jazz, classical, folk, and pop influences. Inspired by artists such as Owen Pallett, Joanna Newsom, Bright Eyes, The Decemberists, and the Punch Brothers, and forged from a sonically adventurous acoustic music scene on Canada’s west coast, West My Friend is proving to be a key part of a new generation of grassroots folk music. The wealth of musical experience and classical training in the group creates an interesting backdrop for their songwriting, allowing for levels of detail, intricacy, and counterpoint balanced with moments of simplicity. Their diversity in taste and influences and a keen interest in both traditional sounds and innovation leads to constant exploration of new sounds that places them as a distinctive voice in the landscape between Canadian folk and indie-pop. Quiet Hum, produced by Canadian mainstay David Travers-Smith (Wailin’ Jennys, Pharis & Jason Romero) is the third outing from West My Friend since the band formed at the turn of the decade. Its 2012 debut, Place, garnered several nominations, including “Roots Album of the Year” and “Song of the Year” at the Vancouver Island Music Awards. Its follow-up, 2014’s When The Ink Dries, was nominated for the Oliver Schroer “Pushing The Boundaries” Award at the Canadian Folk Music Awards and received the Readers’ Choice award for “Best New Sound of 2014” at Sleeping Bag Studios. It’s been a thrill to watch this band Island band grow and evolve over the years and we’re so happy they can be a part of the festival this year.