Among this morning’s guest speakers was a very excited mayor O’Keefe. “Forty one years,” he said emphatically and genuinely. “Forty one years of entertainment, music, and culture …” and what O’keefe called “a Great Big Garden Party.” He then promised, whatever the festival needs, the city is there for them.

The festival is at Bannerman Park this year, to quote NL Folk Arts Society President John Drover, “I’m sure we’ll be there ’til the end of time.” This year’s festival will run from August 4-6th, and is, for the 4th time, sponsored by Statoil (as facilitated by Business and Arts NL). Drover says their financial backing has helped the festival achieve “a new level of professionalism.”

This year, the festival says in honour of Canada 150, they set out to feature folk acts from every province and territory in our nation. “With a little more rejigging — we have a few slots left — we’ll hit every province, and we’ll also have an act from the Yukon” Drover said.

2 of 4 Headliners Are Returning Acts, Braving the Chance Rain-outs Again

“On Friday night we’re going to have Sarah Harmer play,” Drover said, “hopefully it’ll be good luck this year … last time Sarah played [at the festival] it was a little bit of a mud bath; probably some of the heaviest rains we’ve had, and the festival ended up in Mile One Stadium.”

The festival is continuing their new tradition of an epic Saturday family and children’s event, and their headliner for that this year is Sharon and Bram — who’ve been delighting kids of all ages for 40 years now. You’ll no doubt recognize this jam, no matter your age:

On Saturday Night, “another foul-weather” favourite, Matt Andersen, will play. He wound up playing in a very packed Ship Pub last time he was here for the festival. Matt is a wild guitarist with a wild following, as proven by his 10 million Youtube views and multiple international blues awards.

Local favourites Kelly Russell and the Planks will close out the festival Sunday Evening.

Other Acts …

The festival will feature acts from 10+ provinces and territories, alongside favourite locals, like Flower Hill, Brianna Gosse, Eastern Owl, Rum Ragged, Colleen Power, Chris Ledrew, Matthew Byrne, Rube & Rake, Rigolet’s throatsinging foursome The Blake Sisters, and “Amelia Curran and the Rolling Barrage Send Off” … we’ll be sure to get more details on that curious band name!

Two Time Winner of Music NL’s Newfound Talent Contest will be playing her own set this year, that’s 12 year old Paige Penney & The Old Souls, and The High & Lonesome Ramblers will close out Saturday afternoon — they’re the newly legendary house band from High & Lonesome, a weekly bluegrass and country jamboree sensation at the Rose & Thistle Pub, instigated by Matthew Hornell.

Among visiting acts are Quebec’s Bon Débarras, who “unite the worlds of music, dance, and poetry through a collaboration between Montreal artists,” PEI’s young trio Ten Strings and a Goat String, who “transform tradition with vigor, curiosity, and sparks of goofy humor,” and  Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage, who will huddle around a single mic to sing intimate duets with just mountain dulcimer, dobro, and guitar.

BC’s famed “Stoke Folk” band Shred Kelly will close Saturday night, Winnipeg’s well-known Red Moon Road will play Sunday, and Straight out of Nashville, Daniel Champagne will be here as well:

You can see the full schedule / artist listings here.

Other Notables …

As always, there will be numerous sessions and workshops throughout the festival, which will appear here as more details are revealed, as well as various vendors, from clothing and crafts to face painting to food trucks and more, including Rocket Bakery, Power Smoothies, Hindu Temple, Blue’s Hitchen the Kitchen food truck, and more in the food department.

The folk festival will also showcase winners of the MusicNL Statoil Newfound Talent Contest on the TD Mainstage, to continue the festival’s history of launching new generations of talent, at younger and younger ages. Everyone from Figgy Duff to The Once have thanked the festival for a real boost to their career.