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Host of great acts coming to Providence Farm in Duncan for 35th annual Folk Fest

Stella Swanson and the Rosie Joyfuls to the Shuffle Demons: all there for you on five stages
The Shuffle Demons are back. C’mon along and enjoy the ride. (Submitted)

The 35th annual Islands Folk Festival is heading to Providence Farm this weekend.

It’s time to get those tickets for this fabulous three day event, where you can enjoy the music of 32 artists on five stages.

The music starts at Providence Farm on Friday, July 26 and continues to Sunday afternoon, July 28.

There’s also camping, craft beer and food vendors, workshops with top musicians and singers, and the famous festival kids zone. The atmosphere is easy going and family oriented. Bring a lawn chair, perhaps a blanket if you plan to stay late, and, of course, prepare to pack out what you pack in.

So, who’s playing the Festival this year?

The Jerry Cans create music inspired by their hometown of Iqaluit, Nunavut, and life in the Canadian Arctic. With a unique mix of traditional Inuit throat singing and roots rock all sung in Inuktitut, The Jerry Cans offer a distinctly northern sound. The band is passionate about helping to preserve their language and are committed to challenging common misconceptions about life in the North. Check them out at

Carmanah’s Laura Mina Mitic will always be the last one to tell you about herself. Instead you’ll hear about music, band mates, politics, touring and a deep reverence for humanity and the earth. You’ll hear the same on Carmanah’s first national release Speak In Rhythms, an 11-song album that overflows with afterhours cool plus some vintage grit in its modern sound.

What do you get when you cross three amazing saxophonists dressed in wacky clothes, a crazy dancing drummer and a killer upright bass player and have them spend half their time playing in the audience? The Shuffle Demons, that’s who. They were a band that captured the imagination of a generation with their antics and amazing, no-holds-barred playing and now they’re back. They are a high-energy Canadian band that blends jazz and funk playing with eye-catching costumes and over the top stage antics to produce a wild and wacky show. Don’t miss them.

For the past six 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 book gives fans a chance to write down something they might be too afraid to say out loud, and it gives Cardiff an opportunity to connect with the people who come to his shows.

Those entries aren’t always easy to read. 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. Come and find out.

Ridley Bent is a Canadian country singer-songwriter who is no stranger to the Cowichan Valley. He likes to blend and bend country, rock and hip hop influences, in a manner he calls “hick hop”.

In early 2009, Bent’s song ‘Nine Inch Nails’ won in the Eighth Annual Independent Music Awards and Vox Pop vote for Best Country Song.

Still walking many roads, Bent continues to weave tales of wisdom and intrigue with titles such as ‘Fill Yer Boots’ about a truck driving card player, and ‘Crooked and Loaded’ written about a shoot out with a posse of outlaws.

The Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra are linked by common music journeys and familial ties. Their goal: to bring people together; to share real flesh, blood and feeling. Here are the troubadours to remind you that this music (no matter what kind of device it ends up on) could not exist without warm bodies in search of harmony.

Pharis & Jason Romero have a classic story. When some scratchy old records and a custom banjo led to their meeting in 2007, they quickly knew they were in for the long haul. They’ve won a Juno award, multiple Canadian Folk Music Awards, been featured on NPR Music, CBC, BBC, and Folk Alley, and have performed on A Prairie Home Companion and CBC’s The Vinyl Cafe. They are passionate teachers and believers in many things folk, and their heartbreakingly harmonic live show is an ever-evolving and never-ending quest for good songs and beautiful sounds.

Get your tickets now at

The cost for a weekend pass is $125, or $110 if you’re a Cowichan Folk Guild member. Youth weekend passes are $62.50 each. Single-day passes are also available.

There is a free park-and-ride shuttle service and a new Cowichan Bay run has been added this year. Check out If you want to take your car, paid public parking is $5 a day and is available in a big field just off Donnay Drive.