The Islands Folk Festival at Providence Farm always boasts a relaxed atmosphere. (Citizen file)

The Islands Folk Festival at Providence Farm always boasts a relaxed atmosphere. (Citizen file)

VIDEO: 33rd annual Islands Folk Festival kicks off at Providence Farm

With three days of great music, Folkfest attracts fans from all across Vancouver Island.

The 33rd annual Islands Folk Festival is back at Providence Farm this weekend.

Many music lovers from Vancouver Island and beyond make a point of attending this very special event every summer, with out-of-towners either camping on site or staying with friends. The main point: they don’t want to miss anything at this unique festival.

Starting Friday, July 21, there is an array of acts for music lovers of all tastes and ages, on several stages around the huge property, located on Tzouhalem Road, east of the Duncan core area.

The excitement starts with the opening ceremonies at 5:30 p.m. on Friday and continues on two stages until well after 11 p.m.

Big Little Lions (9 p.m.), Lion Bear Fox (10 p.m.) and Locarno (11 p.m.) wind up opening night on the big stage.

However, the fun starts much earlier on Saturday, July 22 as performers take to the Islands Stage, the Spirit Stage, the Chapel Stage, and the Tzouhalem Stage, with additional workshops scheduled on the Heritage Workshop Stage.

The Tzinquaw Dancers open everything at 9:30 a.m. and after that, festival goers can enjoy Supaman, The Lonely Heartstring Band, and Incendio on the big Islands Stage.

On the smaller Spirit Stage nearby, there will be entertainment ranging from Knacker’s Yard to Linda McRae.

Indoors, at the acoustically wonderful Chapel Stage on Saturday, it all starts at 10 a.m. with Lauren Mann, and goes on through a great list of performers to finish up with Eileen McGann, followed by West My Friend.

Exploring the site further on Saturday, you’ll find the Tzouhalem Stage, featuring such musical treats as Ed Peekeekoot, Sky Parallel and The Choir.

Saturday’s workshops include Harmonizing Across Cultures, Songwriting with Three of Canada’s Finest, three part harmony singing for the audience with members of The Choir, and A Deep Dive into Latin Guitar music with Incendio.

Sunday, July 23 offers a great chance to hear some of the bands you missed the day before plus special Sunday events like a performance by The Ecclestons, Mad for Joy, Fox Glove, or taking in the two Sunday workshops.

Get hold of a schedule or check out http://www.islandsfolkfestival.ca/the-festival/stage-schedules/ and organize days to hear all your favourites.

In advance, adult weekend passes are $125; youth (over 12/under 19) passes are $62.50, and children under 13 get in free. Don’t forget GST is added to those prices.

Weekend passes can also be purchased in Duncan at Ten Old Books, Volume One Books and at the Beverly Corners Liquor Store or visit the islandsfolkfestival.ca website.

Many Cowichan Valley residents prefer to go green and get to the festival by taking the handy shuttle to Providence Farm instead of driving there. It’s free, although donations are much appreciated.

Boarding these vans is on a first-come, first-served basis. Approximate travel time from first to last stop is 20 minutes. Please note that the shuttles are not wheelchair accessible.

Free public parking is available at the Cowichan Sportsplex located at the corner of Beverly Street and Lakes Road (a shuttle stop).

Paid public parking (at $5 a day) is available off of Donnay Drive, located just before the festival site (Providence Farm), on your left.

Accessible parking (also $5 a day) is available for those with currently valid accessible parking permits. Drive in the main driveway entrance to the festival site and follow directions.