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Annual Harrison Music Festival July 12-21

Tal National from Niger, bring a psychedelic, rock and roll edge to their nation’s traditional music will be onstage July 18.








he Harrison Festival Society is gearing up for an exciting summer festival this July, with plans in place to present a broad array of musical styles from across Canada and around the Globe, from as far afield as Cape Verde, Mexico, and Israel.

From July 12-21, the festival will feature concerts on the ungated Beach Stage, ticketed full evening shows in the Harrison Memorial Hall, a Children’s Day (Wednesday July 17), an evening of theatre, a Literary Café, an art exhibit in the Ranger Station Gallery, and a juried artisan market along Harrison’s stunning beachfront. This year marks the beginning of the festival’s 5th decade.

Cape Breton supergroup Beòlach play July 17.

Harrison Festival Artistic Director Andy Hillhouse says that this year’s program features several cutting edge performers who will challenge audience expectations of traditional music and culture.


“We in the west tend to think of cultures from other parts of the world as stuck back in time," says Hillhouse. "We will see with a number of these performers that young roots musicians from around the world are incorporating the avant-garde into their work, as a way of expressing their cultural identity within a contemporary global context."


Elida Almeida brings the joyful AfroPortuguese culture of Cape Verde.

Some of these forward-looking artists appearing on the Beach Stage include Korea’s Black String (July 17), who include electric guitar alongside traditional Korean instruments; Vancouver’s Haram (July 19), who combine middle-eastern and North African sounds with jazz improvisation; and The Aerialists (July 19, who combine Celtic fiddle and harp with deep bass, drum, and guitar grooves.


The eclectic, west coast spirit is represented by the amazing Harry Manx on stage July 14.


Vancouver’s Dalava (July 21) perform artful arrangements of Moravian traditional music. In the hall, Tal National (July 18), from Niger, bring a psychedelic, rock and roll edge to their nation’s traditional music.

Of course, the Harrison Festival is very much about celebration, so the week will include some straight up fun, danceable music from around the world. The first Memorial Hall concert will feature the charismatic contemporary flamenco singer Marinah (July 13), coming all the way from Barcelona. Blending Afro-Cuban rhythms with flamenco singing, she and her band create an infectiously life-affirming groove that should make for a great night out.


The charismatic contemporary flamenco singer Marinah on stage July 13.


Louisiana’s Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers (July 19) will be playing authentic, rocking Zydeco music. The Hamiltones (July 20), who have gained fame internationally as backing band for Ry Cooder, will be gracing the Memorial Hall stage with their R and B, gospel-infused harmonies.

Louisiana’s Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers on stage July 19.

A variety of diverse cultures of Vancouver, and indeed across Canada, will be represented.


Toronto’s Okan (July 19 and 20) are two young Cuban-born women who play Afro-Cuban music of the highest caliber; Blisk (July 20 and 21), also from Toronto, fuse vocal traditions of Eastern Europe; and Matthew Byrne (July 18) is perhaps the finest young traditional singer from Newfoundland today.


iskwē is a leading voice among Indigenous artists on stage July 21.


Cape Breton supergroup Beòlach (July 17) will bring the highest calbire traditional music from that special heartland of Scottish music to our hall. The eclectic, west coast spirit is represented by the amazing Harry Manx (July 14), who will close out the first weekend in our hall with his magical, blues inspired original songs and slide guitar playing.


Matthew Byrne is perhaps the finest traditional singer from Newfoundland today on stage July 18


It is a program of powerful women singers. Israel’s AvevA (July 20 and 21) updates an Ethiopian-Israeli musical tradition with contemporary sounds; Elida Almeida (July 13 and 14) brings the joyful AfroPortuguese culture of Cape Verde; and hall performer iskwē (July 21) has over the past few years established herself as a leading voice among Indigenous artists in this country. A special guest at the iskwē show, Riit (July 21) is a young Inuk singer-songwriter and throat singer from Pangnirtung, Nunavut. From Mexico, Flor Amargo y Pachamama (July 16) will perform energized son jarocho music on the beach, as well as hitting the stage on our Children’s Day.

The Harrison Festival of the Arts is not only about music, but spans different forms of artistic expression. The Ranger Station Gallery will feature a group show of west coast Indigenous artists, running throughout the month of July. And the Evening of Theatre on July 16 will be in partnership with the Chilliwack School of the Performing Arts, who will perform The Curious Incident of the Dog in the NightTime (July 16), a play about an autistic youth, that has been a smash hit in London.

Children’s Day (July 17) will feature a range of activities from crafts to theatre games, and will feature hip-hop children’s performer Rup Loops, as well as Bollywood dancer Karima Essa.

To have a look at the schedule of performances and the full lineup, check out harrisonfestival.com for all the details. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased online through the website, or in person at the Ranger Station Art Gallery, Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm.


About the Harrison Festival Society

Known worldwide for its professional artistry and small town hospitality, the Harrison Festival Society has long been a beacon for growing acceptance of diversity and purpose fueled programming.

Each July for more than 35 years the Society has produced the internationally acclaimed Harrison Festival of the Arts, a nine day, cross disciplinary, multicultural art event set amidst the small town atmosphere and breathtaking scenery of Harrison Hot Springs, BC.

A non-profit, grass-roots organization, the Society also presents an annual Season of the Performing Arts from September to May and works closely with a number of Fraser Valley partners in continuing to bring high quality, inclusive and accessible performing arts into the area.




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