Arts & Entertainment
2 min

Queers at the Fest

The Vancouver Folk Festival’s artistic director Dugg Simpson is legendary when it comes to his globally diverse musical taste as well as his ability to take chances by programming cutting-edge artists.

Over the years, Simpson has also regularly incorporated activist Meegan Maultsaid and writer Ivan Coyote to program their own stages within the Fest. The result is an extremely diverse musical pallet filled with queer artists performing everything from hip hop to traditional folk to jazz and beyond.

This year is no exception; here is a look at some of the queer performers destined to be a highlight at this year’s Festival.

Bitch
Formerly one half of Bitch and Animal, Bitch’s previous project was part music, part performance art. Her 2006 release Make This Break This shows more complexities than any of her previous works, and the music is expected to shine onstage.

“I think she’s going to amaze people,” Simpson predicts. “I like Bitch and Animal a lot, but truthfully the music was not as sophisticated as it is now. Her CD was so different than her past stuff. She had grown so much, and her dynamic range is so vast. I think that she is so brave and to have that kind of musical evolution happen in just a few years is amazing.”

Po’ Girl/Salt
The band — which includes former girlfriends Allison Russell and Awna Teixeira — creates the musical equivalent of sitting on an Arkansas front porch listening to a blues-meets-country jam. Russell and Teixeira also created their own separate project Salt which, according to Teixeira, gives the pair “more room to rock out.”

You Are Here
A brand new project brings together Ivan Coyote and Rae Spoon in a tale subtitled From White Hearse to White Horse.

Simpson confesses he’s a huge Coyote fan. “Ivan has found this place of peace, and is really peaceful with being Ivan. The work — simultaneously simple and complex — is flowing like it never has before.”

Truckers Memorial Project
Rae Spoon’s other is collaborative project with Rodney DeCroo. As the festival guide describes them, “Rodney and Rae don’t seem to need any sort of ‘alt’ distancing from straight-up, uncut, shit-kicking country.”

Appearing Sunday on the Under the Volcano stage:

Brigee K
Volcano producer Meegan Maultsaid describes Brigee K as “the best female MC in Vancouver” and “an explosive live performer.” From dancehall to hip hop to jungle and soul, Brigee brings genuine electricity and unpredictability to her live set, a rare talent truly much bigger than this city.

Sara Kendall
“Once she starts beatboxing,” says Maultsaid, “the energy will rise and people will dance and feel like they are a part of something for that 90 minutes.”