Everybody’s folkin’ for the weekend

Who's who of Canadian folk and roots gathering at Royal Athletic Park for Folkwest

Oliver Swain

Oliver Swain

Thanks to Oliver Swain’s desire to look beyond the strings of his stand-up bass, he and his fellow volunteers are on the cusp of Victoria’s first FolkWest.

The folk-roots festival launches Friday (Aug. 19) with a free sneak peak at Royal Athletic Park at 5 p.m., and continues Saturday and Sunday.

“I feel like we are on the brink of opening the doors of a really world-class international folk music festival in our first year,” said Swain, who initiated the planning two years ago.

“I can’t believe I’m saying that. I feel like I should be careful what I say, but I really believe that it’s true.”

The event will showcase two stages of live music and workshops, as well as a children’s festival, food, artisan crafts and a beer garden. A long lineup of renowned Canadian artists, such as Barney Bentall, Ron Sexsmith and Joy Kills Sorrow, among others, and several Island musicians, including Swain, will perform at the sports field and Logan’s Pub on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.

The festival is a chance for a wider audience to enjoy a diverse array of talent.

“There are still, I think, a lot of people discovering the beautiful, wonderful world of roots music,” Swain said.

Tickets can be purchased at www.folkwest.ca, Larsen Music, Long & McQuade, Hemp & Co. and Lyle’s Place.

Weekend passes are $60 for adults, $50 for youth ($50 for FolkWest members).

Single-day passes are $40 for adults, $30 for youth ($30 for FolkWest members). Children under 12 are free.