Eighth Annual

Princeton Traditional Music Festival

Friday 14 to Sunday 16 August ~ 2015


Friday Dance

The Princeton Traditional Music Festival presents music that comes out of communities where people participate in music-making. The Festival tries to provide this sense of participation by remaining intimate. Performers are close to the audience and invite them to participate by singing along or by dancing.

The ultimate participatory experience at the Festival is the Shanty Session under the gazebo in Veterans’ Square. Shanties are songs that were sung by sailors on tall ships. The songs helped sailors work in rhythm and gave them extra oomph while raising sails or hauling in the anchor. Shanties were led by a shantyman, an experienced sailor who knew the right rhythm for each job. Shanties also had simple choruses that were easy to learn and sing so that everyone could join in.

Shanties can be sung only in a group. The Shanty Session at the Festival dispenses with the stage and the microphones and gathers everyone under the gazebo to sing. The gazebo provides almost cathedral-like resonance for all the voices joined together. Each shanty is led by an experienced shantyperson and the choruses are easy to join in on. Being in the middle of so many voices joined together under the gazebo can be a transcendent experience. For many people it is the high point of the Festival.

This year the shanties will be led by many expert shantypersons. Come and join the singing throng under the gazebo!

In early Princeton there were regular community dances with people of all ages participating both as dancers and as musicians. The Festival hopes to recreate the community spirit of those early dances with the Friday evening street dance. The streets will be closed off and in the middle of Veterans’ Way, right next to the Legion, there will be a stage for the band. A caller will teach the dances and guide people as they dance to the music on Veteran’s way. We have done this dance every year for the past seven years and it’s always been a big hit. People dance with their loved ones – spouses, offspring, siblings, grandchildren, friends – or with someone they’ve never met before. The caller’s skill soothes any dance phobias and the community spirit overrides shyness. The dance begins right after the 6;15 pm opening ceremony on Friday 14 August. Bring your family, friends, visitors and kick up your heels. If you have a broken leg you can come anyway and have fun watching everyone swing their partner.

The Shanty Session and the dance are just two of the events taking place at this year’s Princeton Traditional Music Festival. After the Friday evening dance there is music from 10 am until 6 pm on Saturday and Sunday August 15 and 16. The best thing about the Festival is that it’s free – no admission is charged. It’s run entirely by volunteers including the musicians. If you would like to find out more, visit the Festival’s website at www.princetontraditional.org. If you’d like to help out at the Festival or billet a performer the committee would love to hear from you.

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The Festival

Admission is FREE.  Events are held on several stages in the centre of Princeton and begin on Friday evening with a public street dance and an Irish ceili band. Between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday there's a potpourri of concerts, workshops, and jams.

The Scene

This event is primarily for and about the performers. Traditional Music lacks venue in the west, so players, singers, dancers, and fans are willing to travel in order to meet up. Professional performers are making personal sacrifices in order to be here, but the many people who come just to listen attests to the unique value of this event. For those new to the Festival please have a look at the Our Story page to learn about how it started and what Traditional Music means to us.


The Place

Nestled among rolling hills of ranchland, the little town of Princeton is the gateway to the Okanagan. About 300 km from Vancouver, it is the first town after Hope along the Crowsnest Highway. Summers are hot and dry - just what we like for our festival which takes place mostly in the streets.


In addition to the sponsors, this festival is primarily supported by hard work and artists who perform for free. However, we aim to pay for artist's meals and at least part of their transportation costs. Please consider contributing in order to help maintain this important cultural event.

Become a Member

You can support the continuing operation of the festival by buying a $10 membership.


Every year we need a stage crew, MCs, office staff, and many other important helpers. If you want to be part of this exciting event in this way, please let us know. volunteers@princetontraditional.org


We encourage the sale of food, crafts, art, and more at the Festival. Please contact the Vendor Coordinator. vendors@princetontraditional.org


Funding for the Festival comes from donations, as well as grants from the Town of Princeton, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, and the Province of British Columbia.

We thank you all!

Festival Audience



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