Eighth Annual

Princeton Traditional Music Festival

Friday 14 to Sunday 16 August ~ 2015



While CEOs and corporations float in a stratosphere of riches, much of the world struggles on the ground just trying to get by. Everywhere, including Canada, the gap between the rich and the poor is getting wider each day. If you think about it too much, especially if you’re near the bottom of the financial heap, you could get really depressed. The Princeton Traditional Music Festival would like to pull you out of the doldrums by offering a whole hour called “Songs of Social Justice,” that will feature songs about the struggle for a better world.

Songs about social justice have a long and respected history. Those of us who grew up in the ‘sixties will remember the civil rights movement in the US. Songs such as “We Shall Overcome,” “If I Had a Hammer” and “Where Have all the Flowers Gone?” became the anthems of a generation trying to break out of the conformity and racism of the ‘fifties. Union members who have been out on strike will likely have heard or sung, “Solidarity Forever.” There are numerous other union songs that speak of struggles for safe working conditions and fare wages. Some of these songs come out of the coal mines of Britain and the Appalachians. The early coal mines on Vancouver Island also produced songs of solidarity and struggle.

The women’s movement of the ‘seventies was another fertile garden for song-making. It gave birth to such songs as “I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar” and “There was a Young woman Who Swallowed a Lie.”

The “Songs of Social Justice” session will feature an impressive array of singers who will share their repertoire of political songs. Bob Bossin from Gabriola Island has been rocking the musical boat for decades. He is the originator of the musical trio, Stringband that performed in coffeehouses and universities in the early ‘seventies. It soon became better known and began touring nationally and internationally. The group was socially activist, performing frequently for anti-war, environmental and other causes.

Linda Chobotuck from Burnaby grew up in a political family and was familiar with picket lines and demonstrations from an early age. She is a fine song-maker whose topics range from working in an office or a fish plant to songs about what you owe your boss.

The Rabbleberries, a quartet from Victoria, much in demand for political gatherings and social causes, brings its tasty harmonies and multi-instrumentality to energize its social message.

Tom Rawson is a folksinger and storyteller from Orcas Island in Washington, strongly influenced by Pete Seeger’s passionate commitment to socially conscious music. He travels all over the Northwest playing at festivals and coffeehouses as well as leading community singing at conferences and retreats.

The Songs of Social Justice workshop is just one item on the rich menu of music available at the Princeton Traditional Music Festival. The Festival begins at 6:15 pm on Friday 14 August with an opening ceremony and a participatory dance on Veterans’ Way. On Saturday and Sunday there is music from 10 am until 6 pm right in downtown Princeton. It’s all free and everyone is welcome. 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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