Since 2008

Princeton Traditional Music Festival

Festival Notes

June 26

Six weeks from now the Princeton Traditional Music Festival will be filling downtown Princeton with music and song. The festivities begin with the opening ceremony at 6 pm on Friday, 17 August. Right after that is the Festival’s annual participatory street dance. This year the dance will be hosted by the Rattlebone Band, a high-energy dance band that has graced the Festival for many years. All dances will be taught and you don’t even have to bring a partner. On Saturday and Sunday, August 18 and 19 there will be music downtown from 10 am until 6 pm. And it’s all free – no admission is charged. This year will feature many familiar musicians from past years as well as a number of new performers.

One of the new groups coming this year is the Amalgamated Doukhobor Choir from Castlegar. Festival organizers are very excited about the appearance of this group. In 2013 Trichoir, a Doukhobor men’s choir that no longer exists, was enthusiastically received at the Festival and ever since organizers have tried to find a Doukhobor group to include in the Festival. Finally last autumn they went to the Doukhobor Centre in Grand Forks who very kindly helped out, the result of which is the appearance of the Amalgamated Doukhobor Choir at this year’s Festival.

For those not familiar with the Doukhobors -- they are a Spiritual Christian religious group originally from Russia. They are pacifists who lived in their own villages, rejected personal materialism, worked together, and developed a tradition of oral history and memorizing and singing hymns and verses. Their pacifism and “heretical” beliefs did not endear them to the Russian government who, because of international pressure, agreed to let them leave the country as long as they never returned and as long as they paid their own passage.

When they came to Canada the Doukhobors settled first on the Prairies and then in the Kootenay and Boundary districts of BC where, until the middle of the last century, they lived communally on self-sufficient farms. Today some of those farms are historical sites and the Doukhobors have become integrated into Canadian society. True to their pacifist traditions the Doukhobors take a very active part in movements for peace.

The Doukhobors have a rich tradition of a capella singing that originated in Russia in the early 1800s prior to the migration of the Doukhobors to Canada in 1899. This style of singing relies upon the oral transmission of the melody without written musical notes. Doukhobor repertoire is divided into psalms, hymns and folk songs. The themes of the compositions range from prayerful contemplation to others honouring major events and leaders of Doukhobor history. The Amalgamated Doukhobor Choir from Castlegar is drawn from various Doukhobor choirs that have performed at events in Canada, USA, and Russia, singing in honour of peace and freedom, to celebrate or commemorate life.

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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.

Tuba bell

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.


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


Funding for the Festival comes from donations, as well as grants from the Town of Princeton, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, the Province of British Columbia, and the Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage Program of Canadian Heritage.

We thank you all!

Festival Audience



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