Tenth Annual

Princeton Traditional Music Festival

Friday 18 to Sunday 20 August ~ 2017

Audience in Veteran's Square

Read the biographies of last year's performers here. Some of them have web sites, so please take the time to click on the links and see what they have to show you there.

There will be some favourites coming back. We do however make sure that there are new performers every year.

This page will be updated when all performers have registered. Stay tuned!

(2016 schedules here)



It is with pleasure that we once again welcome Alex Atamanenko to his seventh appearance at the Festival. Alex has been singing for many years both as a solo performer and with a group called the Balladeers. He performs regularly in seniors’ homes in the Castlegar area. Alex will be singing songs in Russian, a language he learned at home, as well as Canadian folk songs and songs of the 1960’s folk revival. Alex will be performing with Nick Plotnikoff and Wendy Voykin.


Mary Armitage’s journey into folk music began in London in the 1960s and then brought her to the Vancouver Folk Song Society almost nine years ago. A regular face at the Princeton Traditional Music Festival, she returns this year with a variety of her favourite traditional songs, accompanying herself on guitar and with the help of special guests. Audience participation, please! Her CD “Second Chances” is on sale at the Festival. Visit her website at http://maryarmitage.ca


Jon Bartlett and Rika Ruebsaat are the founders of this festival and have been singing together for over forty years. Their repertoire ranges from sea shanties and traditional ballads to logging and mining songs. Their particular love is the songs of BC. They have collected songs and history in the Princeton Archives dating as far back as 1900. The result of this research is two books: Dead Horse on the Tulameen: Settler Verse from BC’s Similkameen Valley, and the award-winning Soviet Princeton: Slim Evans and the 1932/33 Miners’ Strike, and a CD, “Now It’s Called Princeton: Songs and Poems from the Upper Similkameen” which contains 27 Similkameen songs and poems. All of these items will be for sale at the Festival. Visit their website at www.jonandrika.org


This trio from Seattle consists of Mary Garvey, Mary Wilson and George Austin. They have been singing together for many years and sing a variety of traditional music, especially maritime songs. They have sung on several CDs of Northwest music, all of which will be for sale at the Festival. George supplements the Northwest orientation of the two Marys with songs from his native New England. All three have participated in Seattle’s Northwest Folklife Festival as well as at other festivals in the Pacific Northwest.


Blackie and Pete from Vancouver consists of Rick Blacklaws on shuttle pipes and Peter Huron on guitar. Peter has performed and recorded Celtic music for over 40 years. He has released many recordings on the Plant a Tree label. His arrangements and compositions have been featured on Radio Canada and the NFB. Rick Blacklaws has played pipes since the age of ten. Shuttle Pipes are a type of bagpipe which derive their name from the drones that use a sliding “shuttle” to change pitch. Blackie and Pete have CDs for sale at the Festival


Heather Burles from Chilliwack is a former member of the Balkan singing group, Zeelia. She now sings in English, a language, she says, she understands. Heather performs a capella traditional songs from Britain and Ireland as well as playing Irish airs on an O’Brien pennywhistle.


Linda Chobouck from Burnaby writes: “I grew up in a singing family, resenting being sent to bed when my parents held a hootenany. But this left me with an extensive introduction to folk music in both American and British traditions. In that milieu everyone I respected as a musician was also a songwriter, so from an early age I wrote music. I am perhaps best know as a singer and writer of labour songs, the most widely recorded of which is “Canning Salmon”, which I wrote while working in a cannery in Richmond. I am currently a librarian with Burnaby Public Library, but I promise not to sing the date-due stamping shanty.”


Claddach from Kelowna sings traditional and contemporary songs that illuminate social and/or political aspects of the human condition. They do it for fun! Claddach consists of Rob Corbett, Lorraine Helgerson and Ross McRae. Claddach has CDs for sale at the Festival.


Barry Cole from Bellingham taught himself to play the autoharp in 1972. He has learned to play 14 other instruments and to sing while playing most of them. He has informally collected and arranged a multitude of dance tunes, traditional ballads and rich chorus songs from pubs, sailing ships and many trades. He also plays for dances – Morris, contra, squares and international. During his performance Barry will play some tunes, sing some songs and tell their history.


Coming and Going is a duo of stalwarts from Vancouver’s Jericho Folk Club Tuesday night jams, featuring Michael Burnyeat on fiddle accompanied by Don Davidson on mandolin, Coming and Going cruises through an eclectic mix of traditional and original fiddle tunes. Feet will shuffle, toes will tap and dancing may break out.


The Digitary Do’s are a Vancouver-based English Country Dance band who play the music that would have been enjoyed by dancers of all ages and backgrounds back in the “old country,” from the village fair to the stately ballrooms of the Regency period. The group’s name might sound suspiciously like “digeridoos,” but that’s only because the group contains a wayward Australian. The tunes and songs they perform date from the Medieval period, the 1600s, the Jacobean uprising and all the way to the present day, helping to keep English Country Dancing alive in the 21st century.


The Drunken Maidens from Seattle is an all-woman quintet that specializes in tight vocal harmonies, inspired by performers such as Sweet Honey in the Rock, Great Big Sea and the Wailin’ Jennys. The group incorporates guitar, fiddle, mandolin, whistles, dulcimer and percussion into their performances. Threads from traditional ballads, sea shanties, old-time and early music are woven together to produce a colourful and varied blend of old and new British and American music. The Drunken Maidens have CDs for sale at the Festival. Visit their website at www.thedrunkenmaidens.com


Rosaleen Gregory from Nelson was born in England with Irish, Welsh, Scottish and French ancestry. She discovered traditional songs in books, recordings and from musical friends. Some songs she sings a capella and some with guitar accompaniment, with the help of her husband, David Gregory. Rosaleen has participated in festivals and workshops in Britain and Canada. She had a regular column entitled “Singing the Child Ballads” in the magazine of the Canadian Society for Traditional Music. She wants to share and introduce others to the music, poetry, stories, moods and mystery of the British tradition. Rosaleen has CDs for sale at the Festival. Visit her website at www.rosaleengregory.ca


Jason Hall from Vancouver plays the Hungarian tárogató, a distant relative of the clarinet. Born of the intersection between Middle Eastern tonality and Middle European melody, Hungarian music is quixotic and changeable. The tárogató bridges these worlds because it is a classical concert instrument for the gentry and as a folk instrument for everyone else. As one of only two British Columbia tárogató players, Jason explores traditional music you can still hear in the mountains of Carpathia or on the plains of Pannonia and at the same time bringing a uniquely West Coast sensibility to this haunting instrument.


Tim Hall from Seattle is a singer of songs from varied traditions – from old-time to maritime to ragtime. He is an accomplished instrumentalist on guitar, banjo and concertina and a collector of wonderfully clever and fun songs.


Hard Row from Armstrong consists of Kim and Kaila Sinclair, father and daughter, who come together to enjoy the richness of traditional music. They often play on their own but perform together as often as they can, telling stories in songs that have survived through generations. They like to change rhythm and morph lyrics to make songs speak to today’s issues. This will be their fourth appearance at the Princeton Traditional Music Festival. Visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/A.Hard.Row


Stewart Hendrickson from Seattle plays fiddle and guitar and sings traditional songs from Britain and America. He participates in Irish sessions as well as performing throughout the Pacific Northwest. Stewart studied classical violin but gave it up for guitar and singing and later for fiddling. He studied voice at college while majoring in chemistry and taught chemistry for 28 years before retiring to become a full-time folk musician. Visit his website at http://stewarthendrickson.com


The Irish Wakers from Vancouver perform lively traditional Irish tunes (reels, jigs, polkas, hornpipes) on uilleann pipes, guitar, fiddle and bodhran and harmonize on traditional shanties and other songs. The group plays at festivals, pubs, and fundraisers. They are thrilled to be back performing at Princeton. Visit their website at www.irishwakers.com


Jim and Madeleine are a duo from the Lower Mainland consisting of Jim Edmondson and Madeleine Delittle. They have performed nine times over three days at the Fort Langley Brigade Days. Madeleine was a singing washerwoman at the Fort. Jim was a traveling bard who trapped and searched for gold. The songs they sing are about those lives and that time.


Just Tyme from Kelowna consists of Eddie and Elizabeth Plotnikoff, who play a variety of fiddle, old-time, country and Irish music and songs. Eddie recently celebrated the release of his new CD of original Celtic/blues fiddle tunes called “Ides of Tides” with its Cape Breton and Irish influences. Just Tyme has CDs for sale at the Festival.


The songs David Kessler sings are surrounded by the odd stories of how he learned them… and where …and what he had to trade for them. He uses these stories to explain where in his brain the songs live. With memories of growing up in New England, living in Israel, hiking in Scotland, marching in Basel, sailing in various countries, drinking in various bars, opening various books, etc. He has co-founded a shantysing, a rum cruise and the Single Malt and Song Society. He co-produced the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony and created The Child Book of Etiquette, which will be for sale at the festival. Visit David’s website at www.ouphrontis.com


John Kidder from Ashcroft had the great fortune to have been a working cowboy in his youth. He performs stories, songs and poetry about the tragedies and cowboy humour of the range, braided with a personal history. This is not about the Hollywood/Tin Pan Alley cowboy, but about the vaqueros and master horsemen in early California, the poor Irish and black boys who drove wild cattle thousands of miles in hostile territory. It is also about their successors who “keep the old skills that came up the trail from Mexico.” And at last you too will learn to throw the houlihan.


Liberty from Sorrento consists of Harry and Jenny O’Neill, Nils Chase and Bob Cameron. Harry and Jenny have played traditional music (jigs, reels, hornpipes, etc.) and songs from Ireland and the British Isles for many years. Harry played button accordion in a ceili band in England for over 30 years. Harry and Jenny now divide their time between Ireland, Spain and BC. They have played in sessions, concerts and festivals in Spain, Ireland, the US and Canada. When in BC they play with Nils (fiddle) and Bob (guitar, mandolin) and have added American old-time songs and tunes to their repertoire. “Liberty” is the name of a popular old-time fiddle tune.


Little Mountain Step ‘n Clog from Vancouver formed 20 years ago and is one of only about 5 English clog dancing groups in North America. English clogs, with wooden soles and leather uppers, were once the industrial footwear worn in the Lancashire mills. The shoes make a lot of noise, so workers developed dances to take advantage of that. English clog dancing is one of the sources of tap dancing. Little Mountain’s dances come from England, the Isle of Man, Connecticut and Canada.


David Lowe from Victoria has been singing traditional songs of the British Isles for many years, both as a soloist and with the group In the Creel. Recently while living and working in Thailand, Mauritania and China, his eyes were opened anew to the “poetry of the human condition,” which he began to chronicle in his own words. The songs that emerged are distinguished by vivid images and a strong sense of place. With his clear tenor voice and evocative guitar playing, David entertains with songs old and new.


Lyn Pinkerton grew up in the American south, where some think of themselves as a conquered nation and still feel the wounds. Others think of themselves as having been deceived by a falsely promised liberation. Stoney Bird grew up during the Cold War with its witch hunts and propagandizing. His early family life had a markedly different feel as he became aware of what the CIA – his father’s employer – was actually doing in the world. Lyn and Stoney’s performance will reflect upon the lies that governments virtually always tell when persuading all of us that another war is necessary.


Martingale from Vancouver consists of Peter Huron on voice and guitar and John Walsh on Uilleann pipes. Peter and John have performed and recorded together for 30 years from the seminal west coast group Martingale to the inventive critically acclaimed Celtic Works Orchestra. Come and see history in action! Peter and John have CDs for sale at the Festival.


Immanuel and Francis McKenty from Manson’s Landing are a tap dancing, violin-playing duo of multi-instrumentalist brothers. Raised on the west coast, the McKenty Brothers have a repertoire of songs and of traditional and old-time Canadian and Irish fiddle tunes. Their robust harmonies and sweet lyrics are accompanied by fiddles, cello and percussion. The McKenty Brothers have CDs for sale at the Festival. Please visit their website at http://mckentybrothersmusic.bandcamp.com/releases


The Merry McKentys are a six-piece family band made up of four brothers, one sister, a dad, three fiddles, a guitar, a mandolin and an accordion with frequent guest appearances by other instruments and family members. Mixing sweet three-part fiddle harmonies with foot-stomping traditional dance tunes, the Merry McKentys have delivered their high-spirited, smile-producing music from street corners to concert halls on several continents. The Merry McKentys have CDs for sale at the Festival. Visit their website at www.merrymckentys.com


Mike and Nakos Marker from Bellingham are a father and son duo who have been performing together for over 8 years. Mike performed at folk clubs in Britain, was a crew member on the sloop Clearwater in New York state and an artist in residence in Oregon schools. He was an instructor at the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop and has played at many festivals throughout the Cascadia region and beyond. Nakos is an accomplished dobro player who plays a wide repertoire and has performed with bands that include bluegrass, blues and country music. He currently performs with the Bellingham-based bluegrass duo Marcel and Nakos.


Orville Murphy, Jerry Middaugh and Joanne Rideout play old-time and traditional songs about the “good old days” of the civil war, prohibition, the Depression and World War II. Orville is originally from Kentucky where he learned to tell stories from Uncle Jim. He learned to play Gospel, hymns and blues on the harmonica from his grandmother and his aunt. Jerry Middaugh is originally from Ohio and has deep roots in Appalachian music. He sings and plays guitar, banjo and mandolin. Joanne Rideout has been singing and playing guitar since she was a child, harmonizing at family gatherings and potlucks. Murphy and Middaugh have CDs for sale at the Festival. Visit their website at www.murphyandmiddaugh.com


Orkestar Šlivovica is Vancouver’s own Balkan Brass band, playing wedding and festive music from Serbia and Macedonia, where no such occasion is complete without it. Drawing heavily on the Romani (”gypsy”) traditions, the music is played from the heart and soul. The 8-12 piece ensemble plays and sings a diverse repertoire, from insanely fast dance tunes to heart wrenching songs, often in crooked rhythms and exotic scales. Orkestar Šlivovica will be leading the dance on Friday evening. The band also has CDs for sale at the Festival. Visit their website at www.orkestarslivovica.org


Oxygen Orkestar is a good party band that likes to make you dance in your pants. Playing a variety of eastern European inspired songs, the group adds a touch of humour to their “much fun” performance! Hailing from Nelson BC, Oxygen Orkestar likes to think of itself as being from the Balkans of BC, nestled in the Eastern Mountains, facing hardships, coming up singing!


Michael Pratt is a singer, concertina player and fiddler from Vancouver. Michael draws on his Irish roots and on the British folk revival in which he was involved in the early ‘70s before coming to Canada. Michael has performed at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival four times with Tête à Tête, Celtic Traditions and other bands playing traditional songs and tunes. Now he also performs many of his own songs reflecting life on the West Coast.


The Rabbleberries first came together for Victoria’s Tall Ships Festival in 2005. They liked each others’ company so much that they thought up a band name and kept rehearsing. Sharon Hazelwood is a long time singing activist. She and songwriter Karen Gilmore are also members of the vocal quartet Virgo Rising. Ron Gilmore likes to play his five-string bass while Alan O’Dean plays guitar in open tuning, tinkers with autoharps and writes songs as though he were somebody famous. The Rabbleberries has CDs for sale at the Festival. Visit their website at http://rabbleberries.ca


Rattlebone Band is part of the Morris dance scene in Vancouver. The band members are also members of the Vancouver Morris Men and they are as swift on their feet as they are with their fingers. Rattlebone plays rollicking English jigs, reels and hornpipes as well as throwing in the odd song. The band often puts on ceilidh dances.


Rakkab from Vancouver plays traditional Turkish, Arabic, Hebrew and Greek music. The group consists of Dan (Shareef) Mason on baglama saz (Turkish long-necked lute), Larissa Payne on vocals, Bill MacLachlan on bouzouki and flute, and Mike O’Connor on darbukka (goblet drum). They have been playing together since 2003. Rakkab is very excited to feature the sparkle and grace of premier oriental belly dancers Aviva and Nina D who are known for their engaging stage presence and classical style.


Tom Rawson is a folksinger and storyteller from Orcas Island in Washington, strongly influenced by Pete Seeger’s passionate commitment to honest music. He travels all over the Northwest playing at festivals and coffeehouses as well as leading community singing at conferences and retreats. Tom involves his audience throughout his set with gospel, old-time and contemporary easy-to-sing-with songs. Tune up your vocal cords – you’ll need them. Tom has CDs for sale at the Festival. Visit his website at www.tomrawson.com


The Relative Miners are Bevan Bartlett, Morgan Bartlett and Stephen Ruebsaat. Coming from a family with a rich musical tradition, the three of them have been involved in music since childhood, with outputs ranging from hip hop to Balkan brass, to heavy metal. Coming together for their first performance as a group, they will be performing mostly traditional songs with a focus on North American songs. Expect rich harmonies, sweet slide guitar and probably a pun or two.


Brad Reynolds from Seattle performs traditionally-based original songs and tunes about tree huggers, Viet Nam, stolen elections, the Chukanut Hills and bad dogs. Born and raised in Kansas, Brad abandoned dreams of being a classical pianist and moved west where he has played Irish, bluegrass, contra, gospel, Balkan, Scandihoovian and Québecois music. He can also tune your piano. Brad has CDs and cassettes for sale at the Festival.


Brian Robertson from Vancouver is perhaps best known for his finely crafted songs about the west coast based on a lifetime of living and working there. His work life has been varied – commercial fisherman, cabbie, engineer, economist and historian – and from that springs the variety and depth of his subject matter. He is a purveyor of some fine songs about work, love, travel, local history and the blues as well as being a singer of rousing shanties. When he’s not singing solo, Brian is a passionate Celtic musician with the Irish Wakers. Brian has CDs for sale at the Festival.


Chris Roe has been a lover of traditional music since her teenage years in the mid ‘60s. She has spent time as a Morris dancer, a harp player, a student of early music and an active member of the maritime music community in the Puget Sound area. Her main passion is a capella singing and she welcomes audience participation. Chris has CDs for sale at the Festival.


Harley Rothstein from Vancouver will perform a set entitled “Songs of Love and Humanity” comprised of folk songs from North America and Britain. As a solo performer with guitar, Harley loves it when people sing along. Almost all his songs have choruses so bring your vocal cords!


Norbert Ruebsaat from New Denver will sing the first songs he learned when he arrived in Canada at age six. He learned English by singing it without, at first, knowing what he was singing about. Later in life Norbert wrote stories about learning these songs and about learning English. He will read some of these stories during his performance.


Helen Shilladay is an a capella singer who sings British folk songs. Her background is the folk scene in the UK, specifically Derbyshire where the old traditions of morris dancing, folklore and singing in alehouses is still very strong. She began singing several years ago, performing at festivals and sessions. She also sang with Lester Simpson and Bob Fox and with her duo, Fair Game. Helen’s repertoire ranges from jolly to melancholy to downright bawdy. She loves songs that tell of joys and woes and that are still as valid today as they were hundreds of years ago.


Songtree is Barbara Jackson and Earle Peach from Vancouver who have been sharing their lives and their music for more than 30 years. They are involved in many musical and community projects, both together and individually. They perform a fine collection of mostly traditional songs from the 14th to the 21st century. The arrangements are original, the harmonies are beautiful, the story-telling is moving and the variety is remarkable. At the Festival they will focus on French songs. Songtree has CDs for sale at the Festival.


Patrick Spearing began singing at the Bristol Troubadour Club in Britain in 1967. He came to Canada in 1969 and sang in Irish pubs around the US and Canada and ended up at the Vancouver Folk Song Circle. He performed with Jon Bartlett at the Medieval Inn in 1971, followed by a singing residency at the Blarney Stone in Gastown. Over the past number of years he has participated in folk and Celtic gatherings in Victoria before moving “off the grid” near Lumby.


Phillip Tidd from Salmon Arm began singing folk music in the early ‘60s in his native East Anglia. In the ‘70s in Vancouver he was an active member of the Vancouver Folk Song Society where he co-hosted “Folk Circle” on Co-op Radio. His current interest is in songs that tell stories, particularly broadsides and other ballads that have a strong narrative. These are what he will be focusing on at the Festival.


Simon Trevelyan from Langley is a mainstay of this Festival and we welcome him back. Simon says of his performance at this year’s Festival: “Come and learn a few African American field hollers, the earliest surviving slave songs and precursors of spirituals. Sing and clap to the rhythms of Africa. Learn about the important history of these songs and their influence on the development of music in America.”


Triskele from West Kelowna consists of Myranda O’Byrne and Michael Price together with the fine fiddling of Heather Fenwick and Tracy Beckett. With the addition of Appalachian dulcimer, guitar and bodhran, Triskele performs traditional Celtic songs and ballads as well as jigs,reels, polkas, waltzes and strathspeys. Myranda is a member of Teachers Without Borders and for several years the group worked as musical ambassadors/facilitators in Mexico and has donated its earnings to help children in the village where they work. Visit their website at http://triskele.shawwebspace.ca


Morris dancing is a very old type of dance from England, traditionally danced only by men. The Vancouver Morris Men have been dancing together for over thirty years. Go to any street festival in the Lower Mainland and you’ll probably see them dancing with bells ringing and handkerchiefs waving. They have also been known to dance on dark, rainy parking lots on Guy Fawkes Night. Enjoy their “guerrilla” street dancing this weekend and visit their website at www.vancouvermorrismen.org


The Van Lidth de Jeude Family from Bowen Island consists of three generations with a tradition of singing together that was fostered by the Vancouver Folk Song Society. They hope to delight audiences with a careful blend of harmonies woven together within traditional songs from the Appalachians and Canada.


Craig Williams from Burnaby is one half of Juke Joint Jokers. Performing solo this year, Craig will continue his love of rural blues from the 20s through to the ‘40s. Playing everything from harmonica and guitar (including bottleneck) to cigar box guitar, his performance is sure to be interesting, varied and also educational.


David and Mary Lowther from Mesachie Lake on Vancouver Island are Without a Net. David sings and plays things with strings while Mary sings and plays things you blow into. They perform a mixture of traditional klezmer music and original songs with a frankly cynical inclination. After twenty years of marriage to a clarinet player, David has learned to tune his banjo to an open B-flat. Only recently did he discover that other banjo players consider him eccentric. Mary wonders what took them so long. Without a Net has CDs for sale at the Festival.


Zlatna Mountain is a vocal harmony quartet from Vancouver that sings in various Balkan languages – mostly Macedonian but sometimes Bulgarian and Serbian. The four women sing songs that tell stories of everyday life in the Balkans, with messages for all listeners.


RDOS    Princeton    BC logo

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.

Slivovica Band

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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