Chances are you have never heard of Maillardville, a small but vibrant community in the city of Coquitlam near Vancouver, BC. Maillardville celebrated its 100th birthday in 2009 and is well-known to the locals for being the largest francophone community in the Vancouver area. It is also known to folk music lovers for hosting Le Festival du Bois, the largest celebration of francophone, Quebecois music, dance, craft, food, heritage and culture in British Columbia,
The family-friendly festival spans over two days (March 3-4) and offers an incredible array of artists and activities. Have you ever tasted the famous Poutine, a culinary delicacy of Quebec composed of French fries, gravy and cheese? How about trying some maple taffy (tire d’érable or sugar on snow) made of boiling maple sap poured on clean white snow? You can find them all at the Festival du Bois while strolling through Mackin Park and discovering the history of Maillardville.
The 23rd edition of the festival includes performers such as:
Bon Débarras (Quebec): (“good riddance”) a trio of young multi-instrumentalists who meld tradition and modernity to deliver original roots music driven by the beat of podorythmie (foot percussion).
Ligue du Bonheur (Ontario): (“League of Happiness”) This Franco-Ontarian quintet plays, sings and dances the traditional music of Eastern Ontario with a very modern sensibility along with good old-fashioned joie de vivre!
Juan Sebastian Larobina (Quebec): Mexican in his heart, Argentinean in his soul and Gaspésien by adoption, Larobina’s music brilliantly melds all traditions to create a dynamic new roots music he calls “Latino- Gaspésien”.
Qristina & Quinn Bachand (BC): This young brother and sister duo from Victoria have quickly captured the attention of the Celtic music world! Qristina is an expressive fiddler, Quinn a gifted Celtic guitarist. Together they play music that’s energetic, refreshing and bold.
TANGA (BC): TANGA is Vancouver’s premier Afro-Latin dance band, with a sound that is equal parts Cuban dancehall, Afro-Latin folklórica and old-school New Yoriquen funk.
Guillaume Arsenault (Quebec): A son of Bonaventure in the Gaspé Penninsula, Guillaume Arsenault grew up listening to the traditional sounds of Quebec and Acadia, along with more contemporary song-smiths. Now with a sound all his own, this outstanding singer-songwriter has a string of awards and accolades to his name.
A complete program of this year’s festival is available here.
With an average 15000 visitors every year, the Festival du Bois is a busy one. So avoid the lines and purchase your tickets in advance.