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Critic's Picks: Islands Folk Festival; Vic West Fest; Flamenco

Our top picks for the week ahead: Islands Folk Festival; Vic West Fest; Victoria Flamenco Festival
Duncan-based Mohawk artist Logan Staats will perform at Islands Folk Festival on Saturday at 7 p.m. CNW Group/SOCAN Foundation

Islands Folk Festival

Where: Providence Farm, 1843 Tzouhalem Road

When: Friday though Sunday July 21-23

Admissions: $60 (Friday), $90 (Saturday) and $50 (Sunday), $140 for a weekend pass; half-price passes available for youth

Why: The long-time folk festival at Duncan returns to a three-day, five-stage weekend event with a strong emphasis on local Cowichan Valley and Island artists. The must-watch act this year — according to Jan Campbell, a longtime festival volunteer and event organizer — is Logan Staats, a Duncan-based Mohawk artist who won this year’s SOCAN Indigenous Songwriter award. Staats will perform on the Islands Stage on Saturday at 7 p.m.. Weekend camping options on the 400-acre farm are available for additional cost.

Vic West Fest

Where: Banfield Park, 521 Craigflower Road

When: Saturday, 12 p.m.-6 p.m.

Admissions: Free

Why: This year’s all day, family friendly celebration of the Vic West neighbourhood features music curated by Vinyl Envy records store (Sharon, Sofia Sol Trio, Lady Phyl, Ranger, and the Wes Carroll Confabulation). But if you can only make one set, the smooth-listening Sofia Sol Trio featuring the soulful Colombian vocalist Gabriela Dominguez begins at 1:30 p.m. But there will be plenty to see and do at the event all day, including a roller-skate exhibition, an artisans market, and kid-focused activities. There’s even a friendly dog competition, with prizes awarded for the ugliest dog and the best celebrity imitation (done by a dog).

Victoria Flamenco Festival

Where: Free events at Cameron Bandshell; ticketed events at The Mint, 1414 Douglas St., and Glenlyon Norfolk School, 781 Richmond Ave.

When: July 22-29

Admissions: Free and ticketed music events ranging from $17.31-$30, $65.23 for dance classes

Why: Sometimes, you just can’t help but move your hips along to flamenco music. There will be plenty of opportunities to do so in the city starting Saturday, with the return of the Victoria Flamenco Festival. While increased costs and fundraising struggles have meant that this year’s outdoor events are not being held at Centennial Square, theFlamenco de la Isla Society will be hosting the festival’s free performances at the Cameron Bandshell in Beacon Hill Park instead from 12 p.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Ticketed performances include an offering from noted auteur Veronica Maguire, who is directing and performing in Bienvenida Prima! on July 28.

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