Jon Bartlett and Rika Ruebsaat have organized the festival for the past 12 years. Spotlight file photo

Jon Bartlett and Rika Ruebsaat have organized the festival for the past 12 years. Spotlight file photo

Princeton Traditional Music Festival cancelled for 2020

Princeton’s Traditional Musical Festival, held each year in August, has been cancelled for 2020 because of COVID-19.

“We’re really sorry to let it go this year,” said Jon Bartlett, festival coordinator. “We know how much it means, not just to the music and song community of southwest B.C., but also to the town’s restaurants and motels.”

Bartlett and his wife Rika Ruebsaat have organized the festival for 12 years.

It regularly draws at least 2,000 visitors to town and attracts more than 100 performers from across North America, as well as often drawing musicians from other continents.

For three days Vermilion Avenue is closed to traffic, while enthusiasts entertain the crowds from three seperate stages, and there is – literally – dancing in the streets.

Traditional music is music that has been passed on orally from one generation to the next. It’s music that comes out of communities and is about everyday life in the form of sea shanties, murder ballads, logging, mining and fishing songs and dance.

The decision to cancel the festival was made with “heavy hearts,” said Bartlett. “But it’s for the best if it keeps us all safe.”

Related: Princeton hosts Western Canada’s only festival devoted exclusively to traditional music

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At least 2,000 people visit Princeton each August for the Traditional Music Festival. Spotlight file photo

At least 2,000 people visit Princeton each August for the Traditional Music Festival. Spotlight file photo