Performances in 2021: fingers crossed for late summer and autumn
April 30 – Brian, again accompanied by Michael, performed another live webinar with the folks at Ships2Shores, this one titled Singing the BC Coast History, aimed at the sometimes gritty social history of the area and featuring a number of songs from the PJ Thomas book, Songs of the Pacific Northwest, as well a few of Brian’s originals.
April 16 – Michael and Brian went national with a live cross-Canada webinar entitled Singing the BC Fishing, featuring songs and stories of BC’s most iconic industry. It was sponsored by Ships2Shores (https://ships2shores.ca/), a federally funded organization designed to acquaint young people with Canada’s wonderful maritime heritage.
Performances in 2020: due to Covid-19 precautions, no further public performances happened in this autumn.
September 12 – Another lovely garden concert with Brian and Michael Burnyeat, this time at the home of June Wells and hosted by the beloved musician and music organizer (Deep Cove North Van Coffee House), John Lyon. Also performing were Jane Slemon with Ellen Van der Hoeven, and John was joined by stalwart fiddler Mary Brunner and bassist Annie Bailey.
August 17-20 – The Princeton Traditional Music Festival for 2020 was another victim of Covid-19 precautions. A small group of friends did find their way for a small outdoor garden party at the home of the organizers, Jon Bartlett and Rika Reubsaat, to share songs and gossip and entertain passers by. A great time if somewhat bittersweet.
July 18 – Brian and Michael Burnyeat played two one hour garden concerts for separate (and socially distanced) audiences at the residence of friends Phyllis Ferguson and Lindsey Bottomer, true friends of folk music in the Vancouver area, especially in the time of Covid. See the Gallery for a video clip.
June 2 – The Trio had been booked to do the feature at the Jericho Folk Club, located at the Sailing Centre at the north foot of Discovery St. in Vancouver. This fine venue was heading into its 25th year, but all performances have been cancelled til further notice due to Covid 19 precautions.
February 14 – The Brian Robertson Trio will be the feature at the Deep Cove Saanich folk venue on Vancouver Island, just minutes from the BC Ferry Terminal at Swartz Bay. Following an hour of open mic performances, we played for an hour in front of one of the best folk audiences around. Some of our folkie friends describe this as their favourite venue on the coast and we have to say it’s right up there! Big thanks to Tark Hamilton, Farris Boyce, Fidel and all the other volunteers for a great evening.
February 5 – Brian joined fellow Trio member Michael Burnyeat, who was the feature along with other friends at the venerable Vancouver Folk Song Society, providing guitar backing and a couple of songs as a counterpoint to Michael’s sensational fiddling. The VFSS has been going every 1st and 3rd Wednesday for over 60 years, the last 30 being at the Friends’ Meeting Hall, 1000 West 70th Ave. in Vancouver.
Performances in 2019
November 22-23 – It was feasting and singing in the fine tradition of the country of Georgia at the Russian Hall on Campbell Ave. in Vancouver. It was the second annual Table Songs where pre-arranged tables of singers and dancers entertain the others. It feature 1-4-5 from Seattle, fine purveyors of Georgian traditional singing and featuring a wonderful young traditional dancer, a group of Hungarian singers, players and dancers, a similar group bringing Balkan music and finally, The Princeton Porch Party, being a group of my singing buddies and I who blasted forth huge chorus songs from British, Canadian and American sources.
November 21 – The Trio was the feature at the Steveston Folk Guild this evening, the perfect location for performing my song about the Fraser Delta based rum-runner, the Skeezix. Hosted by long time folkie stalwart Dave McArthur, it is a lovely venue on the South Arm of the Fraser River, located in the Chinese Bunkhouse along the Steveston waterfront, perfect for attending after dining at one of the fine nearby restaurants. Entry is $10 per person. Check out the website at www.stevestonfolk.net
October 19, 2019 – The Brian Robertson Trio performed at the UBC AppleFest for the first time, drawing an appreciative crowd despite the damp weather. This was preceded by Brian backing up the wonderful young fiddling duo of Michael and Micki
August 16-18 – It’s the 12th annual Princeton Traditional Folk Festival, where about a hundred fine musicians descend on this mountain town. As in last year’s celebration of free music, Brian was backed up by Michael Burnyeat in his set and returned the favour in Michael’s. Check the website http://princetontraditional.org/.
June 24 – The Band returned to Vancouver splitting up the two ferries with a lovely visit with musicians Gord Beynon (fellow engineering student way back when) and Michelle Bruce (premiere fiddling proponent on the Sunshine Coast). The Band found a good spot to jam on the Langdale to Horseshoe Bay ferry, and attracted an enthusiastic crowd of onlookers, who cheered, clapped and rewarded us with a “blue wave” (of $5 bills) before we touched dock.
June 23 – The Brian Robertson Band completed their mini-tour concert series by entertaining folks in Brian’s home town of Powell River this Sunday evening at the lovely venue of the Cranberry Community Hall. Special fun presenting songs of their place to those folks. Thanks to organizer Grant Elgaard who also hosted us with excellent repose and repast at his house.
June 22 – Following a most excellent feast provided by Andy, Sara and Steve at May’s Garden, The Band performed a Saturday night concert at the Co-op Café on Cortes Island to a highly appreciative crowd. Special thanks to Andy Vine and Aaron Ellingsen for organizing the venue and accommodations at May’s Garden. By the way, Andy’s running a B ‘n B operation complete with a wonderful glam camping set up.
June 21 – The Brian Robertson Band began The Great Ferry Tour (8 ferries) on Vancouver Island, and were the feature of the Nanaimo Folk Club at its regular 3rd Friday evening of music. We were joined in performance by the wonderful Amy Stephen and were rewarded with a standing ovation. Many thanks to Sue Averill for booking us, and to her and partner Tom for putting all of us up for the night and feeding us next morning!
June 7 – Brian performed with the Armchair Sailors – Lynn McGown, Michael Pratt and Vanessa Kay – at Folk Music on the Beach at the Hollyburn Sailing Club, 1326 Argyle in West Vancouver. Enjoyed amazing sunny views of English Bay from the North Shore along with opening acts Song Tree and joined the house fiddle band for a fun session.
May 30 – Brian backed up sensational fiddler Michael Burnyeat at Music and More on Main, 23rd & Main in Vancouver, with the audience crying for more even after two encores. This is a fine and popular local venue where a lot of performers get to try out their stuff before the feature comes on in the second half. Thanks to Tim and Barbara for keeping it going.
May 24-27 – The 48th Annual Northwest Folk Life Festival returned to the Seattle Center drawing tens of thousands of musicians and dancers, and hundreds of thousands of eager attendees. The festival is free to all, although donations to keep the festival going are strongly encouraged. Performances, jamming and dancing happened all week long, with some pretty great session sings at TS McHugh’s pub on Saturday and Sunday evenings.
April 4 – May 3 – It was off to Old Blighty for the Contradance week at Ely in Cambridgeshire, plus some exploration of roots and historical sites. Not to mention rambles in the Yorkshire Dales, the Lake District and west Leicestershire, generally winding up at fine country pubs. MAR-vellous!
March 17 – The Irish Wakers once again had a busy St. Paddy’s, playing a couple of sets to highly appreciative patrons of The Pint 455 Abbott St. in downtown Vancouver from 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm, and, later, it was the Wolf and Hound on the City’s west side at 3517 West Broadway from 9 pm ’til after midnight. Another wild evening of playing, singing and driving the dancing!
February 17 – The Brian Robertson Band were the feature at the Victoria Folk Music Society‘s regular Sunday evening. It was a great time – there was an enthusiastic full house and we were really feeling it! Got a standing ovation at the end of the concert. Playing tunes and songs on the ferry crossings was a gas too: surprised ferry patrons were pried away from their ear buds for a while and gave us lots of applause and appreciations. For more details about this fine old Victoria venue, go to http://www.victoriafolkmusic.ca/
January down under – Brian and partner Beth Walters travelled to New Zealand as part of a month-long house exchange with a couple from the St. Heliers Bay neighbourhood of Auckland. While there, Brian performed at the Devonport Bunker (3 times) and Rafters Folk Clubs, and helped lead some of the big singing sessions of the Auckland Folk Festival. If you’re ever in Auckland check these venues out. Special thanks to NZ folkie friends Bob Large and Lew Black for helping to make our visit so much fun!
Performances in 2018
November 18 – Brian along with Michael Burnyeat provided songs and instrumentals for a Sunday Service at the Vancouver Unitarian Church, 49th and Oak. The songs were a complement to an inspiring talk given by story-teller Nan Gregory, who described her journey from being an ordinary person immersed in the values of the settler culture to becoming an activist on behalf of aboriginal rights and environmental causes. After the service, Brian was invited to prepare a presentation/concert about BC history with a focus on the evolving relationship between mainstream and aboriginal cultures.
October 21 – Brian joined amazing fiddlers Michael Burnyeat and Mikki Lee and singer Sara Ann Chisholm as the opening act at the venerable St. James [Mel Lehan] Hall, 10th and Trutch in Vancouver. The main act was singer Matthew Byrne, widely regarded as one of leading tradition bearers of Newfoundland song. Doors at 7:00, show at 8:00.
October 14 – The Irish Wakers took to the Main Stage of AppleFest on this beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon at 2 pm. Big crowds enjoyed the wonderful weather and music, especially because most of the 30,000 pounds of specialty apples were sold out by end of day Saturday! Located in UBC‘s Botanical Gardens, this is a fun way to find out about more apple varieties than you ever thought existed. And taste them too!
October 13 – The Brian Robertson Band, with BC fiddle champion Michael Burnyeat and acclaimed multi-instrumentalist Victor Smith, performed in the intimate setting of Celtic Traditions, 3721 West 10th Ave. just west of Alma with an evening of originals, covers and hot tunes. A great evening with an enthusiastic audience that left everyone especially the performers with smiley faces and tapping toes. Michael Pratt and Lynn McGown operate a cool combination of Celtic woollen retail and music school with occasional concerts – check them out online at https://www.celtictraditions.ca/.
September 28-30 – The annual retreat of the Vancouver Folk Song Society at Camp Alexandra, south of Vancouver at Crescent Beach, included a fun Saturday session on Beach Songs hosted by Brian. This is a relaxed and friendly laid back weekend, ideal for folk musicians from the novice to the seasoned performer. The Society can be found online at http://www.folksongsociety.org/.
September 21-23 – The annual Chehalis Contradance Weekend was hosted by the Vancouver Country Dance Society and featured some great dance music and concerts by Peach Jam and The Dam Beavers. An added attraction was a well received presentation of songs by Brian entitled Working Life on the BC Coast.
September 13 – Brian appeared with the Armchair Sailors at the Maritime Museum, where they played some Tunes on the Terrace, from 6 – 8 pm. This was the last concert of the series until next May. For more details, go to https://vancouvermaritimemuseum.com/event/tunes-terrace.
September 7 – Brian provided guitar for the Celtic jam and performed an opening set at the Hollyburn Sailing Club (see below), on an evening that featured the amazing Illiteraty. Led by the inimitable Earle Peach, this must-see local band mainly performs a collection of his wonderfully arranged original songs.
August 21 – The Brian Robertson Band played to a full house as the feature at the Jericho Folk Club, at its wonderful location in the Jericho Sailing Centre, on the beach at the north foot of Discovery St. The Trio was in fine form as was the audience, singing the choruses at the tops of their lungs. Many thanks to the organizing committee, including Georgina Arntzen, Dave Lidstone, Lorraine (Rain) Baker and Roger Holdstock. The fun happens every second Tuesday throughout the summer until the end of September. Check the schedule and other details at http://www.jerichofolkclub.ca.
August 17-19 – What a blast this weekend is! We met up with friends old and new at the 11th Annual Princeton Traditional Folk Festival, a free smorgasbord of musical presentations, impromptu sessions, full throated group sings and general partying. Brian performed twice with Michael Burnyeat, trading roles as front man and back up, as well as with the full Irish Wakers band. Michael has been invited to the Canadian Grand Nationals in Ottawa at the end of August, the premier competition in all of Canada for elite fiddlers, and we’re all wishing him the very best success. For some festival flavour from last year here is one of our red hot fiddle tune sets, courtesy of Chris Dale:
The festival website is at http://princetontraditional.org.
August 10 – The Irish Wakers are slated to perform once again on the lovely open air stage of the Gulf of Georgia Cannery in Steveston. The show starts at 6:30. This venue usually sells out so make sure to be there in plenty of time. And try one of the many fine eateries along the waterfront before the show.
August 3 – The Brian Robertson Band was the main feature at Folk Music on the Beach at the Hollyburn Sailing Club, 1326 Argyle in West Vancouver. What lovely views of we had of First Narrows, English Bay and Georgia Strait with the mountains of Vancouver Island while we entertained an attentive, enthusiastic audience. Interspersed among Brian’s originals were some hot tunes led by Michael Burnyeat and Victor Smith in a show that stretched from narrative ballads with local settings to love and the blues to old timey and even a Cajun number. Thanks to Neil Carroll and Steve Britten for their leg work in creating this fine new venue for lovers of local folk music. Come out and enjoy an evening that begins with a fiddle tune session at 7:30 pm, two opening acts starting at 8:00 and the main feature around 9 pm. Admission well worth it at a mere $8 (for now). As it is a private club, one can byob!
May 24-27 – Seattle’s Northwest Folklife Festival, its 47th annual, took place over this, the Memorial Day weekend in the US. Receiving a quarter of a million person visits over its 4 days at the Seattle Center, and attracting tens of thousands of musicians and dancers, it featured over 20 stages with performers representing many different musical cultures with a special focus on Mexico. People meet up with friends old and new to jam, sing and dance themselves to exhaustion. It has two big dance floors, each with a new band every hour, and is a dance mecca especially for contra and international folk dancers from all over western North America. And there is no admission charge, although attendees are encouraged to donate what they can.
May 4 – Brian performing solo was one of the features at Neil Carroll’s relatively new venue of Folk Music on the Beach happening on first Fridays of the month at the Hollyburn Sailing Club, 1326 Argyle in West Vancouver. The evening begins with a fiddle tune session at 7:30 pm, with two opening features starting at 8:00 and the main feature around 9 pm. As it is a private club, one can byob!
April 20 – The Brian Robertson Band, with BC fiddle champion Michael Burnyeat and acclaimed multi-instrumentalist Victor Smith, were the feature act at the Deep Cove Coffee House (Mount Seymour United Church, 1200 Parkgate Ave.) in North Vancouver. Many thanks to host and artistic director John Lyon and his wonderful crew of volunteers who help make this a premier folk evening in the Lower Mainland. And the audience was amazing – loud and engaged and appreciating our mix of home grown songs with a few hot fiddle tunes.
March 17 – Lookout! – it was a Saturday St. Paddy’s, and The Irish Wakers again lit up The Pint 455 Abbott St. in downtown Vancouver from 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm, and, later, the Wolf and Hound on the City’s west side at 3517 West Broadway from 9 pm ’til after midnight. A wild evening of playing, singing and driving the dancing!
March 10 – The Irish Wakers played to a full house at their 3rd annual pre St. Paddy’s appearance for the Music at Queens Series at the Queens City United Church, 529 Queens Ave., New Westminster. Head organizer Virginia Barteluk called it “one of our best concerts ever” and the clapping, cheering, singing and dancing bore that out. For more details on other performances in this fine series of concerts, check online at https://queensavenue.org/musicqueens/.
March 7– The Irish Wakers did a St. Patrick’s tune up set at the venerable Vancouver Folk Song Society, featuring new tune sets and songs. This venue, located at the Friends’ Meeting Hall just west of 70th and Oak, has been meeting every 1st and 3rd Wednesday continuously, without a break, for almost 60 years.
Selected performances in 2017
November 17 – Brian as a solo opened for the wonderful Illiterati Band at the Deep Cove Coffee House, at the Mount Seymour United Church, 1200 Parkgate Ave. in North Vancouver.
October 15 – Brian and the Irish Wakers were at the Main Stage of the annual UBC Apple Fest with a big appreciative crowd enjoying the tunes and songs on a warm and beautiful autumn day. He then joined two of BC’s hottest young fiddlers, Micki Lee and Michael Burnyeat, for a fiddle tune extravaganza. For details about the event go to http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/apple-festival.
September 29-October 1 – The annual retreat of the Vancouver Folk Song Society at Camp Alexandra – a sell out this year -included a Sunday session on Songs of Cascadia hosted by Brian. The Society can be found online at http://www.folksongsociety.org/.
August 25-27 – Brian appeared with The Tetes at Granville Island’s Wooden Boat Festival, Friday to Sunday from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, where we performed rousing maritime music to lift the spirits of all sailors, whether old salts or armchair wannabes.
August 19-20 – Once again it was time for the (10th Annual) Princeton Traditional Music Festival (see http://princetontraditional.org.) More than a hundred folk musicians descended on the town to perform for free, meet up and jam with others and join the fun at the great evening singing parties at the home of the founders, Jon Bartlett and Rika Ruebsaat. High quality performances of really interesting material and well attended stages were the norm and the evening parties met all expectations. Sunday was busy for Brian with a half hour set accompanied by Michael Burnyeat on the Vermillion Stage at 10:30, and immediately followed by hosting and playing in the one hour Celtic Jam, then singing in the outrageously fun [and loud] shanty session. Saturday afternoon also featured a spirited set by the Irish Wakers – Brian and Michael along with Hugh Brock [flute] and Blake Williams [bodhran].
August 14-18 – Brian and the Irish Wakers toured BC’s southern interior, with venues including the Barley Station Brew Pub on the 14th, the Revelstoke Street Fest on the 15th, and the wonderful Old Grist Mill in Keremeos on the 18th.
August 11 – The Irish Wakers played to a sold out audience at the outdoor summer stage of the Gulf of Georgia Cannery in Steveston, featuring some of Brian’s original songs of the west coast mixed in with the band’s typically high energy fiddle tune renditions.
Summer Travels in Europe – Through the North Vancouver website Homelink, Brian and Beth arranged a one month house exchange with a family from Amsterdam, trading house, car, bikes, transit passes – and even cats. A great way to slip right into the local style in a new place. While in Amsterdam, Brian performed at the Cafe Koe and Mulligan’s Irish pub. This was followed by a week in Prague, joining what seemed like a significant portion of the world’s tourists in the city’s old centre. Nevertheless the old architecture and history of the place is engrossing, and the beer…well, “Beer Is Good for You” was my slogan!
April 9– The Victoria Folk Music Society hosted their regular Sunday evening at Norway House, where Brian performed a three song set to an appreciative gathering. An invitation to return as the feature ensued, and details about the actual date will be posted when known. Reach Victoria Folk at http://www.victoriafolkmusic.ca/.
March 17 – Brian and the Irish Wakers as the feature performers took Vancouver’s legendary Wolf and Hound by storm on St. Paddy’s day, with our dancing fans refusing to let us finish at the appointed hour. Great fun for all! Earlier in the day, we had the lunch time crowd in a party mode at The Pint on Carrall St. in downtown Vancouver.
March 11 – The Irish Wakers were again in concert at the Music at Queens series at the Queens City United Church, 529 Queens Ave., New Westminster. Some fine performers play in this eclectic music series: check it out at https://queensavenue.org/musicqueens/
Winter travels in Africa – From late January through much of February Beth and Brian travelled on extended safari through the major game parks and reserves bordering Kenya and Tanzania, including Masai Mara, Amboseli, Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. With experienced drivers and guides, we travelled by pop-top land cruiser with an excellent set of companions taking in the awe-inspiring legions of animals big and small in lands where much of human evolution transpired. We followed this up with a week on the beaches near Matemwe, Zanzibar and transitioned back into the western hubbub via London’s museums, galleries, theatres and pubs, returning home in early March.
Selected performances in 2016
October 15-16 – Brian joined the Irish Wakers on the Main Stage at the UBC Apple Fest, Saturday 2:00-2:45 pm, and follow it up with a guest appearance 12:00 pm on Sunday with The Tètes. This is a fun event where visitors can taste the many dozens of apple varieties and their heritage antecedents, and buy apples that you don’t normally see in stores.
September 24 – Contra dancers from all over the Pacific Northwest headed for Camp Luther on the shores of Hatzic Lake in the Fraser Valley to kick up their heels at the Chehalis Dance Camp, September 23-25. In a non-dance entertainment section of the program, Brian performed a 1 hour version of his Stories of the BC Coast: A History in Song on Saturday, the 24th. For more info on this presentation go to http://brianrobertson.ca/special-presentations-2/
June 25th – The launch party of Brian’s second CD, Times & Places, took place under the auspices of the Rogue Folk Club at the iconic St. James Hall, 3214 West 10th Ave., Vancouver, BC. The Brian Robertson Band – with Michael Burnyeat, Victor Smith, Amy Stephen and Jeremy Holmes – were in fine form and the audience was wonderful – warm, enthusiastic and in good voice. Thanks to all who came and a very special thanks to Steve Edge and the volunteers of the Rogue Folk Club who helped make the event so enjoyable! June 14th – The Irish Wakers with Brian on guitar and vocals were the feature at the renowned Jericho Folk Club http://www.jerichofolkclub.ca/, in the Rugby Room of the Jericho Sailing Centre, north foot of Discovery St., in Vancouver, BC. Judging by the lively audience reception, both the regular fiddle jam and the Wakers’ feature exceeded the evening’s inclement weather for sheer thunder and lightening!
June 1st – Brian was the solo feature at the venerable Vancouver Folk Song Society‘s lovely venue at the Friend’s Meeting Hall at 70th & Oak in Vancouver, where he performed a blend of his originals and favourite covers to an enthusiastic crowd.
April 28th – Brian was joined by fiddle wizard Michael Burnyeat when he presented Stories of the BC Coast – a History in Song, featuring collected songs and his own originals that made the unique and colourful anecdotal history of the province come alive for a full house at the Hastings Mill Museum, the oldest building in Vancouver. Find out more about the Museum at http://www.hastings-mill-museum.ca/.
March 17th – The Irish Wakers with Brian on guitar and vocals were the featured evening band for the St. Patrick’s Day extravaganza at the iconic Wolf and Hound, West Broadway near Alma, in Vancouver.
March 12th – The Irish Wakers were in concert at the Music at Queens series for an enthusiastic sold out pre-St. Paddy’s crowd at the Queens City United Church, 529 Queens Ave., New Westminster. Some fine performers play in this eclectic music series: check it out at https://queensavenue.org/musicqueens/.
March 9th – The Irish Wakers kicked off the St. Patrick’s “season” in grand style at the Langley Senior Recreation and Resource Centre, where a full house enjoyed our concert in a cabaret setting.
February 27th – Brian performed a second set on the KALA stage of the Fisher Poets Gathering in Astoria Oregon.
February 26th – Brian performed at the annual Fisher Poets Gathering in Astoria, Oregon this evening at the Astoria Event Center. The Gathering is a fun event that attracts thousands of performers and fans from all over North America to this small Oregon coastal town near the mouth of the mighty Columbia River. Numerous stages throughout the town feature poetry, story telling and songwriting by people with an actual connection to the fishing industry. They may be “regular folk” but the presentations combine deep knowledge with artistry and are leavened by an authenticity that only people who have fished for a living can produce.