Anyone walking down the streets of Princeton on the weekend of August 16-18 shouldn’t be surprised to hear fiddle tunes wafting across Bridge Street. Looking west onto Veterans Square they’ll see a big tent with a stage and people sitting in chairs tapping their feet or maybe even dancing in the street. Walking down Vermilion Avenue towards the Museum they may hear accordions or ballads, or perhaps a song about sailing on the tall ships.
All of this and much more is the kind of music featured at the Sixth Annual Princeton Traditional Music Festival. Over 120 musicians will be in town that weekend, some of them local, many of them from the coast, and some from as far away as Uzbekistan.
The Festival begins at 6 p.m., Friday, August 16 with the opening ceremony followed by a country dance on Veterans’ Way beside the Legion. The dance will feature a live band with fiddle, guitar and concertina. Everyone is welcome. There will be a caller to teach the dances so no experience is necessary and people don’t even need to bring a partner. On Saturday and Sunday there will be music from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on two stages – one on Veterans Square and one in front of the Museum. We also have two new stages this year. The Princeton Library will host performances from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. on the Saturday and there will be an open stage at Golden Hills Grocery from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday.
And it’s all free! No admission will be charged. The reason for this is that the Festival is run entirely by volunteers and the musicians are donating their talents.
This year’s Festival will feature many familiar faces from past years as well as a host of new talent. About half the performers are new this year and Princeton audiences are in for a real treat.
One of the new performers is Aviva! – a belly dancer from Vancouver. Belly dancing is believed to have had a long history in the Middle East. Some Greek and Roman sources describe dancers from Asia Minor and Spain using undulating movements, playing castanets and sinking to the floor with ‘quivering thighs’, descriptions that are certainly suggestive of the movements that we today associate with belly dance. In the 18th and 19th centuries, European travellers in the Middle East wrote extensive accounts of the dancers they saw there.
Aviva! – is a modern belly dancer with a twist. Her love of Belly dancing began with her first shimmy about five years ago. Since then she has become wholly immersed in the art form, involving herself in every class, workshop and performance opportunity available. With training from Vancouver dancers as well as from internationally renowned dancers, Aviva! – is well versed in the art of Belly dance performance technique. She draws inspiration from both traditional and fusion styles of Belly dancing as well as from her training in traditional and contemporary African Dance. Aviva! – takes her greatest joy in sharing her love of the art form with others. As a special treat Aviva! – will be dancing to the music of Orkestar Slivovica, that wild, multi-coloured gypsy brass band that played at last year’s Festival (they even played standing in the River during the Sunday afternoon thunderstorm).
If you would like to help out at the Festival we would love to hear from you. Give Jon and Rika a call at 295-6010. You can find out more about the Festival on our webblog at princetontraditional.org