Shari Ulrich, Lester Quitzau and Gary Fjellgaard (from left) will share the stage at Gabriola Island’s Cultivate Festival on Sept. 1. (Photos courtesy Pink Monkey Studios/Bri Vos/Bill Borgwardt)

Three folk singers from three islands take the stage at Cultivate Festival

Gabriola’s Gary Fjellgaard, Pender’s Lester Quitzau and Bowen’s Shari Ulrich join forces

Three renowned West Coast folk singers from three different islands in the Strait of Georgia are coming together to tell some stories and sing some songs.

Gabriola Island’s Gary Fjellgaard, Pender Island resident Lester Quitzau and Shari Ulrich of Bowen Island are all performing at this year’s Gabriola Cultivate Festival, and on Sept. 1 they will share a common stage for Songs in the Round.

Ulrich, who released her latest record Back to Shore earlier this summer and performs with her bandmate/co-producer/daughter Julia Graff the preceding night, is the common denominator. She’s played with Fjellgaard and Quitzau in the past, but she said this is the first time all three will onstage together. She said musicians enjoy playing in new combinations.

“We love that because there are things that happen that wouldn’t happen otherwise when you’re just onstage by yourself or with your usual players,” Ulrich said. “And I think the trading of stories is always really entertaining and I know a lot of people who feel like their favourite part is when people are sharing a stage who haven’t before. It’s always unique.”

Fjellgaard said he’s looking forward to the show, noting that he’s played with Shari several times over the years and has heard “great things” about Quitzau. He expects a pretty informal performance.

“We just swap songs back and forth, describe a bit about how the song came about and then perform it. So it’s a pretty simple format…” he said. “It’s just a wonderful thing to share your songs, which are so different. There are three different writers up there and the writing is so wide. It’s neat to share those songs with each other.”

Quitzau, who later that evening will perform with his drummer Damian Graham, said joint workshop-style shows are unique to Canadian festivals.

“We just did a whole bunch of festivals and it’s really only in Canadian festivals where they put musicians together with a theme and just let them work it out and see what happens,” he said.

Quitzau is comfortable going into uncertain musical situations. He and Graham’s performances are improvisational and he said they have barely rehearsed in the four years they’ve played together.

“The first gig we ran over a few things just to get some feels, but he needs like half a second to pick up on what I’m doing and he’s just on it. It’s just amazing,” he said. “You might see it as telepathic or something but really it’s just listening to the music and knowing and trusting where it’s going.”

Ulrich said she shares that sense of trust with Fjellgaard and Quitzau and while she’s not sure how the show will turn out, that’s the beauty of it.

“I like them both and I trust them both, but as far as how it will actually fit, that’s the thing that we love about the mystery of it is we don’t know until we’re there and making it fit,” she said.

WHAT’S ON … Songs in the Round takes place at the Cultivate Festival Garden Mainstage, 675 North Rd., on Sept. 1 at 2:30 p.m. They also perform individually; Shari Ulrich on Aug. 31 at 7 p.m., Gary Fjellgaard on Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. and Lester Quitzau on Sept. 1 at 8:15 p.m. Ticket options available online.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo RCMP seek witnesses after assault leaves man with broken facial bones

Incident occurred 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 10, near Superstore, say police

Scouting report promising for Nanaimo Clippers with training camp around the corner

BCHL scouts Island Division champs as league anticipates 2020-21 season

Two motorcycles crash on Nanaimo’s Terminal Avenue, one rider injured

Collision happened at 9 a.m. Thursday near Cypress Street intersection

Sport performance centre’s physically distanced fitness program fuels food bank

Prime Sport Performance and Therapy presents $3,000 to Loaves and Fishes

Regional District of Nanaimo exploring mountain biking as an economic driver

Nanaimo Hospitality Association executive says coordinated trail network could lead to job creation

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Beefs & Bouquets, Aug. 12

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail

Captive fawn seized from Island home

Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Most Read