Friday Lunch with Linda Tanaka at Catch 122

The Friday Lunch is a focus on the restaurant’s Lunch menu along with the Interview of a notable Business or Cultural leader who is joining me as my guest at restaurants in and around Vancouver. Each of the places I visit is unique for what is offered along with the type of service and selection of dishes.

For my ninth Friday Lunch in this series, I was joined by Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Artistic Director, Linda Tanaka over lunch at Catch 122.

Linda Tanaka

Linda Tanaka grew up in Northern Manitoba, she then spent some years living in Toronto. In the late 1980’s she moved West with her husband settling in the Salmon Arm area where she founded the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival which she had built into a nationally ranked folk-music gathering. In 2008 she left Salmon Arm and moved to Vancouver to take over the position of Artistic Director at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival where she resides today, leading this internationally re-known music festival.

You can follow the Vancouver Folk Music Festival on twitter @VanFolkFest

Have you always had an interest in music?

Yes, listening to my radio, grew up in Northern Manitoba. In Toronto living there I used to spend all my money going to shows.

How did you end up becoming the Artistic Director of the Vancouver Folk Music Festival?

Previously I was at the Salmon Arm Music Festival and I was asked to take over as the Interim Director of the Vancouver Folk Music Festival. Then I had to apply for the position for the festival the year after.

What drives you to succeed leading such an esteemed music festival in Vancouver?

I want to see the festival do well, this is the 36th year. Previously the festival didn’t have a budget, now we have this and we have to draw headliners to bring in the crowd.

What challenges a festival such as yours today in Vancouver?

  • Costs keep rising – infrastructure
  • We have to truck grey water off site, phone lines and fencing
  • Being in a better financial situation, to be able to compete for the artists we want.
  • Have to have a mix of Canadian, BC, City, female and male, lots of as many general targets we can do.
  • Housing of the artists
  • Sponsorship

What do you look for when artists/entertainers work into this Folk Music Festival?

  • I am looking for artists that are ethical, and align with the festivals philosophy.
  • Political artists fighting for a cause.
  • To satisfy the audience – women, gay & lesbian and others
  • Draw a new audience including younger people.

How did you put together the Workshops at the festival?

I do research to see which musicians are friends with each other, sometimes I just guess and it works. Watching You Tube videos of the bands/artists to see if they would work together.

Are the Musicians experienced with doing Workshops from other festivals?

Workshops are a Canadian festival thing, many of the artists have never collaborated like this before, some are not comfortable to do it.

Tomato Soup

Toulouse Salad

Duck Leg Confit

Espresso Macchiato

Linda had the Tomato Soup and Toulouse Salad with House-made toulouse sausage, slow roasted cherry tomato, fennel, arugula, frisée, sherry vinaigrette; Richard had the Duck Leg Confit dijonnaise, caramelized onion, brie cheese, baguette with fries and an Espresso Macchiato.

What are your favourite foods?

Dark chocolate

What do you do in your off time?

  • Gardening
  • Sewing
  • Travelling

Where was your most recent trip?

Conference in Greece and Istanbul

If you weren’t working in music festivals, what would you be doing?

Fabric arts or a Bed/Breakfast

Who are your mentors?

Phyillis Stenson –artistic director of the Harrison Festival of the Arts

Terry Wickham –Edmonton Folk Festival

What has inspired you lately in general?

When I discover a new artist

How many entertainers/groups approach you for the festival?


Tell me about the 2013 Vancouver International Folk Music Festival, what are some of the highlights that we should know?


  • Kathleen Edwards  -Friday night
  • Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars – Friday night
  • Hayden – Friday night
  • Delhi 2 Dublin – Friday night and all weekend


  • Hurray for the Rifraf
  • Coldspecks
  • The Latchikos from Ireland
  • Raghu Dixit Project from India
  • Hanggai from China
  • Anthony Joseph and the Spasm Band from England
  • Debo Band from New York

 Has Social Media played a significant role for the Vancouver Folk Music Festival?

Yes but we should be using it more, we are looking at doing more.

What do you want to accomplish with the Vancouver Folk Music Festival over the next few years?

  • Become more sustainable
  • Continue to build a younger audience
  • Be able to add a Thursday night into the festival

Style: A La Carte

Attire: Casual

Time: Mon-Fri 9am -4pm

Catch 122 Restaurant 

122 West Hastings Street, Vancouver


For Reservations call 604-731-3474

Stay tuned to my next guest Interview along with the next Friday Lunch in and around Vancouver.

By: Richard Wolak

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