Skip to content

Queen vs. Green Folk Festival back to usher in Spring

The rebranded Green Man Festival takes place this Saturday, May 18
There were lots of memorable scenes at last year’s Green Man Festival, including the age-old battle between Ice Queen and Green Man, with appearances from the May Queen and Town Crier.

Spring is a time of lingering crisp nights and morning frost mixed with flower buds beginning to form; it’s known for mixed weather: sleet or rain-showers couped with the returning sun’s warmth with increasingly longer days.

One can almost feel the sense of community optimism in-bloom as the weather improves… but how can we truly know that the winter is behind us? The age-old battle of the Winter Queen and Spring Green, of course!

The Green Man festival was a uniquely Bowen-quirky, old-British-Isles-folk-inspired local tradition that was brought to this island originally by the beloved Reverend Shelagh MacKinnon and brought to life by a large crew of local volunteers. The Green Man festival ran in various formats and with a variety of elements for several years in various iterations throughout the Cove.

This festival was remembered fondly by many youth of Bowen Island, who, last year decided to reimagine, reinvent, and reintroduce the festival to Bowen Island!

The return of the event was proposed by a group of local youth with Archer (Hannah) F. in the lead. When Archer and friends were discussing what their favourite pre-pandemic Bowen memories were, many of them said it was the Green Man festival; they strongly feel that bringing back this community event is a way to bring back the sense of community spirit, as well as instill community involvement in the next generation.

By taking the lead role in this event, the youth want to rebuild community connections within their generation and celebrate in a way that uniquely reflects the community they live in. Simply put they want to bring back a sense of joy for the youth and to share it with the whole community in an inclusive, accessible, no-charge, free and fun fashion.

They have renamed the festival: Queen vs. Green, to highlight the key feature of the interactive play: the battle between the armies of Spring green and Winter icicles.  Mark Saturday, May 18, from 11 am to 1 pm-ish on your calendar to experience the Queen vs. Green reimagined: a festival by youth, for youth.

The event is an all-ages interactive theatre event with community participation and activity stations for youth that can accommodate around 100 youth and adults to jump in and participate in the day in a play with a set cast and helpers. The core crew is approximately 10 teens to provide the structure as the Buds of Spring battle the Icicles of Winter followed by a traditional Maypole dance!

To bring this traditional folk tradition back, there is a need for a few more volunteer youth to help, especially with decorations, activity stations, face-painting, set-up, and for people in the community to dress up in their best medieval/folk attire, to don wreaths of ivy and flowers and come down to the new stage beside the Hearth Gallery and Bowen Island Public Library. If you would like to volunteer, please contact Archer’s mum by email at [email protected]

Both the Bowen Island Public Library and the Hearth are supporting this event, as well as funding from the Bowen Island Community Foundation, community contributions, and a passel of supportive adults including Shirley Wrinch, Liz Nankin, musicians, and various former Green Man festival organizers who are acting as support and mentors.

“The Hearth Arts on Bowen supports the return of the Green Man Festival - a wonderful community event from and for our local youth. This festival brings art in all its forms to our community, celebrating our cultural identity on Bowen Island. And provides mentoring for the youth organizing this event, enabling them experience in planning a large festival,” says Jami Scheffer, executive director of the Hearth. 

So, Bowen Island: which team are you on? Show up in blues and whites, or greens and flowers on May 18 at the new stage in the Cove.