The Mission Folk Music Festival was formed in 1988 by founding artistic director Francis Xavier Edwards and some musical friends who wanted more opportunities to play music for an audience. The first festival was a one-day event and featured Shari Ulrich, Cotton Street Band, John McLachlan and others (see Archives for complete list.) Since then, it has grown into one of the finest performing arts festivals in the country, showcasing emerging local and BC musicians and bringing both popular and rarely-heard world artists to the Fraser Valley, sometimes for their only North American performance. Recent challenges such as rained-out shows and funding cuts along with the surprise retirement of the artistic director have resulted in a smaller than normal festival for 2016. However, strong community support has strengthened the resolve of the leadership team to work hard to present a smaller yet high-quality event in the current year, and build towards growing the festival in new and musically adventurous directions in the future.