Vancouver Folk Music Festival Society

Board Bios

Erin Mullan, President

Erin Mullan has a long history with the VFMF having attended over 30 festivals as an audience member, volunteer, and security team co-ordinator. She was for many years one of the party queens, the crew who ran the festival volunteer parties. In her professional life she is an abortion counsellor and sexual health educator with more than 30 years of experience in the field of reproductive health. She works from a social justice perspective and has a special interest in reducing the stigma surrounding abortion. She is also an organic master gardener who believes that helping plants grow is excellent therapy.

Anne Blaine, Vice President

Anne Blaine volunteered as a Committee Coordinator at the first two folk music festivals and was on staff as the Festival Administrator for the next 14 years. She served 5 years on the Steering Committee and the Board of the Folk Alliance International. She has been the Onsite Marketing Coordinator, Vancouver Children’s Festival (4 years), Freelance Manager for multiple events, Exhibit Tours and installations (12 years), Associate Producer, Rogers Santa Claus Parade/Vancouver Canada Day Parade(16 years), Board Member, VFMFS (6 years), Manager Special Events, Metropolis at Metrotown (16 years).

Nimmi Takkar, Treasurer

As a multilingual professional with a successful track record of stakeholder relations, I have established myself as a leader who brings a combination of operational excellence and political acumen. Paying close attention to detail, and with specialized experience in working with cultural communities, I bring experience and passion for issues management and deep relationship building. I communicate openly and respectfully with a proven ability to lead teams with or without a direct reporting relationship. Strategically aware, and with integrity, I am results-driven and passionate about my work.

I hope we are able to secure a path for sustainable funding and financial management for the festival for years to come, and as we do this, we look for opportunities to diversify and ensure that the festival is representative of the diversity of Vancouver.

Melinda Suto, Secretary

The VFMF is a unique act of community building that creates the best musical and cultural event annually. The festival is where people connect, learn about social issues, and have a place to belong, all through the power of music. Melinda’s experience at the first festival was on the transportation committee, where she met performers at the airport and drove them to and from Stanley Park. She became a lifelong volunteer with the festival because of the synergy between the audience and performers. Over her years of volunteering at every VFMF since 1978, Melinda enjoyed a career as an occupational therapist and a university professor. Her specialty was community-based participatory research, focusing on living well with mental health issues. Melinda is engaged in a variety of volunteer community activities.

Fiona Black, Member at Large

Fiona Black is the founding Director of Programming for the BlueShore Centre for the Performing Arts at Capilano University. For the past 25 years, she has produced and programmed three of the University’s signature series, the Cap Jazz Series, Cap Global Roots Series and Cap Speaker Series plus "North Shore Jazz", a satellite series presented on Vancouver’s North Shore in partnership with the Vancouver International Jazz Festival. She was also instrumental with developing the University’s Arts and Entertainment Management program as well as being the founding Coordinator of it’s two programs of study – a diploma and advanced certificate.

Considered a very active member of the global and jazz music industry, Fiona has served on the Capacoa board as well as having the distinction of serving as the first Canadian Board Director for the Western Arts Alliance based in Porland, Oregon. She is a long-time proud Juno judge and advisory committee member for the World Music Category. In addition, she travels extensively to international music gatherings and Festivals and is fully committed to discovering and nurturing fine artists from around the globe.

Yee Chan, Member at Large

Yee has been volunteering at the Festival for the past five years and joined the board in 2020. A passionate community supporter and a strong believer in giving back, Yee regularly volunteers at numerous arts and cultural festivals to better our community. Yee is an exemplary immigrant success story as she was a pre-teen when she came to Canada and benefited from our excellent education system. In turn, she has contributed toward the expansion of the Canadian technology sector. Music has always been an integral part of her life. She hopes to bring her experience and enthusiasm to the festival, and contribute towards its continued success.

Jeff Finger, Member at Large

Jeff Finger has attended every day of all the Vancouver Folk Music Festivals. His passion for folk music led him to serve on the VFMF Board in very difficult times and to be a festival volunteer and donor. Jeff has worked with other non-profit groups organizing events and doing fundraising.

Over the past 45 years, Jeff has helped to build and manage several successful local and international tech enterprises. This professional work has included the design and manufacturing of hand-held solar lights for distribution by non-profits and NGO's in Africa and Haiti. He has provided leadership in facility and process design, and set-up of IT infrastructure. Jeff is a seasoned problem-solver and team-builder with time, energy and skills to help the festival thrive.

FiL Hemming (he/him), Member at Large

The Festival is very dear to me.  I love the music, the community, the joy, and the magic.  I have volunteered wearing a Security Committee yellow t-shirt since 2007 and I have led that Committee since 2014. This has given me a good understanding of how the Festival works.  In my 25-year-long professional career as a risk manager, most recently in the credit union sector, I have developed a broad skill set that I am eager to bring into service. I understand finance and have been involved in strategic, organizational, and operational planning. I have managed, mentored, and coached people. I have set up governance structures and written policies to ensure organizational clarity and accountability. I have also worked extensively both with boards of directors and with government regulators.  As a Board member, I will strive to ensure that the Festival remains a sustainable, vibrant part of our entire community in all of its diversity.  You also have my promise that I will work hard, continuously learn to do better, and listen to all voices.

Tess Kitchen (she/her), Member at Large

Tess is a lifelong musician, having played at festivals around Canada, including the Vancouver Folk Music Festival with her band e.s.l. Now passionate about contributing to the arts in another capacity, she looks forward to bringing her strategic planning, facilitation, technology, financial analysis, and non-profit governance experience to the table. Professionally, she is a strategic planning advisor at ICBC. Previously Tess was at Metro Vancouver doing strategic and organizational planning, and prior to that she was in strategy & IT consulting in the public sector. Her educational background consists of a BSc in math and computer science and an MBA specializing in strategic management and sustainability. Tess has been on several non-profit boards and has enjoyed volunteering to teach girls coding on an ad hoc basis. Tess and her husband have two kids, and they enjoy camping, swimming, adventures at Jericho and Kits beaches, and of course, music.


Amy Newman, Member at Large

Amy Newman has a long and active history with the Vancouver Folk Music Festival spanning several decades. She was the VFMF Board chair from 2012 – 2016, has been a Little Folks Volunteer, Assistant Coordinator, and has programmed the Little Folks Area. She coordinated the Little Folks Committee from 1990-2002. Amy has been a festival performer with Uzume Taiko and Sansho Daiko. She has led numerous Japanese taiko drumming workshops in the Little Folks area for children and families. Amy has been a music teacher, classroom teacher, District Fine Arts Coordinator and now expresses her passion for leadership as a school principal.

Christina Price, Member at Large

Christina has been volunteering at the Folk Festival for nearly 20 years, and has served as the
Coordinator of the Info Booth Committee since 2014. She has extensive experience in the
nonprofit sector, including fundraising, event planning, volunteer management, DEI, and
operations. Christina is the former Festival Manager of the Vancouver Fringe Festival, and has
volunteered at pretty much everything that starts with “Vancouver” and ends with “Festival”.
She currently works as a major gifts fundraiser at an environmental charity. When not working
or volunteering, she can be found reading, making music, or out in nature with her family.