November 27, 1997 12:00 AM

Raffi, the popular, bearded singer and writer of sweet children’s songs, withdrew from the Vancouver Children’s Festival — where he has performed since 1979 — in protest over what he termed the growing commercialization of the event. “The dozen automobiles currently being displayed on the festival grounds is a step that I cannot in good conscience support,” he said, apologetically to kids and their families, in a statement.

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