Tag Archives: fests

BC Summer Music Festival Guide Part 2 from Vancouver Observer

jcrop previewThis article originally appeared in the Vancouver Observer as The Music Never Stops: BC Summer Music Festival Guide Redux as part 2 in continuation of a previous article. While some of these shows are past, this will be a handy starting point for next year’s festival season.

Have a fest? Drop a comment.

Here’s the teaser: The Music Never Stops

Not enough fun in chapter 1? Pack the cooler and hit the road for even more tunes in the sun.

Turns out BC is the land of plenty for summer-time music fests. You probably already circled a few faves from: “Musical Dim Sum: A Guide to Small-ish Music Festivals in BC and Washington” now augment with these reinforcements to keep your head melted at just the right temperature.

Line up your calendar and explore the list at: “Musical Dim Sum: A Guide to Small-ish Music Festivals in BC and Washington” and augment with these reinforcements to keep your head melted at just the right temperature.

But don’t delay, the band’s are warming up… just around the next bend.

Soundwave (Ucluelet BC)

Web: http://soundwavemusicfestival.ca/
Date: July 16 – 18
Blurb: Go deep into the coastal wilderness after evading law enforcement and pack your gear into Mussel beach for monster sound systems and high-end purveyors of electronic music — they say, “Soundwave is a three day Journey Less Ordinary” and point out, “Rough Roads Lead to Smooth People!”
Camping: Short answer = Yes – cheerfully detailed at FAQ
Musically noteworthy: Global talent ranging from Live Sets, to an All Vinyl Shakedown

Photo by KK

The Big Day Up (Comox Valley

Web: http://thebigdayup.com/
Date: July 17 – 1:30PM to 11Pm ~ plus an after party in the lodge
Blurb: A one-dayer so doesn’t exactly hit my requirements but a day on Mt Washington on the Island is fun in itself — add music for more goodtimes
Camping: Nope
Musically Noteworthy: Australia’s Cat Empire headlines a bill with Daniel Wesley

Photo by KK

Bonfire Music Festival (Birken — near Pemberton)

Web: http://www.bonfirefestival.com/
Date: July 23-25
Blurb: “The Moon Farm is located in a beautiful mountain valley that gets lots of sunshine”
Camping: Yep
Musically Noteworthy: “Our stellar lineup of musical performers will appeal to a broad range of the Roots, Groove, Jazz, Funk & Folk audience who are known to appreciate the outdoor festival experience.”

Littlefest (near Slocan)

Web: http://littlefest.ca/
Date: July 23 & 24
Blurb: “Littlefest is little, with a maximum attendence of 500 folks. This way you can easily find your way around, strike up a conversation with your neighbor, have a drink – while keeping an eye on your kids.”
Camping: Free on-site!
Musically noteworthy: Bands with names like Meatdraw, The Dharmas, Wood Pigeon, and Blackberry Wood, looks like a bit of old-timey, mellow-going, good-times

Bass Coast Project (Squamish)

Web: http://www.basscoastproject.com/bass/
Date: July 23 – 26
Blurb: Appears to be part yoga retreat, part mud wrestling escape, and part DJ-driven dance o’ rama alongside the river. Limberness awaits. Photos look like a life-changing space cruise.
Camping: I’m guessing yes
Musically Noteworthy: Ummm… just not sure how to answer this — decipher lineup at your leisure

Photo by KK

Wild Salmon Fest (Lumby)

Web:http://wildsalmonmusicfestival.com/
Twitter: @WildSalmonMusic
Date: July 23 – 25
Blurb: Hang/para-glider fly-up plus music festival in the interior and only $40 wknd which supports wild salmon habitat restoration
Camping: Yes
Musically noteworthy: Rockin’. Country. Blues.

Under the Volcano (North Vancouver)

Web: http://volcano.resist.ca/
Date: Aug. 8th
Blurb: Arts, social change and activism at Cates Park in North Van
Camping: Not officially
Musically noteworthy: Assortment of activist-minded acts including Veda Hilde plus speakers including writer Naomi Klein

Remember Stay hydrated, keep you bottles and bongs on the downlow and have some fun. Did i miss a fest here or in Musical Dim Sum: A Guide to Small-ish Music Festivals in BC and Washington? Make sure to add a comment.

Thanks: Photos by KK, Photo editing by fiercekitty, mariachi photo by authour + Tips from various Weed Scouts — merit badges for all!

The summer’s already rolling by and the prime of festivals season is nigh — so hook up your tent trailer, fill a growler of microbrews to go with your a flat of Old Style Pilsner and choose your vibe from world-y folk to trance in the wild.

Musical Dim Sum: A Guide to Small-ish Music Festivals in BC and Washington

Originally appeared in Vancouver ObserverUncle Weed’s Dossier” column as “Musical Dim Sum:  A Guide to Small-ish Music Festivals in BC and Washington” on July 1st, 2010 with photos (uncredited with apologies as i mostly don’t have any idea who snapped them) along with this teaser:

I went searching for the small time concert gems with on-site camping and eclectic line-ups with a mix of the familiar and musical surprises. Here are the BC treats I found so load up the microbus and hit the road.

Summertime On the Road

Getting there is twice the fun

My fave thing to do come summertime is rolling out to a music festival for some tunes with friends at some splendid locale — letting loose on a grassy knoll and sleeping in tent after a few microbrews to the sound of a distant drum circle. Love it.

Lucky for all of us, BC is filled with funtimes in the summer including music fests. Maybe it’s the grey in the beard but this year, rather than the usual circuit of local civic fairs and folk fests, coupled with a couple trips to The Gorge in Washington for the big festivals, I’m widening my range in search of a few gems which will refresh my soul but still keep me employed by getting me back by Monday.

As such, I went searching for the smalltime treats including onsite camping and eclectic line-ups for a mix of the familiar and musical surprises.

Cascadian Fests Backgrounder

I’ve done my time on Grateful Dead tour starting with a life-changing weekend in Eugene, Oregon 20 years ago.

The author at WOMAD Seattle 2001(?)

In the 90s, along with heavy doses of loud shows at dingy bars, I caught plenty of outdoor concert parties including Garcia and Grisman at the top of Squaw Valley Blues Traveller in Telluride and Seabird Island for Midnight Oil during Clayoquot Summer.

Pre-9/11 (which thwarted any chance of visas for dissident poets and performers), my squad of renegades caught 4 years of Peter Gabriel’s stellar WOMAD fests in grassy lawns and canvas tents near Seattle to see the the finest world acts which brought both surprise and clarity from Polynesian Te’Vaka to Billy Bragg and Wilco playing the songs of Woody Guthrie.

Or we rolled over the Cascasdes to George for a bushel of multi-band gigs: HORDE, Further, Joni & Van & Dylan, Dave Matthews, KiSS, The Dead + the brothers Allman and Doobie. Good times but acres of chaos and commotion amongst the sublime views.

Baked bros at Phil Lesh

And yup, I’ve partied in the hot sun in Seattle for Bumbershoot with endless supply of top bands but lines and crowds to match and caught a Phil Lesh show on the 4th of July on the side of a ski hill — lovely scenery but access by crowded buses and then long drives to camp sites made it less appealing.

Certainly promoters in Pemberton and Squamish are bringing in big names (and decent ducats) but I’m off to find something a wee bit more chill ~ I guess you could say I’m seeking fewer folks at my fests.

Desired Characteristics

For this dossier, I sought out summer music fests with these requirements:

  1. Close-ish — Driveable from Vancouver on a Friday after work
  2. Thrifty — $100-ish will cover your weekend except for beer
  3. Chill — Enough people for a party but not a hectic crowd
  4. Camping — On-site tenting in natural envrions (bonus: lake)
  5. Eclectic — Mix of live music of high quality and interest

The good news, there are plenty to choose from ~ of course, i’ve missed plenty so drop a comment with your favourite.

Solid Selections

All of these fests boast enough familiar names to get you grooving plus lots of up-and-comers to discover:

Vancouver Island MusicFest (Courtney / Comox)

Web: http://www.islandmusicfest.com/ Twitter: @VIMusicFest

Date: July 9, 10 Blurb: On-site yoga, 6 stages, art, beer, workshops, a “boogie zone” for dancing and a festival express shuttle make the ferry trip over even more worth it

Camping: Yes — too many rules to write so just read

Musically noteworthy: Plenty of old faves on the docket like Little Feat, Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, David Lindley, Adrian Belew, Joan Osborne plus a newer country-tinged treat called Nathan (more)

Mission Folk Music Festival

Web: http://www.missionfolkmusicfestival.ca/

Date: July 23, 24, 25

Blurb: Already into its second decade and close-in to Vancouver on the way to Harrison features some of the finest folk, world, roots, blues and other music from across Canada and elsewhere

Camping: On-site camping for $20 per adult for the weekend with pass

Musically noteworthy: I’m a fan of Te’vaka from Tuvalu and other Polynesian and Micronesian islands — and there are plenty more

Komasket Music Festival (Vernon)

Web: http://www.komasketmusicfestival.com/

Date: July 30, 31, Aug 1

Blurb: Camping in tipis and Bob Marley’s old band, plus craft vendors, workshops, kids area, swimming and camping in the Okanagan Lake — what’s not to like?

Camping: Tipis rentals and on-site camping available with weekend pass for $10 per person for the weekend. Note no dogs allowed but “Prizes for Most Creative Camp Site!!”

Musically noteworthy: A danceable mix including The Wailers, Alex Cuba, Dehli to Dublin, and mighty beatboxer Shamik (more)

Summer Meltdown (Darrington, Washington)

Web: http://www.summermeltdown.com/

Date: Aug 6, 7, 8

Blurb: Cross the border and cruise the Cascades mountain to the shadow of White Horse mountain with vending, green village, on-site camping, and beer garden with 21+ micro brews

Camping: Tent camping included with ticket — no vehicles on site so you gotta haul in your gear though there is limited car camping

Musically noteworthy: Some familiar names ready to jam: The Presidents of the United States of America, 5 Alarm Funk, Mother Hips, Hot Buttered Rum, and (former Santana drummer) Michael Shreive’s Spellbinder (more)

Salmon Arm Roots and Blues

Web: http://www.rootsandblues.ca/ Twitter: @rootsandblue

Date: Aug. 13, 14, 15 Blurb: A bit of a stretch from Vancouver but a big stage of solid acts along the Shuswap Lake with sandy beaches could make a perfect weekend

Camping: Limited camping for $75 for the weekend

Musical noteworthy: Looks like a Canada Day party with Gord Downie & the Country of Miracles, K’naan, Ohbijou, Shane Koyczan and The Short Story Long, Wassabi Collective are intriguing and a band called Old Man’s Beard must be good (more)

Outlier Wildcards

These don’t fit the requirements per se but worth noting for musical expeditions on street and lawns:


[Vampire Weekend love Phish — See them at Malkin Bowl — photo: KK]

Malkin Bowl at Stanley Park

Date: Throughout the summer Web: http://www.malkinbowl.com/

Blurb: It’s like going to the woods to see a show but you are only a stroll from the West End so you can start with ramen on Denman before sitting on the lawn — either inside with a ticket or outside for free

Musically noteworthy: Can’t miss with any of Vampire Weekend, Flaming Lips, Swell Season with Black Francis, The National, K’Naan

Pacific Rim Arts Society Summer Festival 2010 (Tofino)

Date: July 1-15

Web: http://pacificrimarts.ca/summer-festival-2010/

Blurb: A variety of arts and culture events in the groovy village — pick a weekend with something you like to make your surf trip funner

Musically noteworthy: Virtuoso Russian accordionist, harp and steel duos, and modern versions of indigenous music make for a varied choice

Princeton Traditional Music

Web: http://princetonfestival.wordpress.com/

Date: Aug. 20, 21, 22

Blurb: It’s free (by donation) street fair with the streets closed down for concerts, plus panels and workshops from mining & railway songs and more plus spontaneous “mini jams and guerilla dances” in a small town 300 km from Vancouver.

Camping: Daily bus from Vancouver and camping close to site plus bed and breakfast and motels in town

Musically noteworthy: An extensive mix of early and traditional music

Further Afield

On the road

Have some time to disconnect and chill? Pack up the microbus and head to any of these exotic treasures:

Starbelly Jam http://www.starbellyjam.org/ Crawford Bay, July 16, 17, 18
Getting there is plenty of fun with a free ferry ride from Nelson to see Steve Kimock, Blackalicious and Chad VanGaalan near Creston on Kootenay Lake

Kispiox Festival http://www.kispiox.com/kvmf/ July, 23, 24, 25
Down home style community music and arts festival waaaay up between Prince George and Prince Rupert near-ish Smithers and Terrace for rustic fun

Discovery Coast Music Festivahttp://www.bellacoolamusic.org/ July 24 & 25
Family fun (read: no beers) with kids acts, along with the very adult Jim Byrnes, nestled in the heart of the Coast Mountains

Edge of the World http://www.edgefestival.com/ Aug. 6, 7. 8
Seems like heaven up on Haidi Gwaii if you can get there to see Scatterheart rock out (twice) or Crabapple Creek Electric Jug Band go old-timey funny

Shambhala Music Festival http://www.shambhalamusicfestival.com/ Aug. 6, 7, 8, 9
They say, “Shambhala is a journey, an adventure, a life altering experience” So go hear mostly electronic music near Salmo and “just let loose and dance, dance, dance”

More Hi-jinks

Dead Vegas -- Are you on the bus or what?

So … are you on the bus or what? Good, i thought so.

Which gigs did i miss? Drop a comment and let me know where I’ll see you boogie-ing-down this summer.

Just look for the grey beard, shady visor and a big smile.

Musical Dim Sum: A Guide to Small-ish Music Festivals in BC and Washington…

I went searching for the small time concert gems with on-site camping and eclectic line-ups with a mix of the familiar and musical surprises. Here are the BC treats I found so load up the microbus an

read more