Music and Mountains, Beaches and Bards: It’s Festival Season in British Columbia
Monday, May 04, 2015
For over 25 years the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival has been weaving tales of mischief and magic, drama and intrigue — an annual tradition set to hit the outdoor stages June 4 at Vancouver's Vanier Park. This season, A Comedy of Errors, King Lear, Love's Labour's Lost and Shakespeare's Rebel will command repeat performances, at least until the curtain closes on this classic festival, September 26. bardonthebeach.org
The world's best artists will draw thousands of locals and visitors to the city's theatres, parks, bars and outdoor plazas, June 18 - July 1, during the 30th anniversary edition of the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival. A mashup of wildly varied styles, including funk, fusion, blues, electronic and, of course, jazz of all stripes, this annual gathering promises hundreds of free and ticketed performances by nearly 2,000 musicians, including Erykah Badu, Chris Botti, The Roots, Pink Martini, and Tower of Power. coastaljazz.ca
For those who love to rope and ride, BC's cowboy country sets the scene during the Williams Lake Stampede. Marking its 89th season June 26 - 29, the stampede promises an action-packed program that features a host of western heritage events, including the heart-thumping mountain race and white-knuckle bull-riding competitions. Rodeo clowns included. williamslakestampede.com
Parksville, with its long, picturesque beaches on Vancouver Island's eastern shore, is sand castle territory. And for those who are serious about the build (a.k.a. the best in the world), the Quality Foods Canadian Open Sand Sculpting Competition & Exhibition is a worthy challenge, not to mention a qualifying event for the World Championship of Sand Sculpting. Competitors will shape their creations July 10 – 12, and their fine-grained works of art will be on display until August 16. parksvillebeachfest.ca
On the mainland, in the province's Kootenay Rockies, the high-energy Starbelly Jam outdoor music fest will rock Crawford Bay, July 17 – 19. This 16th annual celebration is set to showcase an eclectic lineup of funk, world music, rock, hip-hop, reggae, blues, bluegrass, folk artists (and more), including Mother Mother, Ozomatli, Oliver Swain's BIG MACHINE, Shred Kelly, and Abstract Rude with DJ Rippel. Free workshops, children's entertainment, a craft fair, roaming jugglers and more will round out Starbelly's three days of mountain music. starbellyjam.org
Further west, musical interludes will strike a chord at the Bella Coola Music Festival, July 18 - 19. Rock and roots, folk and blues — it's all here, set within natural wilderness on the western end of Highway 20. Headliners like Barney Bentall, Miss Quincy, C.R. Avery, and Fred Penner (for the kiddies) ensure this musical fest is worth the journey to BC's coastal shores. bellacoolamusic.org
Yogis will unite for Wanderlust Whistler, a five-day festival that celebrates mindful living, July 30 – August 3. While this four-season mountain village is a haven for high-octane adventure, it also proves a natural setting for wellness, with meditation and yoga (including practice on stand-up paddleboards), hikes, biking, spirited musical performances, thought-provoking speakeasy lectures and a Kula Market bursting with keepsakes. wanderlust.com/events
Festive fireworks and seaside views draw annual crowds to the province's capital during the Victoria Symphony Splash — and 2015 promises to be no different. More than 40,000 people will take in the classical sounds August 2 in Victoria's Inner Harbour, a bustling hub that will be transformed into an outdoor concert hall, complete with a floating stage. A highlight: the Victoria Symphony orchestra's performance of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, capped off with brasses, bells and cannon fire. victoriasymphony.ca/splash
Music lovers are sure to sway to the sounds of Sweatshop Union, feel the steady beat of Isobel Trigger and get funky with the roots, rock and reggae sounds of The House of David Gang in the remote Northern BC setting of Haida Gwaii, August 7 – 9. Blessed with equal parts energy and chill, The Edge of the World Music Festivalmelds musical styles and performances, backed by Tlell's breathtaking natural beauty. edgefestival.com
There's much more to Silver Star Mountain Resort than skis and boots; indeed, the Mountain Top Food & Wine Festival in BC's Okanagan showcases the alpine resort's cultured side during a three-day, toast-worthy celebration of local wines. Set for August 7 – 9, the fest features Wine Masters' Dinners, wine and food seminars, art gallery viewings and guided alpine flower hikes alongside the event highlight, The Mile High Wine Tasting. skisilverstar.com
For high-flying fun, adrenalin-seekers are sure to take it up a notch at the Crankworx Whistler Freeride Mountain Bike Festival, August 7 – 16. This festival, set at Whistler Bike Park, promises an opportunity to shred the trails during freeride competitions, pick up the pace during gravity-fuelled races or simply watch, and revel, in the action. The little ones won't be left out, either, thanks to specially crafted obstacle courses at Familyworx in the village and a custom pump track, complete with cheering fans, at Whistler Olympic Plaza's Kidsworx. whistler.com/events/crankworx
Noted as the country's longest-running summer gathering of Canadian writers (and readers from around the world), the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts promises plenty of drama — on the page, at least. Yearly lineups feature established names alongside burgeoning new talent, and this year's August 13 - 16 event offers no less with featured scribes that include Ann-Marie MacDonald, Jane Urquhart and Caroline Adderson alongside new voices Doretta Lau and Aaron Shepard. writersfestival.ca
Garlic lovers will rejoice …or gather, at least, during the Hills Garlic Festival, held annually in the Kootenay Rockies village of New Denver. Considered one of the top 10 garlic festivals in the world, this one-day ode to the mighty bulb, set for September 13, tempts with live entertainment, crafts, soaps, jewelry, local produce and — you guessed it — plenty of garlic. hillsgarlicfest.ca
For more on BC's boisterous festival scene, visit HelloBC.com/events.
Related Slideshow: Ten Reasons Why Portlanders Love Wet and Windy Weather
Dry Weather Makes Us Nervous
We get nervous if we go for too long without rain. Portlanders finding themselves in Arizona, say, or New Mexico - any sunny, dry weather place - get a little anxious if more than two days passes without seeing rain. "Are the flowers going to make it?" we ponder while stocking up on bottled water for the obvious imminent catastrophe.
Wet Weather Style
If we do rain well, we do raingear even better. Some of the best Portland companies – we’re looking at you Nau and Wild - are producing stylish gear for just this kind of seasonal temperature drop. Just because it’s raining, doesn’t mean you have to look bedraggled, peeps.
It's Something to Talk About
The rain is back, the rain is gone, it hasn't rained, it hasn't stopped - whatever the case, Portland weather is the perfect conversational gambit. No matter who you’re talking to in PDX – be they Republican or Democrat, pro- or anti-fluoride in the water - you know the one thing you have in common is the weather.
We Like Things to be Difficult
Portlanders love a challenge – we’re the people who live in the shadow of a volcano, and like to climb mountains, hike gorges and other, ahem, relaxing activities in our free time. If we had sunshine all year round, we’d have nothing to rail against and overcome. Rain suits us. We’re hardy like that.
It Makes for Good Art
Portland is a hotbed of artists – angsty musicians a la M Ward, writers like Cheryl Strayed, visual artists such as Storm Tharp - we're bursting at the seams. Everyone knows that for good art you need a firm foundation of misery and malaise. There’s a reason why Portland features so prominently on the nation’s artistic map – gray skies, take a bow.
Soaking is Sexy
Bad weather, as people in many parts of Portland found out yesterday , can cause power outages. Nobody’s denying that can be trying, but look at the upside: power outages have been linked to sex surges since the dawn of electricity itself. Power down? Get jiggy with it, Portland!
Wind Blown is Good for Selfies
In every movie ever made between 1970 and 1985 it seemed there was some sort of fan machine making sure that every feathered follicle was blowing in the wind. Who doesn't love the wind-blown look, especially in a selfie-portrait at sunset...with a rainbow...and Fabio. After all the "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" pitchman is allegedly moving to our part of the Northwest.
- Party Report: Celebrating Women in Culinary Arts on St. Catherine’s Day
- Party Report: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern Appear at Portland “Wild” Premiere
- Party Report: Robin Lopez, GRIMM Cast, & Famous Authors At Mayday App Launch
- Party Report: Uber Launch Party at Jacobsen Salt Co.