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2014 Summer Festival Guide: All things festivals in Western Canada

Tuesday 01st, July 2014 / 13:33
By Maryam Noorazi, Rob Roy Strong and Joshua Erickson
Illustration: Danielle Jette

Illustration: Danielle Jette

Summer time is finally upon us and with the heat and sunshine comes festival season. This year is an exceptional year for festivals – especially for those who want to get out of the city. Over the years, Western Canada has become home for festivals well outside the city limits both new and old and, considering the surroundings, its no small wonder why. This year festival goers can check out relative newcomers like Bass Coast or Ponderosa, held in Merritt and Rock Creek respectively, or festival mainstays like Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival and Shambhala in Salmo. There is a festival almost every single weekend this summer, and with no shortage of either scenery or talent at these festivals, this is sure to be a summer to remember. Go get out there, dear readers! (JE)

Victoria Ska Fest, July 1st – 5th, Victoria, B.C.

Head to our fair capital for this skankin’ fest! Kicking off the festival with some dub plate, rasta action is Major Lazer’s Walshy Fire; as well as the dynamic violinist Kytami. Watch out for Lynval Golding of The Specials – he might just get together with festival favorite The Aggrolites for a jam. Ending the festival with none other than Shaggy, setting the mood with his bombastic dancehall and lyrical talents. Big! (MN)

Astral Harvest, July 3rd – 6th near Driftpile, AB

With workshops during the day and a PK Sound augmented electronic dance party by night, head to Astral Harvest. Prepare for a realm of pure vibration when Tipper takes the stage. Kalya Scintilla’s enchanting ethno-crunk will make your feet feel like they came home. Much to see and not to be missed! (MN)

Woodstock lll, July 4th – 6th, Oyama, B.C.

It’s been along time coming and it’s coming around again. A great place to kick back and beat your routes to Scary Lake Monsters, Poppa Dawg, Sabrina Weeks, and Kathy Franks among others. Hope to take you higher in a mosh of patchouli, tie-dyes, and exhibit “A” as we rock out like Grandma did. Organizer Joe Panelle has contacted Sly Stone for a possible walk on. (RRS)

Vancouver Island Music Festival, July 11 – 13, Courtney, B.C.

This is the one of the best-organized festivals you can attend. Well taken-care-of crowds will enjoy Bonnie Raitt, Blind Boys of Alabama and The Mavericks on main stage. The real stars – a plethora of B.C. musicians – as well as international favourites delight at the workshops. Can’t wait to take you. (RRS)

Vancouver Folk Music Festival, July 18th – 20th, Vancouver, B.C.

Dust off those Birkenstocks and head down to Jericho Beach for a stunning view of our fair city and some world-class music! Prepare to get crooned by the iconic Joan Baez, gracing us with her presence. Also make sure to check out homegrown Fish and Bird, sure to stun you with their intimate alt-folk melodies. Much to see. (MN)

Mission Folk Music Festival, July 25th – 27th, Mission B.C.

In the shadow of the Mount Baker volcano the sun still shines. Twenty-seven years and the Mission Folk Festival is still pumping out the best in blues, Afro Beat, alt folk and the fringe. Good food they say. Sweet Fraser riverside camping. Never been. But I’ll take ya anyway. (RRS)

Keloha, July 11th – 13th, Kelowna, B.C.

Soak up some sunshine in Kelowna at this feel-good music festival. The Naked and Famous are headlining and will be sure to get you grooving with their infectious dance floor, summer-anthems. Nothing but good vibes when The Funk Hunters take the stage, checking you with everything from funky glitch hop to jazzy jams, the party won’t stop! Stay posted. (MN)

Luminosity Gathering, July 11th – 13th, Southern Vancouver Island, B.C.

Manifest a ferry ride for yourself and find yourself in Vancouver Island for this intimate West Coast gathering. Get down to some serious jams with Nico Luminous and get lost in Whitebear’s sonic jungle. Tor will be laying down some heavy bass charms and Commodity is nothing less – complex tribal rhythms to seduce. Winning. (MN)

Pemberton Music Festival, July 16th – 20th, Pemberton B.C.

The Pemberton Music Festival is back with a vengeance. Headlining is the potent Nine Inch Nails. No doubt the blunts will roll with the infamous Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, & Outkast. Cult classic Modest Mouse for vigorous head-nodding & XXYYXX for abstract future-garage. So. Damn. Much. (MN)

Motion Notion, July 24th – 28th, Golden B.C.

Crave the rave? Head over to the Rockies for a beautiful weekend at Motion Notion. Get to know yourself with Bluetech’s ambient sonic geometries or get to know your neighbour with Grouch’s playful, driving psy-dub. Watch out for LongWalkShortDock’s eccentric, high-octane electro & Knight Riderz future booty-bass quaking sounds. Rounding things out, Dub Conscious keeps the dancehall jungalism alive. (MN)

Golden West Music Fest, August 1st – 3rd, near Ardmore, AB.

All-independent-everything is how Golden West Music Fest likes to keep it. You can expect everything from laid-back musical acts like The AwesomeHots’ unique blend of nostalgic parlour-folk to heavier acts like Black Thunder’s heavy stoner prog rock riffs. Don’t miss The Lad Mags’ grungy art-pop whose beachy feel will catch you off guard. (MN)

Basscoast, August 1st – 4th, Merritt, B.C.

West Coast culture is made up of a lot of things, but one that has really skyrocketed is bass music – from subs to dubs, catch it all at this epic festival. Feel the atmosphere with Kline & Michael Red, spice things up with El Papa Chango’s Latin hip-hop vibe, dial into Dan Solo and step your shit to Daega Sound. So much good. (MN)

Squamish Valley Music Festival, August 8th – 11th, Squamish, B.C.

Squamish – home to some breathtaking British Columbian views and this festival hard-hitter. Where do we begin? First off Bruno Mars is out to melt your ears with his smooth vocals. Arcade Fire will set your hearts ablaze with their orchestral indie rock. Nas is going to break it down when he performs his pivotal album Illmatic, and Austra will sooth ‘n’ groove with their haunting electro-synth anthems. Wow. (MN)

Shambhala, August 8th – 11th, Salmo, B.C.

Do you even rave, bro? It’s almost time for your annual get down. Sprit Hood, check. Water bottle, check. Okay time for that PK Sound, bass for your face with Bassnectar! Kaminada’s world-beat galaxy-step is sure set your feet stirring. Emancipator for some of that forest-charm and who? Moby – DJ set? Bring it. At Shambhala, anything could happen. (MN)

Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival, Aug 15th – 17th, Salmon Arm, B.C.

What’s roots if not tempered with a bit of blues? You’ll definitely get a dose of southern comfort when Alvin Youngblood Hart’s Muscle Theory takes the stage with his definitive brand of hard-hitting acoustic blues. Tanika Charles & The Wonderfuls are sure to lift your mood with a powerful vocal range and that irreplaceable old school, jazzy cool charisma. (MN) 

The Field Gathering, August 15th – 17th, Slocan Valley, B.C.

If you consider getting bright-eyed and bushy-tailed a favoured pastime of yours, you may want to consider this intimate gathering at the White Crow Farm; it’s pretty much definitive of the term ‘grassroots;’ Attendees will enjoy swaying to crooning vocals over folky riffs by Tarran The Tailor and dancing late into the country night to dancehall-inspired beats by Sweet Anomaly. Stay posted. (MN)

Ponderosa, August 22nd – 24th, Rock Creek, B.C.

Premiering for the first time and making a big splash with their inaugural event, Ponderosa is back for their second annual festival! Taking place in the gorgeous Rock Creek, B.C., attendees will be treated to the views of the Okanagan Valley, a nearby river, local food vendors and, of course, a wide array of music. Artists included, but are not limited to, are Braids, The Funk Hunters, Good for Grapes, No Sinner, Ladyhawk and many, many more. If you missed last year, don’t miss this one! (JE)

Rifflandia, September 11th – 14th, Victoria, B.C.

Vancouver Island’s little festival that could. Taking roots in 2008, Rifflandia began with a strong, yet modest, line up that took place in a couple of the smaller venues around downtown Victoria. Now, in 2014 and its seventh edition of the festival, it has expanded to 2 mini-festivals (day and night events), and 13 stages, including multiple stages at the outdoor Royal Athletic Park. This year’s line up includes Death Cab for Cutie, Zeds Dead, The New Pornographers, Thurston Moore and over 100 more! (JE)

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