The BeatRoute 2015 Guide to B.C. Summer Festivals

Tuesday 30th, June 2015 / 10:23
By Reid Duncan Carmichael, Bryce Dunn, Joshua Erickson, Lucas Kitchen, Galen Robinson-Exo, Steven Shepherd, Maya-Roisin Slater, Paris Spence-Lang

Grab some sunscreen, some drinks, and some friends – the summer festivals are here!

Summer Festival GuideVANCOUVER — Music festival lovers in Western Canada better get ready to clear their calendars, because beautiful British Columbia has got the festival game on lock down in 2015. With June already playing host to Music Waste and Levitation in Vancouver, and Tall Tree Festival in Port Renfrew, July through September boast a music festival nearly every single weekend across (or near) the province. From well known and dependable festival favourites (Vancouver Folk Fest, Shambala) to up-and-coming fests making their mark (Ponderosa, Basscoast), and small, community minded events (All Nations Festival, The Field Gathering) to giant, star-studdent lineups (Squamish, Pemberton), there is an abundance of quality festivals happening, and all of them are in our backyard. (Joshua Erickson)

Victoria Ska + Reggae Festival – July 1-5 – Victoria, BC

Victoria’s Ska and Reggae Festival takes place in downtown Victoria from July 1st to 5th. Ship Point on Victoria’s waterfront is the primary venue but fans can catch night shows at several other spots downtown as well. Some of the talent hitting the stages over the five days includes Hepcat, Mustard Plug, Sweatshop Union, The Real McKenzies, Morgan Heritage, The Slackers, and more. Check out the free shows on Canada Day featuring the Boom Booms and on the 2nd with Kobo Town and Dope Soda. Festival goers can also attend workshops addressing Modern Dub and Electronic Reggae featuring Dubmatix and Brooklyn Rocksteady featuring The Slackers. (Lucas Kitchen)

Astral Harvest – July 2-5 – near Driftpile, AB

Potentially the most secluded music festival in existence, Astral Harvest is all about rediscovering your roots. A celebration of music, art, community, and the human experience, odds are high you’ll discover yourself at least once during the late night rave sessions. And between those and the massive art displays, festival-wide yoga sessions, and something called the “Interstellevator,” you know you’re gonna have a good time. (Paris Spence-Lang)

FVDED in the Park – July 3-4 – Surrey, BC

What’s in a name? Well for Blueprint’s first major music festival on their own – everything. Are you readed to get FVDED in the Park? Taking place at Surrey’s Holland Park, Blueprint are going large and providing two stages of music, food trucks, art instalations, and interactive elements – providing everything festival goers could want. The lineup also boasts some of the biggest names in dance, hip hop, and R&B right now. Featuring Deadmau5 and The Weeknd headlining, support includes Tyler, The Creator, Afrojack, Flosstradamus, Danny Brown, and more. Rounding up the line up are local boys Humans and Flipout. Forget how to prounouce “FVDED” and get ready to party. (JE)

Luminosity Gathering – July 3-6 – Sunshine Coast, BC

Hidden in the rainforests of the Sunshine Coast, Luminosity is an incredibly beautiful (and absurdly holistic) gathering of musicians, artists, and teachers from around the globe. Join this community of high-frequency spirits as they camp out for three nights of luminescent art displays, mellow electronica, and some seriously trippy dancing. Booze is forbidden, but there are plenty of other ways to connect with nature. (PSL)

Indian Summer Festival – July 9-18 – Vancouver, BC

Indian Summer Festival is shaping up to be one of the best this year with more guest speakers, acts, performances, and excitement than ever! Starting July 9th at Yaletown Roundhouse, ending on the 18th at The Imperial, this event will traverse multiple venues over the span of those two weeks. With guests ranging from the culinary to the controversial there’s something for everyone at this year’s Indian Summer Festival. Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in a magnificent cultural experience or just eat good food and dance your pants off, this is an event you won’t want to, and probably won’t be able to miss. (Steven Shepherd)

Bass Coast – July 10-13 – Merritt, BC

As its name suggests, Bass Coast is a festival that focuses primarily on bass-heavy elecctronic music, and features a plethora of local performers, like Longwalkshortdock, Greazu$, and BeatRoute’s own Andy Soloman. The festival is held along the banks of a river in Merritt, BC, where festival-goers can cleanse themselves of their daily accumulation of dance-sweat. This is a great festival to see your favorite local movers and (booty) shakers, and get introduced to lots of new music! (Galen Robinson-Exo)

Pemberton Music Festival – July 16-19 – Pemberton, BC

Pemberton is promising, once again, to be a great destination for festival-goers. Who doesn’t want to jam out to Kendrick Lamar’s newest tracks or (hopefully) The Black Keys oldest. Those alongside a long list of Canadian and overseas artists, the festival’s sure to scratch that “I FUCKING LOVE MUSIC” itch. There’s a little bit of everything for everyone. Hip hop, indie, rock, soul, jazz, funk, electronic – you name it. There’s also two sections of the festival dedicated to EDM and Comedy just to put some amphetamine riddled whipped cream and a funny little cherry on top. (Reid Duncan Carmichael)

Vancouver Folk Music Festival – July 17-19 – Jericho Beach Park, BC

If eating a Whale Tale while cooking in the summer sun and listening to top-notch folk and world music sounds like your idea of a good time, then get out your credit card, and purchase passes to Vancouver Folk Fest. Situated near Jericho Beach, this festival brings artists from the world round to perform everything from bluegrass to West African rock. The festival also features a bazaar surrounding the grounds where you can buy young coconuts with the tops hacked off and a straw in the middle as well as brightly coloured sheets that smell like incense and maybe even an artisanal bong. It’s a charming conglomeration of the beauty of the West Coast and sounds from across the ocean. (Maya-Roisin Slater)

Rock the Shores – July 18-19 – Colwood, BC

Locals no longer have to battle Victoria rush hour (yes, it exists) to make a Friday show since this year’s Rock the Shores returns as a two day event over the July 18 & 19 weekend. The lower fields at the Juan de Fuca Rec Centre make a great venue to grab a beer from one of Phillips Brewing’s epic beer trailers, load up on food truck delicacies, and catch headliners like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, the Sheepdogs, the Black Keys, Father John Misty, TV on the Radio, and Jane’s Addiction. (LK)

Motion Notion – July 23–27 – Golden, BC

Now 16 years old, the old-growth forests outside Golden are the setting for this annual eclectic electronica festival. Attendees get to let their freak flags fly to the sounds of artists like San Francisco’s reigning queen of drum and bass, ALIA, in-demand Dutch DJ trio Noisia and Calgary’s cult favourites Smalltown DJs in addition to watching fire dancers, perusing the many merchant booths and other summer sun-filled activities. (Bryce Dunn)

Mission Folk Festival – July 24-26 – Mission, BC

Existing as a festival for 28 years is no small feat, but that is exactly what the Mission Folk Festival has accomplished. With a relentless focus to bring the most talented and eclectic musicians from around the world to the festival, this year’s festival is headlined by the accomplished King Sunny Ade (Nigera) and also features Vołosi (Poland), Haya (Mongolia), Black Umfolosi (Zimbabwe) and more. Regular priced weekend passes start as low as $90 for all three days and camping is available. For alternative folk fests, this is as good as it gets. (JE)

Rockin’ River Music Festival – July 30–Aug. 2 – Merritt, BC

All the urban cowboys and buffalo gals look forward each year to country music’s biggest meet-up nestled in the Nicola Valley town of Merritt, BC. Megastars the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Dierks Bentley and Lady Antebellum kick up their heels alongside some of BC’s homegrown talent like the Washboard Union, Ridley Bent and Jackson Hollow. Kids under 12 are free, there’s a lazy river to cool off in and more hootin’ and hollerin’ than one could ask for. (BD)

Golden West Music Fest – July 31–Aug. 2 – Ardmore, AB

Showcasing some of central Alberta’s buzz bands extraordinaire and focusing on DIY funding initiatives built on bridging relationships between concert goers and organizers this fledgling festival takes over a family-run farm with heaps of music, comedy and art for the adventurous and those who don’t mind getting a little dirt under their nails. Featured acts include Vancouver’s metal mongers Bison, Saskatoon’s best kept secret Shooting Guns as well as Edmonton’s psych-garage gang Betrayers, recent Mint Records signees Faith Healer and tons more. (BD)

Squamish Valley Music Festival – Aug. 7-9 – Squamish, BC

This August you can either choose to pay rent or attend the Squamish Valley Music Festival. Taking place at the Logger’s Sports Grounds, this festival is exactly what you’d imagine a music festival to be. Lines of hotdog carts and fresh lemonade stands insulate the grounds, huge stages are swarmed by stumbling attendees who know lyrics to all the hits, men and women alike wear clothes exposing their nipples. Headliners this year include Drake, Mumford and Sons, and Sam Smith. The camping grounds are located next to a highway, a can of beer costs as much as a smoothie from Whole Foods, during Drake somebody is bound to yell “Running through the six with my bros!” while wholeheartedly believing the delusion that him and his college dorm mates will be friends forever. (MRS)

Shambala – Aug. 7-10 – Salmo, BC

The Shambhala Experience just premiered at the Rio Theatre in an attempt to describe the festival to viewers from the eyes of frequenters and attendees. The festival promises freedom from societal pressures and welcomes festival goers to be free and weird while doing what they came to do… dance. Along with world class DJs and electronic artists, the festival welcomes a variety of artists and craftsmen of all kinds and encourages them to sell and trade their wares (with the right documentation of course). Shambhala is indeed an experience. One for the art minded and dance crazed. (RDC)

Burnaby Blues & Roots Festival – Aug. 8 – Burnaby, BC

Burnaby Blues + Roots festival is happening August 8 this year at Deer Lake Park. Rock out to the Sheepdogs. Let Ruthie Foster’s gorgeous, melodic vocals float through you. Make sure to bring your cowboy boots to square dance with The Devin Cuddy Band. Get funky, country, blues-y, and above all else get dancing. This festivals a one day event right in our backyard and it’s shaping up to be pretty wicked. (RDC)

The Field Gathering – Aug. 14-16 – Winlaw, BC

Hot August nights in the Slocan Valley are the setting for three wildly diverse days of electro R’n’B from the likes of Hopscotch, avant-folk from Frazey Ford, indie pop from OK Vancouver OK and just about every other genre you can imagine. Couple that with an intense lecture series on permaculture and the preservation of land use for ethical and sustainable farming and you’ve got an experience to remember all coordinated by a dedicated group of volunteers. (BD)

Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival – Aug. 14-16 – Salmon Arm, BC

The Interior of British Columbia boasts some of the province’s most picturesque spots, the top of that list being the Shuswap Lake. Taking place next to Shuswap Lake, The Salmon Arm Roots and Blues festival is a undeniably beautiful outdoor festival experience. With a community minded approach (“We present artistic and cultural events that enrich the fabric of our community,” reads the festivals mission statement), the festival boasts workshops, beautiful scenery, and a music lineup featuring talent from around the world. (JE)

Ponderosa Arts & Music Festival – Aug. 21-23 – Rock Creek, BC

Rock Creek’s Ponderosa Arts & Music Festival returns this year in August. If the idea of something a little more quaint appeals to you, Ponderosa is a sound bet. Featuring the likes of BC favourites The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer and Mounties, the festival aims to keep things local by featuring only artists, musicians, and vendors from beautiful British Columbia. (RDC)

Rifflandia – Sept. 17-20 – Victoria, BC

Rifflandia is kinder gentler music festival that gets the whole city involved. It takes place every September and engages the community by holding shows in venues all over Victoria, the headlining shows are held at Royal Athletic Park, which keeps the most sought after entertainment open to all ages. The festival also teams up with local businesses who offer deals and discounts to customers with wristbands throughout the festival. This year Rifflandia is coming back strong with Chromeo, Julian Casablancas and the Voids, and Kezia as headliners. At this festival a drunk man is more likely to compliment your shoes than throw up on them, a statement which pretty much says it all. (MRS)

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