By Lauren Donnelly
The west coast goes wild in September. One of Vancouver’s youngest urban music festivals is returning and has just announced an inspired international lineup.
For four days, Westward Music Festival transforms downtown Vancouver into a musical playground for concertgoers. Headliners in the just-announced first round of programming include R&B electronica artist Blood Orange, Colombian-American singer/songwriter Kali Uchis, and YouTube queen of random turned pop songstress, Poppy.
Taking place in some of Vancouver’s dearest iconic venues – the Vogue Theatre, the Fox Cabaret, and the Rio Theatre just to name a few – music lovers can purchase tickets for individual shows or buy wristbands for a more traditional music festival experience.
The multi-venue, international showcase was masterminded by MRG Group, an independent entertainment company that owns concert venues Canada-wide. Well acquainted with who’s making waves in the music scene both nationally and internationally, MRG responded to the trend of local festival closures – Squamish Valley, Pemberton – by reimagining the festival experience. It’s a new approach that seems to be working well for B.C.
With more acts to be announced soon, the festival credits Vancouver’s warm welcome last year with what promises to be a bigger festival. “Due to the incredible support from Vancouver over the past year, we have been able to grow the festival to include more shows and venues,” says Matt Gibbons, the founder of MRG Group. He says Westward’s aim is to create memorable experiences for artists and fans alike and it looks like they’ll accomplish that goal for 2018.
The bill already includes performers from diverse genres and backgrounds, but highlights include some noteworthy Canadian talents. Edmonton’s nêhiyawak, Montreal duo Milk & Bone, and Ontario punk band METZ are just some of the homegrown acts rounding out the bill. Local bands the Odds and We Are the City will perform with the home team advantage.
It’s a bespoke music festival that allows music fans to curate their own bills. The festival’s success last year suggests that Westward’s unique format of musical experiences in historic local venues is a hit with locals.
Westward Festival brings Vancity alive with the sound of music at various venues Sept. 13-16. Pre-sale tickets are now available via westwardfest.com or in person at Vancouver’s Red Cat Records.westward music festival