By Chris Dzaka, Dayna Mahannah, Jordan Yeager, Josh Sheppard
Breakout Festival: June 9-10
Time-tested Timbre Concerts presents the very first Breakout Festival at the PNE grounds here in Vancouver. This weekend will hit you like a double barrel to the chest, meaning ticket holders will get their peepers on fire acts like Migos and 6lack and also get access to all the rides at the PNE.
“We’ve had a long-standing relationship with the PNE, and we are happy to bring Vancouver’s first all hip-hop and R&B festival to this venue,” says Timbre Concerts.
“Putting some of Vancouver’s best artists in the spotlight with some of the biggest names in hip-hop has always been part of our vision,” Johnny Black of CRESCENDO1 adds. “Teaming up with Timbre was a natural partnership. Our goals are one and the same: to bring a one-of-a-kind festival experience while also putting on for Vancouver music.” –Chris Dzaka
Queer Arts Festival: June 16-28
2018 is the Queer Arts Festival’s 10th anniversary, and this year’s carefully curated theme is suiting: DECADEnce. Our colonial society tends to have very specific ideas regarding “what ‘counts’ as worthy of articulating. We literally count success and attach dates to significant momentous occasions, times in history when someone is said to have ‘accomplished something’ that should be celebrated and then written down to measure its worth, annually.” DECADEnce aims to challenge deep-rooted perceptions of what defines “HIStory” and instead examine “marks that live beyond the page […] in actions unnoticed, voices unheard, lost stories of self, and races won in forgotten Herstories/Ourstories.” The artist-run festival is multidisciplinary, offering arts of the visual, performance, literary, and media varieties. –Jordan Yeager
Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest: June 20-24
“Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest once again welcomes the world to the West Coast for five days of international groove and rhythm! Come one, come all!” publicist Blake Morneau of the Vancouver Island-based music festival rolls out the welcome mat. With featured acts including The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and the Dreadnoughts, Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest has promised to pay homage to genre royalty as well as creating a bridge to the youth carrying the torch to future. –CD
Vancouver International Jazz Festival: June 22-July 1
For 33 consecutive years, Vancouver’s International Jazz Festival has provided a platform for hundreds of artists, local, national, and international alike. The festival, which is hosted by local non-profit organization Coastal Jazz and Blues Society, brings in over half a million people each year. Their mission: to solidify Vancouver as a cultural “centre for the creation and exchange of sounds and ideas,” and to “strengthen the arts community by developing special projects, artistic exchanges, partnerships, educational initiatives, community programs, and collaborations that further the art form.” This year, there are more than 150 free shows, including performances by Bonobo, Cherry Glazerr, Dirty Projectors, and many more. –JY
Centre of Gravity: July 27-29
Held in the lake city of Kelowna and running through July 27-29, Centre of Gravity promises to be one of the most entertaining festivals of the summer, with stages situated right on the beach.
“For over a decade, COG has been bringing the hottest musical acts and world class athletes to City Park on Lake Okanagan,” says Scott Emslie, festival founder. “This year, not only have we got performances by the full Wu-Tang Clan, Zedd, French Montana, and more than 40 other acts, we are also introducing a Rugby Sevens competition and an axe throwing area alongside the always-popular sports zone. Each year just keeps getting better!” –Josh Sheppard
Midsummer Music Festival: June 29 – July 1
Family positive Midsummer Music Festival has been respectfully rocking Northern BC since 1984! Wet’suwet’en’s First Nations lands in Bulkley Valley will fill with family vibes, guitar camps, crafts, and, of course, many genres of music to tap your toes to. MSMF is completely run by volunteers with green thumbs carrying much love for Mother Earth. Featured acts this year include Faith Healer and The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer. –CD
FVDED in the Park: July 6-7
FVDED in the Park, the all-ages shindig, takes place at Holland Park in Surrey, with a little something for everyone from Friday night headliner Future to the electronic stylings of Grandtheft.
“We’ve had such a positive response from our fans and are very excited to see FVDED in the Park in its fourth year, bringing the best artists in dance, R&B, and hip hop,” says Alvaro Prol, Blueprint co-founder and FVDED Festival Director and Lead Talent Buyer. “This year, we’ve been working on new elements to our production and we can’t wait to share this new experience with everyone.” –CD
Bass Coast: July 6-9
Bass Coast is widely regarded by music lovers as the integral jewel of the BC music festival circuit. Since 2009, festival organizers have created a welcome, inclusive, non-douche-baggery, lovely sort of vibe full of music, art installations, workshops and more.
“The lineup features a spectrum of sounds with 124 acts from around the globe. Some international highlights include Nadia Rose, Nosaj Thing, MNDSGN, Madam X, and many more,” says the Bass Coast team. The festival’s 10th anniversary, complete with harm reduction model, will be held in the ridiculously beautiful Nicola Valley outside Merritt. –CD
Khatsahlano: July 7
An homage to the Squamish Medicine Man, Chief August Jack Khatsahlano, this West 4th celebration of art and music aims to inspire creativity. Spanning 10 blocks from Burrard to MacDonald Street, Khatsahlano bursts with local artisans, street performers, food, beer gardens, and overflowing Kits patios. From 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on July 7, enjoy performances from over 50 local musicians, including Bif Naked, Frazey Ford, and Slow – for free! (The bike valet service is pretty rad, too.) –Dayna Mahannah
Armstrong MetalFest: July 13-14
This Euro-style heavy metal fest features everything hardcore for a summer weekend. AMF brings 36 local and international musicians to the stunning Okanagan Valley for its 10th celebration. Though the line-up has yet to be announced, AMF promises camping, moshing, and Thrash Wrestling – an Okanagan-based promotion that unites metal and wrestling with a “balls-to-the-wall” attitude. Metal heads, don’t miss this one. –DM
Rock the Shores: July 13-15
“We’re thrilled to be back in Colwood for another edition of RTS,” Festival Director Nick Blasko says. They’re back July 13-15 after a year break, with Brian Wilson, Bahamas, Juliette and the Licks, Social Distortion, and X Ambassadors headlining. A better scope of music is promised, “from party vibes on Friday to roots and rock on Saturday to folk and jazz on Sunday.” The revamped RTS is THE spot for a bangin’ island weekend! –DM
Vancouver Folk Music Festival: July 13-15
In its 41st year and gaining gusto, VFMF graces Jericho Beach Park July 13-15. The ridiculously good-looking backdrop of Vancouver’s skyline hosts an event of the worldly and eclectic! Think: Neko Case, Ry Cooder, Ranky Tanky, The Dead South and a one-to-one ratio of women to men artists. VFMF’s Artistic Director, Debbi Lynn Salmonsen, boasts a line-up “ranging from folk and Cajun to marrabeta and beyond!” –DM
Phillip’s Backyard Weekender: July 20-22
Atomique Productions and Phillip’s Brewing Company bring their notorious “super-party” to Victoria’s favourite backyard for its 6th year. From July 20-22, the brewery parking lot transforms into a homegrown fest, with the likes of The Revolution, Dessa, Reggie Watts, and Kelis hitting the stage. As Festival Director, Dimitri Demers says, the Weekender “has the intensity of a large festival combined with the intimate feel of hanging out, barbecuing with your friends.” –DM
Rockin’ River MusicFest: August 2-5
For the country lovers out there, you won’t want to miss the Rockin’ River MusicFest as the perfect place to relax and float down a river while listening to your favourite country musicians. Hosted in Merritt, BC’s biggest and best country music festival will have a wide assortment of your favourite artists and tons of activities to choose from.
“With the hottest country lineup in Canada, including headlining performances by Eric Church, Brett Eldredge, and Dallas Smith, 2018’s Rockin’ River Festival is looking to be the place to be this summer,” says founder Kenny Hess. “And it doesn’t stop with the music. Fans enjoy days spent in the Coldwater River, camping with friends, late night saloons, line dancing, and more!” –JS
Shambhala Music Festival: August 10-13
Legend has it that, every year, an electronic music festival so magical and bass heavy can be found in the great wilds of the British Columbian interior. From August 10-13, in the Salmo River Ranch, you may be able to discover that Shambhala will be every bit as memorable as your cool friends say it is. With hip-hop artists like Dizzee Rascal and including a massive lineup of electronic producers, this fest is a must for any electronic music fan. –JS
Burnaby Blues and Roots Festival: August 11
The long-running Burnaby Blues and Roots festival will have a wide array of bands in an outdoor summer setting. Taking place on Saturday, August 11 and held at Deer Lake Park, festivalgoers will be able to enjoy a ton of great music genres ranging from bluegrass to rock. Featured artists include Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats and Amythyst Kiah. Grab your banjo and craft beer, and get ready to have a hootin’, hollerin’ time! -JS
Ponderosa: August 17-19
Ponderosa Arts & Music Festival is equal parts house party and festival. The concept was conceived of by a group of friends after spending a weekend partying in nature – shouldn’t everyone get to experience something similar? To them, the answer was an unequivocal “yes.” Hosted in tiny, idyllic Rock Creek, Ponderosa is passionately community-driven and -focused. From selection of sponsors to artists to staff to vendors and even musicians, organizers aim to reduce the festival’s impact on its site, so keep sustainability in mind when welcomed into this small town. This year, the Rock Creek-based festival features performances by the likes of k-os, Yukon Blonde, The Funk Hunters, Suuns, and many more. Attendees will also be able to stroll through an Artist Alley lined with installations from local artists and a Marketplace showcasing the products of various merchants and artisans. –JY
SKOOKUM: September 7-9
SKOOKUM is a brand new festival, ushering in its first year with big name headliners like The Killers, Florence and the Machine, and St. Vincent. Equally as enticing are the performers local to BC: Mob Bounce, Snotty Nose Rez Kids, and Ta’kaiya Blaney, to name a few. Taking place in Vancouver’s own Stanley Park, this three-day festival offers forested surroundings with the perks of city life just minutes away. Alongside the music, expect to find installations by local artists, live art performances, drinks from local breweries and distilleries, and a selection of fine cuisines. –JY
Westward Music Festival: September 13-16
The perfect, local, end-of-summer festival with all your favourite indie artists will be the Westward Music Festival. From the forward-thinking R&B of Blood Orange to futuristic pop acts like SOPHIE and Poppy, this will not be one to miss!
“Heading into its second year, MRG Concert’s Westward Music Festival will take place across Vancouver’s downtown core form September 13-16th, 2018,” says publicist Sacha Miller. “With headline performances from Kali Uchis, Rhye, Angel Olsen, and Kelela, the festival will also feature Canadian artists including Andy Shauf, Chan Van Gaalen, We Are The City, and more.” –JS
Rifflandia: September 13-16
For those on the island, this longstanding Victoria-based festival will have an assortment of local acts with something for everyone. “We’re building off last year’s milestone 10 year anniversary with a ton of exciting up-and-coming artists,” says Nick Blasko, Festival Director. “Artists like Daniel Caesar, Jessie Reyez, and Bülow are young artists who have broken through in the music industry over the past year. It’s exciting to have artists like this on our lineup before they truly blow up. You can expect the same excitement Rifflandia brings to the city of Victoria with a few new venues and features to this year’s festival.” –JS