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Summer Festivals

Victoria International Kite Festival – Late May or Early June

This festival is a fun, visual spectacle held at Clover Point, at the seaside off of Dallas road, a perfect location for kite flying and a favourite spot for wind surfers. The Kite Festival is family friendly and free to attend, attracting professional kite flyers and hobby flyers alike. Both spectators and participants will enjoy the variety of kites which range from the very small to the very large, often displaying elaborate, colourful, and whimsical designs. Children are invited to make their own kites and everyone is welcome to join in the fun. This festival also features the Headway Victoria Epilepsy & Parkinson’s Centre whose mission is to provide support to those living with epilepsy. Offering information and accepting donations on site, the Headway Victoria Epilepsy & Parkinson’s Centre is a non-profit organization that works hard to ensure services are available to those in need. For more information please visit http://victoriakitefestival.com/.

Harbour Ferry Ballet – May to September

From May to September, every Sunday morning (and every Saturday morning in July and August) at precisely 10:45 a.m. the Victoria Harbour Ferries take a break from taxiing the waters in order to perform The Harbour Ferry Ballet. The ballet is a ten minute performance and takes place in the Inner Harbour, in front of the Empress Hotel. Not only is the ballet a source of quaint entertainment but it also displays the agility of the little pickle boats as well as the captains’ command of their vessels. The ballet has been on going since 1993 and has become a hallmark of the Inner Harbour. For more information please visit www.victoriaharbourferry.com.

VIC Fest – June

VIC Fest, or Victoria Island Cultural Festival, celebrates regional musicians, artists, breweries, and culinary delights. Held at the lovely grounds of St. Ann’s Academy for a weekend in June, the festival provides a beer tasting section with a large variety of regional brewers, two music stages featuring island based musicians, local culinary entrepreneurs, and a kids zone. There will also be a plethora of vendors selling handmade crafts, clothing, and jewelry. For more information on tickets please visit www.vicfest.ca.

TD Victoria International Jazz Fest Mid June

For ten days in mid June jazz and blues musicians from all around the world play at the TD Victoria International Jazz Fest. The festival is part of a nation wide network of jazz advocates and many of the musicians are internationally acclaimed. The festival is diverse in its shows and venues playing in concert halls and theatres, restaurants, clubs, as well as daily free shows at Centennial Square. There are also workshops to attend for budding artists and jazz enthusiasts. For more information please visit www.jazzvictoria.ca/jazz-fest.

Vegan Fest – July

For one day in July Vegan Fest celebrates all things vegan! This festival is full of fun and insight into a vegan lifestyle. There will be several guest presenters giving talks throughout the day about vegan diets, holistic nutrition, and eco-activism. There will also be cooking demos, recipe sharing, and a host of vegan food vendors. This festival isn’t just about food but also about highlighting vegan products and encouraging consumer awareness. Animal activist will also be present, sharing their insights on how to better protect animals and what it means to co-exist without violence. This festival is free to attend and is held at the Market Square in downtown Victoria. For more information please visit www.victoriaveganfest.com.

 

Pride Week – July

The Victoria Pride Week is very much about inclusion and empowerment. Everyone is invited to unite and support those who are, or might be, lesbian, gay, bisexual, two-spirited, transgender, intersex, or just friends and allies. Pride Week fosters an open community based on the radical idea that we are all free to exist as our authentic selves without discrimination. The Pride festival offers stories of Victoria’s LGBTQ history and current mandates via speakers and activists, and all folks are encouraged to come and enjoy the festivities. For more information on dates and events please visit http://victoriapridesociety.org/.

 

Rock the Shores – July

Rock the Shores is a three day outdoor music festival held in July in Colwood, BC. Just a short drive from Victoria, the festival has been gaining momentum since its inception in 2012 and proudly features both local island musicians as well as big names of the music industry. The festival attracts thousands of people each year and keeps the crowds humming with a slew of local food vendors and brew tents. Be sure to keep yourself hydrated and bring sunblock! For more information on line-up and tickets, please visit http://rocktheshores.com.

 

Victoria Summer Music Festival – July

If you love chamber music then you will love the Victoria Summer Music Festival. Committed to excellence, this festival continues to showcase the most talented and dynamic chamber musicians in a series of intimate concerts held throughout July and into early August. The festival makes great effort to provide tickets at a reasonable rate, including extremely affordable student rates, so that as everyone is able to enjoy these inspiring sessions. In addition to the concerts, there are also scheduled talks with the musicians which are free to attend. For more information on dates and performances please visit www.vsmf.org.

 

Victoria International Cycling Festival – May – September

Victoria is a cycle friendly city; in addition to the extensive Galloping Goose and Lochside trails, panoramic routes, and numerous streets outfitted with cycle lanes, Victoria also hosts the Victoria International Cycling Festival. This festival differs from many others in that it spans almost half the year, beginning in late spring and going into autumn, and is composed of several races and rides. Starting off with a bang, the first race of the year is called the Robert Cameron Law Cycling Series and is arguably Victoria’s largest cycling event. This event is held over a weekend and includes three separate races throughout greater Victoria, as well as very popular kids ride. However, this racing event is only one of many, so if you are a cycling enthusiast visiting Victoria be sure to check their website for upcoming events! Please visit www.vicf.ca.

Victoria Annual Ska Fest – July

Ska fest is a multi-day event put on by the Victoria BC Ska Society. The Ska Society is committed to keeping the up beat and punchy genre alive and well in Victoria and throughout the island. They put on various shows and events all year round but their crowning achievement and most dedicated enterprise is definitely this annual Ska Fest. The Ska Fest always has a monster line up of thirty plus bands coming from near and far in order to play ska, hip hop, reggae, soul, and other related genres at many locales throughout the city. The most notorious venue for Ska Fest goers is of course the open air stage in the inner harbour at ships point. The inner harbour stage has bands playing throughout the day for the entire festival and although many of these performances are free, both in the inner harbour and at other venues, others shows do require a ticket. For more information please visit http://victoriaskafest.ca

Fern Fest – July

Fern Fest is truly a local gem! This two day block party is held in the heart of Fernwood, a very quaint and unique neighbourhood with a lot of spirit. The festival sure packs in as much as possible in these two days! Starting in the evening with live music going until ten p.m. and then continuing on the second day with a pancake breakfast in the morning and a full day of activities. There are musicians, a BBQ and a beer garden, arts and craft activities for the kids, a bicycle parade, a silent auction, and even a second stage that features artisans, magicians, and dancers. The festival is dedicated to celebrating their community and welcoming any one and everyone who would like to come and join in the fun. For more information please visit www.fernwoodnrg.ca.

Taste: Victoria’s Festival of Food and Wine – July

If you’re a foodie this is festival you won’t want to miss! Taste is a three day food and wine extravaganza which takes place every July. There are multiple tastings and events, each which highlight different local foods and wines from all over British Columbia. Not just a delight for the senses, this festival is committed to promoting local farmers, seasonal ingredients, and sustainability, as well as providing interactive tasting seminars on how to expertly pair foods and wines together. This long weekend merges pleasure with information by providing a conscience culinary experience at the hands of Victoria’s top chefs. Tickets go like, oh you know, hot cakes! So act fast and visit www.victoriataste.com for more information.

Romp! – July

This festival of independent dance takes place in July and is hosted by the Suddenly Dance Theatre company of Victoria. Held at Centennial square and free to attend, Romp! is an exciting display of dance performances. Each show features a different style of dance and choreography, infusing the urban space with kinetic and creative energy. Come and enjoy the theatrical spectacle as the performers gracefully integrate different artistic mediums, such as spoken word, into their acrobatic feats. Sure to be an entertaining and surprising presentation of independent dance, this festival is one you won’t want to miss. For more information on scheduling please visit www.suddenlydance.ca.

Pacific Tattoo – July

Pacific Tattoo is a music festival which takes place in July. The term “tattoo” refers to military style drumming, piping, and other musical expertise. The ceremony originated in the 17th century but current day tattoos have evolved into a much larger and diverse performance. Not only are there drummers and pipers but also bands and choirs, dancers and athletic demonstrations, and even comedy! As with all things military the execution of these performances are precise and par to none. For more information on tickets please visit www.pacifictattoo.ca.

Victoria International Buskers Festival – July

Midway through July Victoria’s downtown core becomes inundated with street performers! The professional buskers, who come from near and far, showcase a variety of styles and skills; there are jugglers, acrobats, magicians, giant puppets, musicians, and many other unique and quirky talents. While this festival is on be sure to wander around downtown a bit -you’re sure to find something surprising! For information on scheduling please visit www.victoriabuskers.com.

TD Art Gallery Paint In aka Moss St. Paint In – July

Each July the most talented artists from the region bring the essences of their studios to Moss St. Over 180 artists work on their creations all along Moss st, from Fort st to Dallas rd, turning the street into a living gallery. Artists reveal their creative processes as they mold, sculpt, chisel, paint and draw their pieces into existence. However, the artists are not solely there to showcase their work but also to involve and introduce anyone who is interested at trying their hand at the artist’s speciality. The main focus of the event is put on sharing with and inspiring one another, be it for a professional endeavour or simply for pleasure, fostering the creative momentum is paramount to this festival. Come be inspired! For more information please visit www.aggv.ca/events/td-art-gallery-paint.

Victoria’s International Accordion Festival – July

Victoria’s very own BC Accordion Society is alive and well! Not only does the society have the honour of hosting the world’s largest accordion event, the Coupe Mondiale, but they have also instituted an Accordion Degree at Camosun College in the pursuit of musical excellence. In addition to these large scale feats, the society puts on the The Accordion Festival each July. The festival offers us concerts, workshops, competitions, and the talents of international accordion champions. This three day event promotes the newly initiated and the well seasoned accordion aficionados alike, hosting several friendly competitions and putting together unique concerts for our listening pleasure. Some events are free and some are ticketed, for more information please visit www.bcaccordion.ca.

Victoria Symphony Splash – August

The Symphony Splash transforms the Victoria’s Inner Harbour into an amazing aquatic amphitheatre! Now one of the largest symphonic events in North America, the Victoria Symphony performs an entire concert on a floating stage in the middle of the harbour and attracts thousands of spectators each year. This spectacular free event takes place in the evening and visitors can enjoy the musical entertainment while perusing the plethora of food and craft vendors that line the harbour or spend time in the Splash Family Zone if you have children with you. The event literally ends with a bang as the Victoria Symphony concludes their performance with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and makes use of bells, cannons, and fireworks for their grand finale! For more information please visit www.victoriasymphony.ca.

Fringe Festival – August

Fringe Festival is an eleven day event of exciting theatre. There are over three hundred performances of drama, comedy, spoken word, dance, and music that take place in venues all over town. The event is put on by the Intrepid Theatre Company who is committed to pushing the boundaries of entertainment. For more information on tickets and scheduling please visit www.victoriafringe.com.

Free B-Film Festival – August

This free and family friendly event takes place every Friday and Saturday throughout the month of August. Bring a blanket (no chairs please) and some snacks and come watch some great B-movies shown outdoors on 20 foot screens. The first weekend the films are shown on the Legislature lawn and the following weekends the movie showings take place in Beacon Hill Park. For a list of the showings please visit www.freebfilmfest.com.

Vancouver Island Blues Bash – August

The Blues Bash is put on by the Victoria Jazz Society and is supported by the TD International Jazz collective. The festival features local and international blues and R&B musicians, both solo artists and ensembles, and lasts three days. There are free performances everyday as well as featured performances which require paid admission, all of which take place outdoors in Victoria’s beautiful Inner Harbour at Ship Point. For detailed information on artists and show times please visit www.jazzvictoria.ca.

Victoria Dragon Boat Festival – August

Come watch the exciting dragon boat races that take place in the Inner Harbour! The dragon boaters will race from Laurel Point towards the Empress Hotel in short but intense bursts of energy and athletic achievement. In addition to watching the races this three day event will feature live entertainment on two stages, a beer garden, cultural performances, kid friendly activities, eclectic flavours of the Forbidden City Food Court and will conclude with an award ceremony for the athletes. The festival also supports the BC Cancer Foundation by selling and hanging Chinese lanterns adorned with personal messages in the Lights of Courage Campaign which will be ongoing throughout the festival. http://victoriadragonboat.com/

Classic Boat Festival – August

The Classic Boat Festival celebrates the maritime community whilst admiring traditional boats of all kinds, from yachts to workboats, for a three day boat show in Victoria’s Inner Harbour. The boats come from all along the Pacific Northwest and are maintained by dedicated owners who rely on the support of their boatyards, trades peoples, and many non profit maritime organizations that provide education, training, and skills development. The festival is held in appreciation of the hard work from all sectors of the maritime community which maintain our sea-faring heritage and future. For more information please visit www.classicboatfestival.ca.

Victoria Tango Festival – August

The Tango Festival is organized by none other than The Passion for Tango Society and is a three day event of tango loving fun! The three days are filled with concerts of classical tango music, jazz tango, Argentinian folk music and other related genres, as well as dance performances, lectures, and interactive workshops. During the day there are free performances at Centennial Square while featured concerts are held at a variety of venues including Hermann’s Jazz Club and the Alix Goolden Hall. The artists involved with this festival are enthusiastically committed to sharing their love and knowledge of the Latin arts. For more information on shows and tickets please visit www.passion4tango.com.

Celebrate BC Day – August

The first Monday in August is BC day and with it comes a celebration of British Columbia. Held at the beautiful grounds of St. Ann’s Academy there will be music and activities for the whole family to enjoy as well as food and artisan vendors. In addition to the musical and cultural entertainment, there will also be a BC Eats stage where local gourmet chefs display and share their culinary creativity. This complimentary outdoor event goes from noon to 9 pm and everyone is welcome! For more information please visit www.celebratebcday.com.

IndiaFest Mela – August

A cultural celebration of all things Indian takes place at Centennial Square every August for three days. There will be traditional musical performances, as well as Bollywood enthusiast, dances, a fashion show, jewellery and henna vendors, and authentic Indian food. Come enjoy a slice of South Asian culture while this event is on! For more information please visit http://www.iccavictoria.com.

Greek Fest – August

A Greek cultural celebration which spans two weekends invites you to eat, dance, and immerse yourself in Greek heritage. Delicious authentic Greek cuisine as well as traditional dancing and music are on going throughout the celebration, however, if you need a break from the festivities there are also guided tours of the Greek Orthodox Church. The tours include information on the architecture, history, and teachings of the Greek Orthodox Church. Other activities include arts and crafts for the kids, a heritage exhibit, and last but not least there will be a raffle draw for a chance to win a free trip to Greece! For more information please visit http://greekfest.ca/.

Oak Bay Collector Car Festival – August

For one day in August the beautiful Oak Bay village turns into an elaborate car exhibit for the Collector Car Festival. The event attracts 250 – 300 vintage and collector cars which are displayed along Oak Bay Avenue. The street is exempt from general traffic for the event and becomes a pedestrian gallery. For more information please visit www.oakbay.ca