VICTORIA SKA & REGGAE FESTIVAL XVII Kick off @ Ship Point (Inner Harbour)
Canada's Best Coast will be celebrating in Pomp and Pride Wednesday, June 22, 2016 at Ship Point Inner Harbour here in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada when TOOTS AND THE MAYTALS makes his long awaited return to Victoria Ska & Reggae Festival XVII. It's been four years since the last time Toots and the Maytals graced our marquee stage at Ship Point in Victoria's Inner Harbour and we couldn't be more proud to bring him to our Ska & Reggae family! Toots Hibbert was there at the forefront of the cultural movement that birthed ska and reggae culture. For more than a half century Toots has remained one of reggae's great ambassadors, his earthy voice one of the most recognizable in the music's history. His catalogue of classic songs, including "Monkey Man," "5446 That's My Number" and "Funky Kingston," remain staples of reggae music, guaranteed to paint a smile across the face of all who hear them. His last visit to the Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest was a show for the ages and this year promises to be even bigger!
Joining Toots and the Maytals will be Grand Prairie's reggae kings Tasman Jude, funky Victoria mischief makers The Leg-Up Program and Comox Valley beat digger Mt. Eliah. In their short lifespan Tasman Jude has established themselves as one of Canada's most important reggae acts, ambassadors and protectors of the culture that we all love so much. The Leg-Up Program is one of Victoria's funnest acts and will provide a blast of energy with their huge wall-of-sound approach to funk and hip-hop. Mt. Eliah will be providing the beats and music in between sets with his crowd-pleasing blend of world-beat rhythms and bouncy electronic grooves.
Early bird tickets on sale now on ticketweb.ca. Hard copy tickets on sale soon at various locations:
Victoria - Jupiter, Lyle's Place, Victoria Tourist Centre
Vancouver - Highlife Records, Red Cat Records, Beat Street Records
Nanaimo - Fascinating Rhythms
Duncan - Area 51
Official Toots and the Maytals Afterparty: @ Distrikt
This festival showcase "Official Toots & the Maytals Afterparty" is perfect for fans of ska and reggae past and present. Chris Murray is the oldest Ska & Reggae Fest alumni on this year's festival as he played on Victoria's 1st Ska Fest in August 2000. For this show he will re-unite with New Victorians: Jules Charles, Christian Stevenson and Sam Tallo (King Apparatus) to make a full band to bring more depth to his already soulful music.
Performing alongside Chris Murray & the New Victorians will be Downtown Mischief - Victoria's funk, hip hop, soul collective comprised of some of the most talented and fun musicians in Victoria! Together they form a unique collective of musicians who met through the raw energy of Friday night jam parties. They have since evolved through a fluctuating community of members and friends to form a driving, pulsing machine that explodes with life on stage. An adventurous west coast lifestyle fuels their inspiration and it is apparent in their music. This emerging band will not only captivate you with their beats, smiles and words, but get you moving and grooving on the dance floor!
To round out the bill, Ali & the Budz will give the audience conscious dancehall and roots reggae.
VICTORIA SKA & REGGAE FEST XVII FREE INTERNATIONAL SHOWCASE @ Ship Point (Inner Harbour)
Thu. June 23rd 10pm doors at 4pm
Every year Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest presents a series of free shows at our Ship Point stage, highlighting some of the finest new names in music, both nationally and internationally. Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest XVII is no exception. This is the first of two jam-packed nights of some of the finest live band dance music you're going to see all summer. Headlining this first night spectacular is ORQUESTRA BRASAILERIA DE MUSICA JAMAICNA. This powerful 9-piece blasts out heavy, fun-soaked ska rhythms that never fail to get the crowd pumped up and moving. The band draws inspiration not just from classic Jamaican riddims, but from horror and sci-fi movies as well, imbuing it all with a keen sense for capital “F” Fun. Joining OBMJ for this intense outdoor ska-session will be Portland's own funky ska soldiers, THE SENTIMENTS. The band has established themselves as one of the Northwest's most vital ska outfits, injecting everything they do with good, healthy doses of soul and funk grooves.
Adding more support to the evening are friends of the Victoria Ska & Reggae Festival, old and new. Our old friends in BLACKBERRY WOOD make their triumphant return to the Ska & Reggae Fest, returning from their endless and relentless weirdo-troubadouring around BC and beyond. Their ridiculously high-energy gypsy folk stylings create a dance party wherever the band appears, without fail. *Warning* Trying to stand still during a Blackberry Wood show may result in serious injury. And making their Victoria Ska & Reggae Festival debut is SKARATE KID, storming out of Tel Aviv, Israel. A fine example of the global power of Ska & Reggae music, Skarate Kid has been doing the big work, spreading the culture around their home country and beyond and we can't be more excited to present their Canadian debut to our lovely Ska & Reggae Massive.
Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra have been long time Ska & Reggae Fest alumni since they first formed as a band in the early to mid 2000s. But it’s been more than four years since they graced a Victoria Ska & Reggea Fest stage and we couldn’t be more thrilled to host this festival show for Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra as a home-coming celebration for the Victoria 5-piece. With instrumentation that includes accordions, violins and a variety of other folk staples, TMO is guaranteed to get the crowd moving to their stories of adventure, love and heartbreak. Combining that folk sensibility with bouncy ska rhythms and a big dollop of gypsy soul, the band represents the deep cultural melting pot that is the West Coast.
Joining TMO for this West Coast dance party is Vancouver’s mighty Mud Funk. This collection of soul troubadours is one of the most exciting bands on the coast right now, delivering their classicist soul sound with a heavy injection of grime and bottom end, giving the 9-piece the extra kick that serious dancers need. Earlier this year when the Victoria Ska Society presented the legendary Booker T. Jones at Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre, we couldn’t think of anyone we wanted to open the festivities more than Mud Funk and the band delivered in spades, putting on an unforgettable performance in front of a packed hometown crowd. Together with TMO, this promises to be one of the best live dance parties of the summer!
@ Lucky Bar
For those in our family who like their Ska & Reggae vibes with a little extra kick, we've put together an extra-spicy night just for you for Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest XVII. We've gone over to the mainland to hunt down and extract legendary Vancouver metal skankers NINJASPY to melt your face while you shake your rump. Long untended have been the bonds between reggae and harder music like punk and metal. For years these underground cultures were more than friendly with each other - trading musical inspiration back and forth, coming together over their shared lower, working-class roots. Through their relentless touring and genre-crushing approached to ska, Ninjaspy has established itself as one of the great protectors of this bond between cultures, a bridge between long lost friends. We're so happy to have these hard-rocking ska warriors back to help remind us of our lost brethren.
Joining Ninjaspy for this rocking celebration are two of Victoria's most energetic, frenetic and kinetic bands: weirdo funksters THE PARTY ON HIGH STREET and genre-blending extraordinaires MORE THAN MAYHEM. Both bands feature groove-heavy instrumentation, mind-jogging lyrics and an unparalleled sense of fun. With big guitars and rhythms to match, this night promises to be unlike anything else at this year's Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest. A must-catch for all you distortion funk junkies out there.
Rocksteady Collective Art Exhibit
John Hopkins @ Odd Fellows Hall
, Sean Behnsen
, Amethyst Dance Troupe
, Warren Smith
, Stephie Spring
, Kim Newns
, Eric Holden (Gourmet Munchies)
, Laban Pitman-Johnson (Wolfpack Project)
, Arielle Houghton
, Steve Kitchen
, Travis Charuk
, Sean Brookes
Fri. June 24th - Sat. June 25th
With the 17th annual Victoria Ska & Reggae Festival just over a month away, we are pleased to announce the continuation of the Rocksteady Collective for it's 6th consecutive year. This exhibition is our visual arts component to the festival. This year's Rocksteady Collective will feature many artists, with a variety of mediums. This will be the very first year the Victoria Ska & Reggae Festival will feature culinary arts and metalwork.
We are excited to be holding this year's gallery at The Odd Fellows Hall, home of the prestigious Odd Fellows. Completed in 1897, this unique building was designed by the same architect as City Hall, and offers a timeless atmosphere.
Launch Party - FREE admission!
Check out our Rocksteady Collective Launch Party on Friday June 24th from 5-7PM, located at The Odd Fellows Hall at 1315 Douglas Street. Come browse the art, enjoy complimentary culturally significant appetizers with a flare of culinary arts, and watch our video arts presentation from the Wolfpack Project.
This year we will be featuring two Rocksteady shows, both held at The Odd Fellows Hall. Friday June 24th we have Compassion Gorilla, w/ Cheko & The Lion Rockers, and Saturday June 25th we have Bousada w/ Buckman Coe and Mr. Fantastik. Tickets only available at door. $10 with Full Fest pass or proof of other ticket purchase, or $15 for those not attending any other festival shows. VIP get in FREE!
We are proud to once again welcome back Verse to the Rockteady Collective's list of artists. His murals show a unique blend of portrait street art and wild style graffiti, and are always a festival favourite.
We are excited to welcome back Amethyst Dance Troup who are sure to tantalize our audience with choreographed dance and adult entertainment. A fan favourite from last year!
Your host for the evening will be none other than the festival's Rocksteady Collective Coordinator, Sean "Flynch" Behnsen, our society's big-bearded, band interviewing, slice of pecan pie.
Amethyst Dance Troupe
Eric Holden (Gourmet Munchies)
Laban Pitman-Johnson (Wolfpack Project)
@ Ship Point (Inner Harbour)
Three years ago Dub FX (AUS) graced our all-ages stage at Ship Point (Inner Harbour) and put on a performance for the ages and this year he returns to bring back the goods to our vibe-hungry reggae massive. Full of improvisational, creative energy and the DIY spirit that has powered Ska & Reggae culture since its inception. Taking those aesthetics and a love for the electronic music culture that has exploded in recent years, Dub FX has been thrilling audiences the world over with his wholly unique style, unbound by conventional genre constrictions. His style – the ability to sample, loop and distort his own voice – was forged through countless hours performing for the masses on the streets throughout Europe. Even as his stages and status in the global music community have grown, Dub FX has managed to retain that intimate, small-show feel. Whether he’s throwing in bits of reggae, hip-hop or drum ‘n’ bass, his sunny, positive vibes keeps the crowd beaming. Joining Dub FX for this outdoor extravaganza are Juno-winning reggae sensation Mikey Dangerous (JAM/CAN) and Victoria hip-hop mischief makers Illvis Freshley.
Mikey Dangerous, repping Jamaica by way of Montreal, is doing the big work, keeping the real roots of reggae music strong and tended here in Canada. Songs like “Don’t Go Pretending,” “Wake Up!” and “Higher than High” have helped him achieve and maintain acclaim both with Canada and out in the larger reggae world. His appearance this year marks his long-overdue Ska & Reggae Fest debut and we couldn’t be more excited to bring his infectious energy to our beautiful audience.
Speaking of infectious energy, there might be no group on the current west coast scene more dripping with it than Illvis Freshly. Seemingly coming out of nowhere, the boys in Illvis Freshly have taken Vancouver Island by storm over the last year, rocking audiences up and down with their ultra-funky blend of bouncy electronic beats, biting live guitar and playful, dexterous rapping. Also making their Ska & Reggae Fest debut, Illvis Freshly is bringing a roster of friends to help them get the crowd jumping. We can’t wait to see who or what they have in store for their special summer surprise!
This show is all ages and fully licensed for those 19 years + with ID.
AMY WINEHOUSE EXTRAVAGANZA (A special tribute to Amy featuring members of @ Sugar
Back by popular demand, Victoria BC Ska Society is excited to once again present an AMY WINEHOUSE EXTRAVAGANZA on Victoria's 17th Annual Ska & Reggae Festival featuring an ALL STAR HOUSE BAND featuring members of Vancouver's The Ballantynes, The Valuables, We are Machines, Nanaimo's Boomshack and a special guest appearance by The Fabulous LoLo of The Kingpins. The show will be topped off by drag performances by Shanda Leer! Last time the show sold out so fast and there were so many people that didn't get in we thought it was a perfect idea to host this showcase again on the festival.
Why Amy? Well in the short time Amy Winehouse was alive she managed to bring music that captured the hearts and ears of fans spanning from R&B, jazz, soul, ska, reggae and pop. She was the kind of artist that any song she would sing would be revered from fans of several genres.
And why honour her on our festival? While Amy Winehouse's love for R&B was her main influence she was also a close friend of the ska and reggae genres and some of its most revered creators. She created songs in her repetoire that covered legends such as Toots and the Maytals and appeared on live performances with The Specials. She also had close ties to Damian Marley and before she died had plans to collaborate with him on future recordings.
This show on Friday, June 24th at Sugar will aim to capture the spirit of Amy Winehouse in all her various colours. The energy and talent of the performers at this show will capture the spirit and energy of Amy Winehouse and will do this show justice.
@ Ship Point (Inner Harbour)
The Black Seeds (Easy Star Records) are one of Canada's the most beloved reggae bands from New Zealand. Their music is an irresistible blend of reggae with funk, soul, Afro-beat and other worldbeat sounds. The Black Seeds are no strangers to Canada's west coast. The Black Seeds were one of the featured acts at Victoria's 11th Annual Ska Festival and now six years later, the band is making its triumphant return to the Fest! In the time since their last appearance here, The Black Seeds have established themselves as one of the most consistent reggae acts in the world, playing festivals and headlining shows around the globe.
They'll be joined by Western Standard Time Ska Orchestra who are one of North America's premier ska orchestras. The band brings together the best West Coast ska, reggae, and jazz musicians of the last 20 years – to pay tribute to The Skatalites, the extremely influential Jamaican band that has been credited for inventing ska and paved the way for rocksteady and reggae. The band features past and present members of Hepcat, The Aggrolites, Brian Setzer Orchestra, The Debonaires and more + guest musicians from regional bands TBA.
Providing support to this Ska & Reggae spectacular will be a trio of incredible diverse West Coast acts. SweetLeaf will be bringing their hazy roots reggae to the stage in front of their hometown brethren. There's been a long and fruitful relationship between the homies in SweetLeaf and the Victoria Ska Society and we couldn't be more proud of how far these cats have come. LOVEcoast will be bringing their relentlessly sweet soulful pop sounds to the Ship Point stage. Our friends over at 91.3 The Zone honoured the soul rockers recently by naming them Zone's Band of the Month for April 2016 - a well-deserved honour for their accessible and groovy sounds. Last but certainly not least, DJ Dubconcious, one of the West Coast's foremost authorities on all things reggae (Though he recently left us for a new home in Nelson!), will be helping us get down between the live sets with his learned blend of the finest electronic riddims in the land.
@ Victoria Event Centre
To help launch you into the last day of Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest XVII, we've rounded up two of the Island's most fun and energetic bands. DOPE SODA has been a huge part of the Ska & Reggae Festival family since their inception and we are so excited to have them back to bash you in the ears with their excessively heavy and unique brand of ska fun. Joining them to give an extra dose of weirdness are Victoria's funky mystery BOCCE AVOCADO. Their sets are unpredictable jam sessions that keep the audience guessing while they groove. It's a one-two punch of pure, unadulterated fun.
VICTORIA SKA & REGGAE FEST XVII FREE INTERNATIONAL SHOWCASE - CLOSING SHOW @ Ship Point (Inner Harbour)
Sun. June 26th 3pm - 8pm doors at 2:30pm
To wrap the festivities this year, Victoria Ska & Reggae Festival is proud to present a jammed-pack day of all-ages, FREE programming at our Ship Point stage in the heart of the city's Inner Harbour. We're bringing the extra bright, circus Sunday vibes your way this time around with the high-wire circus sound of Argentinian clown brigade, ENTANGADOS! The group promises to bring a ton of energy to the outdoor stage, equal parts thrilling and joyous, perfect for everyone in your family tree. Seattle's YOGOMAN will be providing even more colour, with a heavy dose of reggae grooves delivered with the smooth, calming groove that is reggae's signature. It's a celebration and we're calling out the big, colourful guns for this one.
Keep those classic ska vibes is of the utmost importance and so we also bring you the Ska & Reggae Fest return of Canada's reigning Queen of Ska, THE FABULOUS LOLO (of the Kingpins). This time around she'll be supported by Victoria's own Phonosonics. A valuable protector of ska culture, The Fabulous LoLo has remained an important part of the Canadian ska & reggae scene for nearly two decades and we are so excited to have her back, performing original and classic ska tunes, delivered with the utmost class and style. Victoria Afro-beat outfit MARAFANI WORLD BEAT will open things up with their high-happiness djembe-driven beats.
THE BLACK SEEDS IN TOFINO! @ Tofino Community Hall Tofino BC
The Black Seeds are coming to TOFINO to spread some of that beautiful New Zealand reggae, soul and funk. Also this show is ALL AGES and fully licensed for those 19yrs+
Kids 10 and under are free accompanied by paying adults (proof of age may be required).
Early bird tickets on sale now on ticketweb.ca