The Victoria BC Ska Society is a non-profit organization that is comprised of a handful of organizers, volunteers and Board of Directors whose main goal is to keep Victoria’s Annual Ska Festival improving and evolving year after year as well as preserving the profile of ska and its related genres throughout the year in our region. All those involved in the Society have a burning passion for supporting the ska and reggae scene throughout Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland of BC as well as Canada and the rest of the world.
1. To present and nurture ska music along with its related genres- jazz,
reggae, rock n' roll, punk, soul Latin, R&B and more - in Victoria and region, on Vancouver Island, across British Columbia and Canada as well as the world
2. To educate youth, communities and the general public about ska music and
its related genres through a variety of methods including but not limited to the presentation of festivals, musical events, film, visual art, literature, and the press
3. To work with individuals, groups, non-profit organizations, businesses
and governments throughout Victoria and region and across Canada in order to entrench ska music and its related genres into local and national culture
Victoria’s Annual Ska Festival is the largest and longest running festival of its kind in in North America and has become one of Canada’s most anticipated music festivals. The festival represents the growing participation and interest in ska music, its related genres and sub-cultures by hundreds of thousands of people in Victoria and the rest of Vancouver Island, Vancouver, Lower Mainland British Columbia and the rest of the world. The festival also represents the relentless efforts of people who have been working towards getting ska music firmly established in Victoria and the rest of the Island. There have always been ska fans in Victoria that have created forums to promote and enjoy ska, but in the last ten years the genre has grown to become an established fixture in Vancouver Island's musical culture. Victoria and the rest of Vancouver Island have always remained open to ska but in the last ten years those in the scene have realized that Vancouver Island is one of the few Skankster's Paradises on earth. Ska bands from all over the world now know about Victoria's ska scene because it is so tight and supportive of the genre. Vancouver Islanders realize the variety ska music offers in terms of genres. They also know the vibe of being at a ska event is second to none. The interest in ska music and the number of ska bands on the Island continues to increase unconditionally. Whether or not the popularity of ska music in the rest of the world is consistent, there has always been a solid interest in ska here. We realize the goodness ska brings to people spiritually and physically. Even those that do not favour ska music as their main choice still appreciate those in Victoria and the rest of British Columbia that give so much of their time and energy towards keeping the scene going strong.
Local (Vancouver Island) bands for over a decade that have heavily contributed to keeping the scene strong include: Pressure Cooker, Funkus, Roots Roundup, The Bombasts, The Kiltlifters, The Bloodwarmers, The Hoochy Girls, Ten Too Late, Buck Shot All-Stars, Eep Op Orp (aka Monkey Spanker when playing ska/reggae), Revelation Sound, One Drop, Those Rapskallions, V.I.S.A Records Ska Jazz Orchestra (a 12 piece unified group of Vancouver Island ska musicians from many of the previously mentioned bands), Macaque, Buena Buya and J-Roys Selector Sound System! New bands that work towards keeping the scene thriving now include Brave New Waves, Rocky Mountain Rebel Music, Shade Bust, Current Swell, Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra, Step Back Dave, Everybody Left, Bananafish Dance Orchestra, The Novamatics , Hillside Hooligans, and, Jon & Roy.
Ska/reggae bands in Vancouver/Lower Mainland of British Columbia are also a huge part of Vancouver Island's ska community. Acts such as Los Furios, Rude City Riot, The Valuables, Giraffe Aftermath, Natural Flavas, Fuzz Cat, Ivy League Brawlers, The Elixxirs, Skaboom & Dan Cowan of The Villains (legendary UK/Vancouver outfit) are closely tied to many of the Vancouver Island based bands.
In Vancouver Dan Cowan (past member of the Villains) and now current manager of power ska group Rude City Riot has been working hard over the past three years especially to unite and grow the ska scene in the Vancouver/Lower Mainland area. His events called "Skaspot Live" have drawn both regional and national attention for the manner in which they bring together Vancouver's ska community.
A local Victoria ska legend that must never be forgotten is Matthew Bishop who passed away in a tragic rock climbing accident in August of 1998. Matthew deserves a lot of credit for helping to revitalize the spirit of ska music in Victoria throughout the mid 1990s. For awhile he was probably one of the “only rude boys on the block.” He was also the original DJ of Skankster’s Paradise (a ska/rocksteady radio show on CFUV 101.9FM. Not only did Matthew Bishop deejay but, he also promoted local bands, hosted awesome ska parties, educated the public whenever he could about ska, and was a true friend to many people in and out of the scene. Through his efforts and the spirit he shared with his friends and other ska music enthusiasts, Skankster ’s Paradise continues to be a vibrant part of CFUV 101.9Fm’s weekly programming and Victoria’s music community. Matthew also helped inspire hundreds of other people who have stayed committed towards keeping his passion alive. His passion became many other people’s passion that is evident with the organizers and Board members of the Victoria Ska Festival.
Skankster’s Paradise played an integral role with DJing, producing and promoting shows with Enigmatica Entertainment and now with the Victoria BC Ska Society. Many of its DJs are on the Board of Directors for the Victoria BC Ska Society. Some of the most memorable ska events Skankster's Paradise helped bring to Victoria include: The Skatalites, Justin Hinds and the Dominoes, The Slackers, The Pietasters, New York Ska Jazz Ensemble, The Scofflaws, King Django & Easy Big Fella. The radio DJs on CFUV's Skankster's Paradise have also always been heavily involved in one way or another with the production of every Victoria Ska Festival in its twelve-year history.
A few years after Skankster’s Paradise hit the airwaves, a new ska radio show on the same station was born called Soundcheck. This radio show specialized in ska, surf and punk. Led by Scott Borstad, Allister and Shawn the show became a driving force with keeping the interest in ska music and the scene alive in Victoria and the rest of Vancouver Island. These fun and friendly DJs worked their tails off to reach out to new audiences and support both local and foreign bands. Both local bands and other ones around North America really enjoyed the royal treatment they received from the boys at Soundcheck! Soundcheck regularly advised bands and promoters on the Island and the rest of North America of information in the scene. They also helped bands and promoters from this Island and other places in the world to organize and coordinate interviews, press and concerts. They were always on the prowl for new information on ska around the world. They also DJed shows and helped out the scene in any way that they could. They will be missed for sure. We hope someone in Victoria or on the Island will keep the torch alive and produce another ska radio show in an effort to keep the ska scene strong on Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands.
In recent years both CFUV 101.9FM's Pepperpot - Victoria's Hypest Caribbean Radio and Alive and Dread - Victoria's longest running reggae radio have assisted the Victoria BC Ska Society with playing the music and interviewing many of the artists the Victoria BC Ska Society hosts in Victoria and the rest of British Columbia. In Nanaimo CHLY 101.7FM has also taken a serious interest in reviving the area's reggae scene. Notably Rebel Selector aka Simon Schachner has led the charge alongside Andrea Caroline aka Sister Carol as they have hosted various shows around the Nanaimo area.
In Vancouver DJ Ska T's Scenic Drive Ska Radio program on CITR 101.9FM - Canada's longest running ska radio show also promotes Victoria's Annual Ska Festival and spreads the word about ska and reggae bands all over British Columbia and the world each and every week via the weekly radio show that airs every Friday 10am - 12noon on CITR 101.9FM in Vancouver.
The Victoria BC Ska Society appreciates the efforts of everyone that supports ska and its related genres throughout BC, the rest of Canada and the world. We encourage you to get involved, attend the shows and spread the good news of ska to the masses.
VICTORIA'S 12TH ANNUAL SKA FESTIVAL a.k.a "Festival of the People" will once again mark the biggest milestone in Victoria's ever emerging ska scene. It is no wonder this year's edition (like the past eleven) has triggered requests from every continent around the world (with over 300 submissions) that are itching to come to our Skankster's Paradise. We welcome you and the rest of the world with open arms to celebrate our 12th straight year with us! We'll see you there!
For more information on the Society Act of British Columbia: