Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest XIX FREE INTERNATIONAL KICKOFF SHOW! @ Ship Point (Inner Harbour)
Wed. June 20th 3:30pm - 10pm Free
Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest XIX kicks off June 20 with a FREE International Showcase! Come one, come all to Ship Point in Victoria's historic Inner Harbour and help us kick off 5 days of grooves from around with the world with the mighty PANTEON ROCOCO. One of Mexico's biggest bands (Of any genre) this incredible 9-piece plays with a bravado and energy like no other. Their unique brand of ska – laced with heavy doses of punk, salsa and cumbia – has helped them take over not just their native Mexico, but large swaths of North America and Europe. We couldn't be more excited to present their western Canadian debut on this night for all of friends and family.
Joining these legends, from the other side of the world, is KINGSTON RUDIESKA. A powerful example of ska music's truly global appeal, Kingston Rudieska, Korea's first traditional ska band has been paying homage to the classic sounds of Jamaica for over 14 year now. Their incredible skill and deep love of the music they pay respect to has helped spread Jamaican-rooted music to a still-discovering part of the world, playing at many Korea and Japan's biggest festivals. Their first show on Canadian soil promises to be something truly special and it's going to happen under the Victoria skyline on the Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest main stage!
Bringing things back a little closer to home, Cortez Island's very own BACK EDDY & THE PROCRASTINATORS are set to get our crowd bouncing with some real west coast ska. This big, rowdy 8-piece band has a knack for making even the biggest stages feel close and intimate. We guarantee these cats are going to get your hips swaying and your feet moving. And we are proud as hell to present the Ska & Reggae Fest debut of Victoria's fierce 6-piece funk army, THE PHATFUNKS. This phenomenal group of musicians from local high schools and UVic fuses funk, soul and R&B, with rock and jazz influences for one of the most exciting musical cocktails the city has to offer. Please, join us for what is sure to be an unforgettable night of FREE, ALL AGES music.
Bousada, Yellowsky @ Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest XIX @ Lucky Bar
Victoria's foremost purveyor of smooth grooves, BOUSADA, returns to Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest! Festival veteran, he's played our Rocksteady Collective Exhibition Showcase and appeared on the Inner Harbour stage with Illvis Freshly. He returns to our stage this year with something wholly different and exciting...the good homie will be backed by a 4-piece band. Expanding on the already communal vibe of his music, this new setup is going to get the floor bouncing more than ever.
With BOUSADA to help kick off the first night of Vic Ska & Reggae Fest XIX will be powerful YELLOWSKY. Making his debut on the Festival stage last year, opening for Mike Love at Capital Ballroom, Yellowsky made quite an impact on everyone who caught his heavy-hitting reggae-rap. The last year has seen big things for Yellowsky, including the recent release of his debut album “Mixed Medicine,” perhaps the most powerful combination of hip-hop and reggae this side of Jamrock. This show is going to be a 1-2 punch of power and groove. The perfect way to start the festival and power up for the days ahead.
Music and Resistance Workshop @ Vinyl Envy
Thu. June 21st 1pm - 2pm doors at 1pm Free
“To resist is to struggle against an opposing force.
Music is a vocal artist’s way to express their voice & opinion.”
Music has always played a key role in the resistance and overcoming of injustice and oppression, and reggae and hip-hop are no exception to this trend. Join us as we learn of the struggles and difficulties that face Indigenous Canadian peoples through the eyes of reggae and hip-hop artist Yellowsky, and how he was able to use his music to educate, overcome, and heal. Yellowsky will discuss positive resistance through healing wounds, how music and the physics of sound can be used to heal, and the influences that allowed him to take the stand that he has. This workshop is also interactive, though you will need to be present to see what Yellowsky has planned!
Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest XIX FREE SHOW (Night 2)! @ Ship Point (Inner Harbour)
Thu. June 21st 3:30pm - 10pm Free
As a special treat for our Festival community, on night 2 of Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest this year we thought we'd double-up on the world-class free shows and bring the mighty GIANT PANDA GUERILLA DUB SQUAD to held tend our reggae roots. These Easy Star Records veterans have been keeping the classic roots and dub reggae sounds alive and well for over 13 years. A mainstay on reggae festivals and circuits around the United States, GPGDS built their reputation on their tight, engaging live show, shifting through influences and styles like nobody's business. (Such is the reach of this rad band that they even have a music video featuring a cameo from our fearless leader Dane Roberts!) Their uniquely improvisational dub reggae makes each and every show a completely unique experience, never the same twice. It's about time these future friends of the Festival made their Victoria debut.
A microcasm of this years incredible musical diversity, the bands joining Giant Panda for this all-ages party run a virtual gamut of sounds and influences. Paapa Wastik from Ghana backed by the Uprite Dub Orchestra will make his second appearance on the festival since 2007 when he played at Market Square with Mexico's Los Rastrillos and The Itals from Jamaica.
Quickly becoming one of Vancouver's strongest reggae acts MAD RIDDIM is coming with a crew to get the Inner Harbour Bouncing. They'll be Vancouver vocalists and rappers Janelle Reid, Ndidi Cascade and Ostwelve for a fully collaborative musical experience that's sure to leave an impression on any music lover who bears witness to it. Victoria's own PHONOSONICS will be rounding out the bill with their super soulful rocksteady vibes. One of the city's most versatile reggae bands, there's a reason they've been on our radar since their phenomenal “Stax Goes Rocksteady” show a couple years ago. We're honoured to be able to present this incredible night of music and dancing completely FREE for our west coast Ska & Reggae community.
*VIP viewing area accessible for those with Jupiter VIP Fest Passes*
SweetLeaf, Illvis Freshly LIVE, Lady AK @ VICTORIA SKA & REGGAE FEST XIX @ The Upstairs Cabaret
We're bringing together two of Victoria's partiest powerhouses for a serious Thursday night throwdown for Day 2. The city's most skanin' ska rabble-rousers SWEETLEAF come back to get rowdy with all our Ska & Reggae Fest faithful again. These longtime friends and family of the Fest always bring their big, bouncy ska music with a near-lethal sense of fun. We couldn't think of anyone better to get the crowd bouncing for our first Festival show at Upstairs!
It seems every time we see Illvis Freshly they have something new to add to the arsenal, some new sonic weapon to get the an audience riled up and jumping. Last year they hit our main stage with a phalanx of friends and this, the year 2018, the homies come wit the debut of ILLVIS FRESHLY LIVE. Backed by a full band, this is going to be the baddest and most hard-hitting Illvis Freshly show anyone has ever seen.
Joining these two Victoria party staples is the incomparable LADY AK. One of Vancouver Island's most versatile bass-dealers, Lady AK's deep knowledge of all genres of music and ability to read a room makes each of her shows completely unique classes in groove. For over a decade her skills have taken her to festivals and gigs around Canada and Europe and finally she makes it to a Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest stage!
Elements of Hip Hop Workshop/Open Panel Discussion @ Vic Theatre
Fri. June 22nd 12:30pm - 3:30pm doors at 12noon
On August 11th, 1973, the world was changed forever.
Learn about the roots of Hip-hop with Que Rock and the Ready to Rock Crew as they discuss life in The Bronx in the 1970s, the art forms that were created through shaping what was available, and the roles and responsibilities of hip-hop artists as they provide a face of the culture to the world. They’ll teach you about the pioneers, the connections between the four main elements, and the healing effects that allowed people with nothing to create one of the most diverse and rich cultures on the face of the planet. In addition to the main elements, Que Rock will discuss his Indigenous American roots, and how many of the practices of his culture integrated with hip-hop.
Following the presentation from the Crew, learn about the intricacies of DJing with a presentation from London-based DJ Jimi Needles, which will be followed by an open-panel discussion featuring Chali 2na, founder of Ozomatli and Jurassic 5, and other key innovators of Canada's west coast hip hop culture, including Erica Dee, Degree One, and Ostwelve.
Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest XIX @ Ship Point (Inner Harbour)
Fri. June 22nd 4pm - 10pm Reg. advance - $35
Forged in the fires of social activism and musical passion, OZOMATLI is one of the west coast's greatest musical treasures. Their unique blend of Latin rhythms like cumbia and salsa, hip-hop, jazz and funk has made them a staple of festivals around the world, but surprisingly never the Victoria Ska & Reggae Festival. But that all changes in 2018 as these west coast titans finally bring their high-energy, phenomenally engaging stage show back to Victoria's Inner Harbour. They'll be joined by longtime friend and collaborator, Chali 2na. A founding member of both Ozomatli and the mighty Jurassic 5, 2na brings an electric stage presence and obviously deep love of music wherever he goes.
From west coasts legends to a Jamaican titan, Freddie Mcgregor, one of reggae music's most legendary and enduring vocalists will be gracing our main stage for the first time this night as well. The voice behind some of reggae's best-known tracks like "Big Ship" and "Just Don't Want To Be Lonely," McGregor has been treating ears to his otherworldly voice since he started recording for the legendary Studio One when he was just seven years old. A reggae legend under the Victoria sunset before an Ozo dance party...honestly, what could be better?
Well, maybe a little bit of hip-hop history to add some street flavour. The Ready to Rock Crew is one of hip-hop's most legendary crews, tending the pillars of hip-hop - DJing, MCing, B-boying and graffiti - since 1982. The crew has grown and morphed over the years, with chapters popping up in Paris and Toronto, as hip-hop has only increased in relevance and influence over time. The homie QUE ROCK reflects the aesthetic of his adopted crew, working hard in all areas of hip-hop culture. Infusing the hip-hop culture he loves with his elements of his traditional Anishnawbe values, Que Rock has created something completely unique in the world of hip-hop and we're so proud to present his work on our stage for the first time.
Rounding out this genre-smashing party are two close friends of the Victoria Ska & Reggae Festival, GANJO BASSMAN and TANK GYAL. Recently landed to the west coast from Mexico, songwriter/vocalist/producer Ganjo Bassman has quickly made a name for himself with his signature "rock-reggae-hop." The mix of grunge guitars, popping basslines and hip-hop beats, all wrapped up in a reggae aesthetic has been quickly winning over our Island Massive, including a highlight performance opening for Bermuda legend Collie Buddz this past December. And what would a Ska & Reggae Festival be without the mighty Tank Gyal? Creator of Vancouver's infamous "Thursday Ting" and one of the most knowledgable DJs around, Tank Gyal is a Vancouver reggae institution unto herself. She'll be holding it down, keeping it groovy in between sets with the finest in dancehall/reggae/dub tunes.
VICTORIA SKA & REGGAE FEST XIX @ Lucky Bar
Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest ridiculously excited to present the Canadian debut of one of the UK's hottest party-rockers, the mighty Jimi Needles. Needles combines incredible skill and dedication to the craft of DJing with a deep knowledge of soul, funk, hip-hop, reggae, jazz, drum n' bass, breaks and seemingly everything in between. His Needlewurk mixtapes and endless run of remixes/mash-ups and originals have established him as one of the most consistently fresh voices in the game right now. With a phenomenal knack for mixing new sounds and ideas into familiar aesthetics, a Jimi Needles set is always sure to be a sonic journey into the furthest reaches intergalactic dancing greatness.
Joining Jimi for this Friday night party is Sam Klassik. With his unique hybrid of live guitar and deep electronic bass production, Winnipeg-born Sam Klassik is a festival favourite at gatherings all around North America, including sets at Burning Man, Shambhala, Atmosphere and Electric Forest. Klassik's sets are sonic experiences like no other, keeping dance floors throbbing as he winds his way bouncy, driving funk and atmospheric, textured bass. Come get down with us on this grooviest of nights!
Culture's 40th Anniversary of TWO SEVENS CLASH @ Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest XIX @ Capital Ballroom
One of the titans of the roots reggae movement, CULTURE has withstood the test of time and remains one of the genres most powerful and enduring acts. Staying true to their name Culture's music is dedicated to social, political and spiritual messages.
2018 finds the bands celebrating the 40th anniversary of their seminal album “Two Sevens Clash.” Sounding unlike any other roots reggae records of its time, the album found Culture pushing the roots sound forward as they experimented with big-band swing, funk and and hints electronic music. Hailed as one of roots reggae's true masterpieces, “Two Sevens Clash” is as vibrant as ever with its pleas for justice, calls for peace and deep sense of joy resonating as much now as they did 40 years ago.
Fuelled largely by the intensely passionate vocal delivery of leader Joseph Hill, the group is rightly viewed as one of the foremost bearers of reggae music and Rastafarian culture, spreading their message around the globe over four decades. Though the group tragically lost Joseph Hill in 2006 after a show in Berlin, his son KENYATTA HILL, who had been working with the band as a sound engineer, stepped up to fill the gaping void left by his late father. The fires that started over four decades ago are as strong, as important as ever. Come celebrate one of reggae music's landmark achievements with us.
CALEB HART & THE ROYAL YOUTHS will be providing direct support to Culture on this very special night. One of the west coast's finest reggae bands, this incredible group of musicians is tending the roots of reggae music here on the coast, helping further prove that the reggae spirit transcends borders and can flourish anywhere.
Making her Ska & Reggae Festival debut on this night is the powerful ERICA DEE. Dee's diverse talents combined with a deep knowledge of and passion for an endless array of genres make her sets dynamic musical journeys that are as unpredictable as they are satisfying.
Holding things down between sets will DJ ROSSCO, one of Vancouver's most renowned Afrobeat DJs. The Nigerian-born DJ wasted little time in making his mark on the west coast as a go-to for some of the finest in Afrobeat, dancehall, hip-hop and trap beats.
The Legends of Ska Screening with Western Standard Time Ska Orchestra Key Note Address and Workshop @ Vic Theatre
Sat. June 23rd 12:30pm - 3:30pm doors at 12noon Free
“...to sing real reggae you have to tell a story. It has to be about the roots.”
• Frederick "Toots" Hibbert
In the 1950s, a genre was born that would change the world of music forever. Learn about the roots of Ska with the west-coast premiere of “The Legends of Ska”, a film by Brad Klein, and discuss both the film and the genre during an open Q&A session following the screening.
Before the film, spend some time with the Western Standard Time Ska Orchestra, led by Eitan Avineri, who will take you on a descriptive tour of Ska as it made its way from Jamaica to Southern California. Avineri will also discuss how the genre integrated with and borrowed from the American music of the time (and vice-versa) to give birth to a truly multicultural genre that still shapes the face of music today. The Western Standard Time Ska Orchestra have built collaborative relationships with many artists past and present that played a role in Jamaican-rooted music. They will draw upon these experiences to provide a picture of the ska genre presently world-wide.
@ Ship Point (Inner Harbour)
After nearly a decade, American ska legends THE MIGHTY MIGHTY BOSSTONES are finally making a triumphant return to the Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest stage! One of the most recognizable and enduring acts of the North American ska movement, the Bosstones were instrumental in introducing legions of new fans to the sounds of ska, infusing the classic sound with high-octane punk and incredible ears for hooks. With their new album "While We're At It" re-energizing the group, the Bosstones are ready to get the music-lovers of Victoria jumpin' and skankin' once again. This is their only stop in Western Canada this year, so you better not miss your chance to see these icons in action once again!
Joining the Bosstones for this Saturday celebration is powerful WESTERN STANDARD TIME SKA ORCHESTRA. It's only been a couple of years since this incredible band blew away a packed crowd at Ship Point with their unstoppable wall of horns playing some of the greatest ska music of all time. Also making the trip up from California are reggae superstars FORTUNATE YOUTH. For nearly a decade these laid-back reggae troubadours have been touring relentlessly, establishing themselves as one of North America's most reliably entertaining reggae bands. Highlighted by the phenomenal voice of lead singer Dan Kelly, a Fortunate Youth set is going to help you chill out and get irie while making you gasp with their insane level of musicianship as the band trades instruments and roles like nobody's business.
Also making their return to the Festival stage are Victoria ska legends THE HILLSIDE HOOLIGANS! Fresh off their incredible return at our St. Paddy's Day Throwdown, the Hooligans are re-energized and refocused after some needed time out of the spotlight. We're so proud to have these longtime festival friends and family on this massive bill for all our true Ska lovers! Holding things down between sets is one of Victoria's most reputable party-rockers and haver-of-incredible-taste THE FUNKEE WADD. Armed with a seemingly endless arsenal of funk, reggae, glitch-hop originals and remixes of eternal classics, your party life is in good hands when the Wadd is behind the decks.
No Doubt Tribute ft. "DOUBTLESS" @ VICTORIA SKA & REGGAE FEST XIX @ Capital Ballroom
Few bands from the great ska revival of the 90s left an impact as deep and as lasting as NO DOUBT. From their independent roots, through their rise set off by their classic album Tragic Kingdom, No Doubt's infectiously energetic ska-punk, fused in later years with more reggae and dancehall influences, still holds a special place in the hearts of ska-lovers everywhere. While these California legends aren't going to be gracing stages any time soon, we decided to put together an all-star lineup of musicians from some of our favourite local acts to pay tribute to this legendary ska band. Dubbed “DOUBTLESS” this one-of-a-kind group brings together members of Fox Glove, The Chantrelles, and Dope Soda, all backed by powerful soul-rock band Lovecoast, for a very special night as we pay respects to one of the bands that helped spread the word of ska to a whole new generation of music-lovers.
LOVEcoast is going to be rocking their own set and with their new album "The Trip" just released, they're going to be full on new tunes and new energy. The ultra-smooth homie MT. DOYLE will keep things bumping between sets with his tremendous taste and ear for grooves of all kinds.
Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest XIX @ V-lounge
A Vancouver institution finally makes their return to Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest! THE DREADNOUGHTS are a roaring sea shanty, wrapped up in folk melody and powered by an old-school street punk aesthetic. The Dreadnoughts lay down furiously energetic yet highly melodic punk music that has kept them atop of the west coast punk scene for more than a decade. Self-described as “Vancouver's biggest, baddest, drunkest, punkest folk band,” The Dreadnoughts have been long recognized as one of the city's most spectacular live bands, with shows that embrace the chaos that keeps punk as such a lively, viable art form. A night out with The Dreadnoughts is going to involve getting kicked in the ears, raising more than a few beers in triumph and, if they have their way, with an audience passed out from exhaustion. We survived their onslaught this past winter in Cumberland, and we're ready for another round!
Joining The Dreadnoughts will be Victoria's own mandolin-accordion-tin whistle-wielding Celtic punkers THE MCGILLICUDDYS. Straight-ahead, driving punk rock lays the base for The McGillicuddys' flourishes of traditional celtic music and folk leanings, creating a wide-appealing and high-energy live show that's guaranteed to add a unique flavour to any stage. Rounding out the night and getting things kicked off will be Victoria's own punk rock warriors, FABLEWAY. For more than two decade Fableway has been kicking ears and getting crowds jumping. Join us for a celebration of the west coast punk scene!
Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest XIX FREE WRAP-UP SHOW! @ Ship Point (Inner Harbour)
Sun. June 24th 2pm - 10pm Free
As is tradition, Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest XIX will close with a FREE Sunday show to finish off the party in style, as we welcome the whole of our community back for one last hurrah before we take a rest! This year, we close Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest with the long-awaited return of Canadian ska royalty, THE KINGPINS. It's been 15 years since these ska torchbearers have been on our stage and we can't wait to get skankin' and jumping with all of you to these old favourites. Joining the Kingpins all the way from the other side of the world, Australian ska-punkers and longtime friends of the Festival, THE RESIGNATORS, are set to light our main stage on fire with their rowdy, raucous ska tunes. With more than three years between visits, we thought it was about damned time we brought these certified badasses back to get us jumping and bouncing.
Along with the return of The Resignators, this Sunday brings the debut of PARAHYBA SKA JAZZ FOUNDATION. This phenomenally dynamic 7-member group is on a quest to meld their love of traditional Jamaican ska with a strong jazz aesthetic that allows for endless improvisational flow and creativity. Their shows are showcases of ska and reggae classics, played with colourful energy and a deep, abiding respect for the art of ska music. Another debut we couldn't be more excited about is the west coast debut of FREDY V. & THE FOUNDATION. This electric funk band is headed by the captivating and multi-talented Fredy V. This incredible group of musicians are coming from all around North America to bring the good funk to our Ska & Reggae fam.
FoOlish hailing from Montreal, Quebec will be playing on the Victoria Ska & Reggae Fest for the first time. They are a power reggae and ska trio influenced by bands such as Sublime, The Skints, Raging Fyah, Sting and Steel Pulse to name a few bands.
And holding things down on the decks is our longtime friend, the incomparable REBEL SELECTOR. Head of Nanaimo Reggae Massive and one of the area's true Keepers of the Culture, you can be sure you're going to hear powerful afro-beat, hip-hop, dancehall and more, you've never heard before when Rebel Selector is laying the tracks. DON'T MISS THIS ONE!
*VIP viewing area accessible for those with Jupiter VIP Fest Passes*