Vancouver Island Festivals & Events

Vancouver Island Festivals and EventsBrowse our Victoria section. Other Island event listings coming soon.

Vancouver Island Festivals: Music

  • Victoria International JazzFest: Local and international talent combine at a variety of locations over a full ten days for the full jazz experience. June 20-June 29, 2014.
  • Victoria SkaFest: Ska and Reggae in the heart of downtown. Music is at Ships Point (Inner Harbour) and several other locations. July, 2014.
  • Victoria International Buskers Festival: This free family oriented festival is ten days of buskers from all over the world entertaining on the streets of Victoria. Enjoy the talents of musicians, magicians, acrobats, comedians and clowns, and mimes and jugglers among others. July 18-27, 2014.
  • Victoria Summer Music Festival: Chamber music at its best featuring world class musicians at the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall at the University of Victoria’s School of Music. July, 2014.
  • Victoria Electronic Music Festival: A family-friendly, all-ages festival the 10th annual VEMF features a week long showcase of local and import cutting edge DJ’s, producers and live acts. Get ready to dance! Check website for VEMF dates, program and locations.
  • Tango Festival: If you love the elegance and sensuality of Tango, you will love the Tango Festival, showcasing a number of musical acts from Canada and the US. Events take place at Centennial Square and several other locations. See website for  2014 dates.
  • Folkwest: If it goes, two full days of folk music at Royal Athletic Park. Enjoy a jam-packed mix of folk-roots music from traditional to contemporary folk, African rhythms and pure roots rock-and-roll. This family-friendly event has a KidsFest area, with hands-on art projects, nature workshops and children’s entertainers including music and storytelling. Check website for dates.
  • Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival: Enjoy live comedy, drama, dance, spoken word, musicals and physical theatre in close to fifty indoor shows during eleven days at seven venues with local and international performers. The shows are un-juried and uncensored, the work of independent producers and artists. As the Fringe says, “Once you start, you won’t want to stop! It’s really the best part of the summer.” August 21-31, 2014.
  • Victoria International Chalk Art Festival: This free family-friendly festival featuring a large array of international and local chalk artists takes over downtown streets and buildings during September. Works of chalk art will be created both at The Bay Centre’s lower level, centre court and on the pavement of Government Street, Broad Street and in Spirit Square. Kids will love it! September 13-14, 2014.
  • Rifflandia Festival: With more artists and higher caliber acts each year, and one of Vancouver Island’s largest music festivals, Rifflandia brings you a full slate of local and international indie rock. Sept 11-14, 2014.

Vancouver Island Festivals: Culinary

A number of food festivals in the Victoria and Cowichan regions allow you to sample culinary delights prepared by top chefs using local ingredients while showcasing local farms and gardens. These festivals give you a tasty representation of West Coast cuisine prepared with the freshest of ingredients by top chefs.

  • Culinaire: Imagine one night of over two hours of sumptuous food and wines at Victoria’s premier food tasting experience: Culinaire. Featuring a range of unique restaurants and purveyors of fine food and beverages from Victoria, the Cowichan Valley and Salt Spring Island, you will interact with chefs and restaurateurs while sampling a wide variety of delicious cuisine. March 20, 2014. No minors under the age of nineteen are permitted at this event.
  • Island Chef Food Fest: Billed as a fundraiser for local farms, the island chefs collaborative is a like-minded community of chefs and food beverage professionals dedicated to our regional food security. Partake in delicious food while helping to support local farmers. See Island Chef Food Fest website for 2014 dates.
  • Taste: Victoria’s fifth annual Taste: Festival of Food and Wine kicks off July 18, 2013 and showcases locally grown food, wine and seafood from throughout the island. Venues are located all through Victoria and the Saanich Peninsula for four days of delicious fun. Tickets are available to individual events but sell out quickly, so if you are interested purchase tickets early to avoid disappointment. July 24-27, 2014.
  • Cowichan Wine and Culinary Festival: This festival is located a bit further afield in the Cowichan Valley, a 50 minute drive from Victoria. Enjoy a variety of wine and culinary related events at various venues throughout the Cowichan including the kickoff Grape Stomp, winery tours, Teafarm tea tasting and fine food. September, 2014.
  • Great Canadian Beer Festival: It’s all about the craft and has become one of the worlds’ must-attend beer events. This international event now attracts over 55 craft breweries from Canada and the USA and upwards of 8000 people to enjoy a celebration of the brewers’ craft. Over two glorious days in early September, a full slate of entertainment and even more beer awaits at Royal Athletic Park. The Great Canadian Beer Festival is a perfect way to spend a sunny September day if you are nineteen or over. September, 2014.

Vancouver Island Parades and Family Events

Everyone loves a good parade, and if you happen to be in Victoria while one is taking place, it’s a perfect time to soak up the excitement of the day. Usually quite large, the parades feature many floats, clowns, entertainers and bands from Canada and the USA, including brass bands and pipe bands. And of course the candy being thrown into the crowd is always plentiful.

  • Victoria Day Parade: The Victoria Day Parade happens every year near the end of May, and attracts over 50,000 people to the event. Marking the unofficial start of summer, this is Victoria’s largest parade and is complete with marching bands, floats, clowns and much more. The parade usually runs about three hours and starts at the Mayfair Mall and proceeds along Douglas Street finishing downtown at the intersection of Douglas and Humboldt Street. May 19, 2014.
  • Oak Bay Tea Party: The Oak Bay tea party is an entertaining weekend event for all and is anticipated by children throughout the city. Two fixtures at the tea party include a kickoff parade along Beach Drive and Willows Beach plus a full slate of amusement rides for children of all ages located at Willows Park. On Sunday, normally an airshow happens over the water along the beach. It includes skydivers, military aircraft, Canadian Coast Guard helicopters and aerobatic aircraft. Other events include a hilarious Ladies’ Nail-Driving Competition, Floating Tea Cup Challenge, Mad Hatter Fun Run, dance floor and usually a fireworks display to cap it all off. Parking is limited, so it is usually easier to take the shuttle service from downtown or regular bus service. See the website for Oak Bay Tea Party current schedule of events. June 7-8, 2014.
  • Canada Day: Although there are no parades on Canada’s birthday, there are many family events happening downtown culminating with a fireworks display on July 1st. Held over the course of the weekend, events take place at Ships Point, the pier adjacent to the causeway in the Inner Harbour. These include a multicultural food village, a full slate of entertainers for children and adults, Kids Zone activities, and a spectacular firework display starting at approximately 10:20 p.m. on Canada Day. See the website for 2014 details and schedule. June 30-July 1, 2014.

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