Katie Bennett is planning an arts festival in Sooke.

Celebrating arts in all its forms

Island Arts Festival planned for September in Sooke

Bringing artists of all genres together is the ultimate goal for Katie Bennett. Bennett is a photographer with an eye for the unusual, both in her work and the creativity in others. In 2011 she organized a not-for-profit community event in Victoria and in 2012 in the Cowichan Valley.

The Vancouver Island ArtistFest brought together musicians, dancers, visual artists, performing artists, body painters, craftspeople and vendors. This year Bennett is bringing the VIAF to Sooke, to the Sooke Flats specifically. What isn’t specific at this point is the date, but she hopes it will be in September as a sort of summer wrap up.

“I’m eager to bring it here,” she said. “I grew up here, it’s my home town.”

Last year, the festival was expanded and it became a fundraiser for Surfrider Vancouver Island. Surfrider is responsible for cleaning up beaches on Vancouver Island.

“As an artist on Vancouver Island, I find that most, if not all, of my inspiration for my work comes from my surroundings, our beautiful beaches and temperate rain forests.”

She said this festival will give artists the opportunity to give back to community members who have supported them in the past, but also to the environment that has supplied them with endless inspiration.

It’s meant to be a mixed festival, so if anyone has products they have made or partially made, for example up-cycled clothing, they are welcome to be a part of the one-day event. She is looking for local business owners who would like to get involved with a VIP Sooke Pass program, as well as an Ultimate Sooke Getaway contest. Her vision is to encourage festival attendees to experience the area while they’re here, and to promote Sooke as the “ultimate” tourist destination.

Bennett is hoping to get a lot of families out to enjoy the music, vendors, food and a farmers’ market. Vendors will come from all over the island, said Bennett.

“There really are a lot of amazing artists in the area,” she  said. The festival will be a free event. Check out the previous festival on Facebook.

Interested vendors, musicians or artists can contact Bennett at: vanislandartfest@hotmail.ca.