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Oak Bay Village welcomes live music via pilot program

District consults businesses to determine prime spots for musicians
A pilot project proposed by the Oak Bay Business Improvement Association will allow selected musicians to perform in designated spots around Oak Bay Village this summer. (Courtesy of the Oak Bay Business Improvement Association)

Local musicians will bring some colour and ambiance to Oak Bay Village this summer as the district’s live music pilot project is getting underway.

Scheduled to run from early August to the end of September, the project will allow selected musicians to perform along commercial blocks of Oak Bay Village between the hours of noon and 2 p.m. and 2 and 4 p.m., according to a written overview by Oak Bay Business Improvement Association (BIA) marketing and events manager Heather Leary.

Each musician will be paid, at least partially by the BIA, and limited to two hours of non-stop performing in the same location per day. Performance spots will been chosen based on consultation with adjacent businesses, as well as based on which parts of Oak Bay Village get the most foot traffic.

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Leary said in a phone call that the BIA hopes to infuse Oak Bay Avenue with free public entertainment between Monterey Road and Foul Bay Road, avoiding the challenges for businesses that could arise with hiring buskers.

“Our businesses already bring vibrancy to the village, of course,” said Leary.

The project was brought before Oak Bay council on July 26, when it was endorsed and the decision was made not to enforce the district’s anti-noise bylaw, according to legislative assistant Victoria McKean.

Chosen musicians will receive signs indicating sponsorship from the Oak Bay BIA and district and some may also be allowed to use amplification, depending on the noise levels of their instruments. Leary hopes to fuel the pilot project with a variety of different music styles, from jazz to Latin, and said that smaller musical groups may also be welcomed.

“The feedback is that musicians really like playing in the village,” she said.

“If the pilot (project) is successful, I think it’s something we would probably develop overtime in our community.”

To learn more about the Oak Bay BIA, visit

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