Saanich to surprise residents with small pop-up music shows this summer

Music in the Community replaces Music in the Park for 2020

If residents are lucky, they may stumble upon pop-up musical performances this summer as Saanich swaps Music in the Park concerts for smaller, more casual events.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic brought many of the region’s popular summer events and celebrations to a grinding halt but Saanich staff are working on alternative ways to bring the community together safely.

READ ALSO: Saanich looks at creative alternatives after popular summer events cancelled

Saanich Music in the Park events typically take place on summer evenings in parks throughout the municipality, featuring “big dance bands” and drawing large crowds, explained Jason Jones, an outdoor events programmer. This year, Music in the Community replaces Music in the Park.

It’s “a way to bring art and culture to the community” in the form of small, surprise performances, Jones said. As large gatherings aren’t allowed at the moment, the municipality will choose locations where people already gather safely such as Cadboro-Gyro Park, Mount Tolmie and the Gorge Waterway.

The pop-up shows will be “more casual” than the usual events with no stage or large speakers and the artist will only perform for about an hour.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 washes out Gorge Canada Day Picnic

Jones said the District won’t advertise the shows or post the locations beforehand because the aim is to surprise residents with art.

Staff will set up a tent for the artist along with signs reminding the audience to practice social distancing, he said, emphasizing that the shows could be cut short if the crowds get too big.

Applications are now open for artists interested in taking part in Music in the Community. Musicians, singers, actors, spoken word artists and any other performers are welcome to apply, Jones said. He added that solo acts and small groups are preferable as the goal is to keep the performances small-scale. There is no age limit and amateurs are invited to apply, he said.

READ ALSO: Victoria host virtual Canada Day celebration

Jones added that Music in the Community is an opportunity for newer artists to gain confidence and for the District to connect with more local artists who’ve yet to work with the municipality. Staff will work with the chosen performers to choose a suitable location, Jones said.

The District is also working with some local retirement homes to set up outdoor performances where residents could space out or enjoy the music from their patios, he explained.

Saanich residents are welcome to reach out to Jones by email at jason.jones@saanich.ca to suggest other suitable locations such as smaller parks where neighbours could listen from their backyards.

Music in the Community events may continue into September and possibly in the summer of 2021 depending on the situation with COVID-19, he said.


@devonscarlett
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devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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