Victoria Ska and Reggae Festival returns to its roots, 20 years in

Longstanding music event brings together myriad talent in various genres

Felicia Santarossa

Monday Magazine contributor

Dane Roberts never imagined the Victoria Ska and Reggae Festival would make it to 20 years.

“It’s quite an accomplishment to have 20 years of the Festival,” the Victoria Ska and Reggae Society artistic and executive director says, “especially since there’s so many obstacles and there’s so much that happens with people’s lives. No matter what happens we’ve always managed to upkeep it.”

When the festival started, Roberts says, the music was more pop-punk, based on the ska revival of the late 90s. Now, ska is getting back to its roots, with more bands from Jamaica and a more international focus, trends that extend to the 2019 festival.

The colourful Victoria Ska and Reggae Festival van, Gussy, sports a new paint job for the 20th anniversary of the festival. Photo by Dane Roberts

“This year we have a band from Peru, a couple from Jamaica, another several from the UK,” he says.

Big names include Jamaican artists Ky-Mani Marley and Sister Nancy, and Oregon-based Cherry Poppin’ Daddies of Zoot Suit Riot fame, along with plenty of local acts. The popular celebration kicks off with a free show at downtown Victoria’s Ship Point on June 19, with concerts and visual art spectacles happening throughout the region until June 23.

As far as local acts, the biggest excitement will be around One Drop, Roberts says, adding there’s a personal connection to the reuniting reggae punk band.

READ ALSO: Rick Mercer-led comedy team in for second Just for Laughs show at UVic

“One of the members who plays the saxophone, Neville Gibson, he’s the operations manager for the Society. He’s my right-hand man. The rest of the band has contributed in one way or another over the years; they’re always passionate about the festival and the mento (traditional Jamaican folk music) scene,” he says.

The band was introduced to the festival about five years in and has been involved since, either as volunteers, performing or serving as staff.

Asked how the Victoria Ska and Reggae Festival has lasted so long, Roberts explains that it’s a grassroots movement, one that keeps people involved because they love the music and the scene it creates, and the people it attracts.

“We didn’t go ‘Oh! This would be a great festival to make money from.’ If we were trying to do it for that reason, we would have been done probably on the second year we put it on,” he says. “The people are just so passionate about the music. The reward is seeing the bands and meeting the people that come, and all the festivities that happen as a result.”

Festival-goers can choose between full-event passes or individual show tickets, available for a range of prices. To purchase them or find more information, visit victoriaskafest.ca.



c.vanreeuwyk@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Proposed Sooke gun law sent back to administration. Again.

Fifth time lucky for firearms and bow bylaw?

Victoria Police Department taking too long to respond to emergency calls

A new report says VicPD is not meeting its 911 response targets

Victoria looks to suspend taxi obligations as ride hailing services arrive

Ten ride hailing companies are set to come to Greater Victoria in the new year

VicPD seek missing 82-year-old man with long grey beard

Arthur Shaw was last seen Dec. 6, those who see him should call 911

VIDEO: Harbour Air makes history with first electric aircraft test flight

Successful flight marks first of its kind in the world

Tavares scores twice as Maple Leafs earn 4-1 win over Canucks

Vancouver sees two-game win streak snapped

UPDATED: No survivors in Gabriola Island plane crash: RCMP

Coroner confirms multiple fatalities after small plane goes down Tuesday night near Nanaimo

The Grinch who Stole a Hedge: Security camera captures Chilliwack tree theft

RCMP arrives as person calmly walks away with tree in downtown area

The Russell Troupe finds a comfort zone in small Island community

Family gathering with two parents and five kids a common scene around Chemainus

Salmonella outbreak in Canada linked to rodents and snakes

92 cases of salmonella across six provinces, including B.C.

Meng Wanzhou wins right to more documents involving arrest at Vancouver airport

Defence lawyers allege the Huawei executive was unlawfully detained, searched and interrogated

Truck with body inside found at bottom of lake near Kootenay ferry

Investigators believe no foul play is expected but are unsure how the vehicle ended up in the Arrow Lakes

Most Read