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

Watchdog group says Saanich council needs a ‘reality check’ about taxes

Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria warns of eroding housing affordability in Saanich

‘Best in the country’: Formerly homeless man praises Victoria’s outreach services

Jay W. was living on the streets of downtown Victoria in 2018

Years of ‘horrific, violent accidents’ at Thetis Lake prompt plea to public

View Royal fire chief asks for an end to alcohol consumption at busy park

City of Victoria plans workshop to determine fate of Sir John A. Macdonald statue

Conversations will happen as part of a reconciliation dialogue series in May 2020

Unsealed record suggests U.S. man convicted in murder of Saanich couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987

William Talbott is set to be sentenced Wednesday in the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

Police ask for help locating missing men last seen in South Surrey

Jeep that Richard Scurr and Ryan Provencher were in has been located unoccupied in Logan Lake: RCMP

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

Most Read