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

Live music

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A study by SlotsOnlineCanada notes there is at least 88 hours of top-rated horror movies for Canadians to consume this Halloween. (Unsplash)
Spooks and Chill study reveals Canada’s favourite horror flicks

88 hours of top-rated horror movies can fill COVID-19 Halloween

Coun. Tara Ney rakes leaves behind Oak Bay municipal hall. Ney’s motion asking staff to do a report on alternative options to the ongoing use of gas-powered leaf blowers in Oak Bay. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Oak Bay a step closer to banning gas leaf blowers

Council leans toward a study on alternatives

Maureen Cue models maybe the most obvious pandemic Halloween costume this year. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Pandemic impacts trends in Halloween looks, says costume shop owner

Maureen Cue sees shift in costume rentals due to the pandemic

Alyssa Gerwing, executive director of the Sidney Museum and Archives, gets into the Halloween spirit with a lit-up jack-o-lantern. With Treat Street cancelled, the Sidney Business Improvement Area Society has organized a series of other events and activities under the heading of Halloween Spooktacular. (Wolfgang Depner/News Staff)
Sidney serves up ghoulish spills and thrills during Halloween

A virtual Halloween treasure hunt and scary drive-in movies among tricks and treats

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

MNP senior economist Susan Mowbray presents the State of the Island Economic Report on Thursday night to conclude the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance’s virtual summit. (VIEA image)
Not-so-rosy State of the Island report caps off virtual summit

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance’s summit took place online Oct. 27-29

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Allentown, Pa. on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
POLL: How closely are you following the U.S. presidential election?

It may feel like it’s been going on forever but the U.S.… Continue reading

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

Pilot Kevin Maher participated in a flyover of a ceremony at the Cobble Hill cenotaph on Oct. 22 in a 1940 North American (Noorduyn) Harvard aircraft. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Cobble Hill remembers lost military members with ceremony, flyover

Annual event commemorates those who died in non-combat roles

Most Read