American rapper Dessa signs an autograph for a fan after her Saturday afternoon set at the Phillips Backyard Weekender on Saturday. The attendance of name artists at such events is just one illustration of the growing vibrancy of the city. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

American rapper Dessa signs an autograph for a fan after her Saturday afternoon set at the Phillips Backyard Weekender on Saturday. The attendance of name artists at such events is just one illustration of the growing vibrancy of the city. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

EDITORIAL: Victoria festival fun a Catch-22

City’s secret is out, perhaps even has been for a while now

A backyard party is the staple of summer. And in Victoria, we sure know how to throw them.

Whether we’re erecting full-scale rock shows or shutting down main streets in the name of art, vegetarian fare or a car-free celebration, this city knows how to party under a summer sun.

This weekend was a big one. Phillips Backyard Weekender, Moss Street Paint-In, Vegtoria and countless barbecues on your neighbour’s lawn. For the sleepy Island town where seniors once ruled, it’s festival season that truly puts Victoria on the map.

Where else can you park your car a block away from the stage where rock royalty like The Revolution rips open your ear drums shredding guitar licks that sound better than they did in the ’80s?

Summer here can feel like a logjam of tourists, but those who work all year long behind the scenes to maintain a vibrant arts culture have us locals in mind, no doubt.

We often look to the landscape and its surrounding seas to count our blessings, but we are truly spoiled because set against that backdrop is a city bursting at the seams with life.

Anyone who comes says as much, while wondering how to strategize their own move to our Island paradise.

So it seems the secret is out.

And, there is no shortage of complainers who would like nothing more if not a single person ever stepped off the ferry at Swartz Bay again.

As multi-talented artist Reggie Watts pointed out this weekend from the Phillips stage, we’re surrounded by water and don’t have a lot of room to spare.

But it’s a bit of a catch-22, isn’t it? What events like this do is keep Victoria relevant, keep it interesting and keeps a steady stream of visitors coming back.

And while these festivals aren’t in your own literal backyard, Victoria still knows how to keep an intimate vibe – for now.

We’re a lucky bunch.

Summer festivals