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Revitalizing The Skank: Previewing The 18th Annual Victoria Ska Fest

With summer right around the corner, it’s about time to finalize those festival plans, if you haven’t done so already. But with some of our favorites like Bass Coast and Shambhala long being sold out, and the recent cancellation of Pemberton leaving many frustrated and in search of something else this summer, maybe it’s time to focus on what options are still available, like Victoria Ska Fest!

Vancouver Island plays host to a plethora of festivals over the course of the summer months, and we’re excited to be kicking off our festival season here in Victoria with a stop at Victoria Ska & Reggae Festival! Held June 14-18 at Victoria’s inner harbour, as well as various downtown night venues, Ska Fest takes advantage of Victoria’s scenic views and love of all things music.

Victoria Inner Harbour

Scenic AF.

Boasting the title of North America’s longest running Ska Festival, Ska Fest provides a steady mix of laid back, family friendly vibes during the day before kicking things into high gear after the sun goes down. Enjoying a beer or six in the summer sun, surrounded by friends and fresh ocean air, and skanking the day away has been one of our summer traditions since coming to the island, and 2017 is no different.

If you’re not familiar with the history of Ska & Reggae and its influence on basically all the music we enjoy today, this essay breaks it down in excellent detail and discussion. But if you’re the tl;dr type, then the image below connects the dots in a few quick glances.

Basically, just say thank you to Jamaica & Ska. Do it now!

But regardless if you’ve been skankin’ your whole life or you just looked up what it means for the very first time, with a price tag of $150 Canadian for the full fest pass, Victoria Ska Fest is definitely worth putting on your radar! For anyone living in Washington, it’s just a quick ferry ride from Vancouver or Seattle, and with how horrible the Canadian dollar is right now it’s basically like you’d be going on vacation for free (note: article author is our expertly resident Canadian).

Victoria locals tend to fill up the viewing spots from outside the gates, but with opening day offering free entry and tickets to individual shows costing next to nothing, you can pick and choose what you want to see if you decide against a full pass. Once inside you’re greeted by much more of an international crowd than you’d think, having met attendees from as far as Ireland and Chile in previous years.

This year’s lineup features a very diverse selection of talent, including Grammy award winner Booker T. Jones! Yes, that Booker T. Jones. Other names we’re stoked to see on the bill include childhood favorites Mad Caddies, The Black Seeds, The Skints, and DMNW homies Illvis Freshly, returning to Ska Fest for the second time! Peep the rest of the lineup below. With a little digging, you’ll probably find a new favorite!

2017 Ska Fest Lineup


What are your summer plans? We’ve got plenty on our calendar, but we’d be lying if we said we weren’t stoked to get our skank on in less than a month! It’ll be the perfect way to ease into the long, and very exciting, summer ahead. Grab your tickets here, and keep your eyes peeled for more updates as DMNW gets set to kick off the festival season at Ska Fest in style!!