Community Events

A warm welcome to the Open Air’s community space!

We invite you to experience the wide offering of musical excellence this island holds, with showcases from local students to renowned professionals with 30-year careers who call this place home.

To encourage access for all, we invite you to “Pay What You Can” for these performances by the Lək̓ʷəŋən Traditional Dancers, VICO Quartet, students of the Victoria Conservatory of Music, and ANSWER Women’s Drum Group.

Bring the whole family to celebrate the music of these territories and the musicians of our community.

Lək̓ʷəŋən Traditional Dancers / Saturday, July 24 / 11:00 am / Victoria Foundation Courtyard

VICO Quartet / Saturday, July 31 / 11:00 am / Victoria Foundation Courtyard

Students of the Victoria Conservatory of Music /Sunday, August, 1 / 11:00 am

  • Instrumental / Victoria Foundation Courtyard
  • Vocal – The Butler’s Garden

ANSWER Women’s Drum Group /Monday, August 2/ 11:oo am / Victoria Foundation Courtyard


Lək̓ʷəŋən Traditional Dancers

Saturday, July 24 /  11:oo am / Victoria Foundation Courtyard

As guests on this territory, we are delighted to launch the festival’s community programming with the host Nation of this land. Join the Lək̓ʷəŋən Traditional Dancers as they share the musical culture of this place.

“The group originally started back at the old VNFC 1978 under the guidance of our late uncle Ray Peter for the Cowichan territory.  He taught our uncles and late father the songs and dances. After a few years the group stopped but our parents wanted to keep it going and brought to our Songhees Nation. With members who have grown with the group and now have their children participating we have been going strong for the last few years.  

 We have performed for various organizations, festivals and parades throughout the city and all levels of government, including the last Royal tour. Taking pride in what we are doing while representing our Nation in a good and positive way while sharing a little of our culture today.”

– Lyla Dick, of the Lekwungen Traditional Dancers


VICO Quartet

Saturday, July 31 / 11:00 am / Victoria Foundation Courtyard

Featuring roster members of the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra, this quartet’s repertoire spans centuries, continents, and genres! The VICO brings together musicians and composers from many cultural and artistic communities in the Greater Vancouver area, to create and perform uniquely Canadian contemporary classical music.

Outside of their work with the VICO, Qiu Xia He and André Thibault perform and tour extensively as Silk Road Music, a pioneering Juno Award-nominated ensemble that merges Chinese folk and classical music with Brazilian, jazz, Celtic, Spanish, Arabic, Aboriginal and blues music. Douglas Hensley is a sought-after Victoria-based performer and teacher on guitar, lute, mandolin, banjo, oud, setar, and more. Niel Golden, also based in Victoria, is a performer and composer who specializes in the tabla (paired hand drums from India) among other types of percussion.

Qiu Xia He, pipa & voice
André Thibault, guitar & percussion
Douglas Hensley, oud & guitar
Niel Golden, tabla & hang drum


Students of the Victoria Conservatory of Music

Sunday, August 1 / 11:00 am

  • Instrumental / Victoria Foundation Courtyard
  • Vocal / The Butler’s Garden

 After the unfortunate cancelation of their in-person year-end recitals, we are honoured to welcome the students of the Victoria Conservatory of Music to the stage(s)!

Join these young musicians, their families, their friends, and the rest of their community in championing the artistic journeys they each took during this extraordinary year.


ANSWER Women’s Drum Group

Monday, August 2 / 11:00 am /  Victoria Foundation Courtyard

Led by ANSWER (All Nations Strong Women for Education and Resurgence), join us for songs and teachings as we reflect on these two weeks of music and close the festival in a good way.

ANSWER is a women’s drum group formed in 2016 with women from First Nations across Turtle Island, Mi’kmaq, Nuuchahnulth, Metis, Anishinaabe, Mohawk and Cree. Ceremony, humility and gratitude is the strong foundation that supports the women as they build their cultural identities, share history with the public and heal the trauma that lies within. ANSWER has been honored to attend brushings in Halalt, naming ceremony in Langford, RRU and IPS graduation ceremonies, UVIC Masters ceremony, VNFC 50th Anniversary celebration and many more. The women are artists, teachers, social workers, students and much more, with busy lives filled with commitments to family and work. ANSWER continues to grow in wisdom and in inspiration through singing, drumming and dancing as they build and reaffirm their identities as Indigenous women, and inspire self- pride for all First Nations.

Today’s drummers include:

Jessica Sault (founder & Elder)
France Cyr
Rebecca Hass
Natalie Ashley
Nicole Mandryk