Imagine seeing a concert while floating in your canoe, kayak or paddleboard. This July, you can.
RAVEN, or Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs, is teaming up with sustainable seafood company Scout to launch a bigger, bolder Festival Afloat concert series from the deck of the Providence — a gorgeous tall wooden sailing ship and the oldest boat in BC
The stage is mobile and so is this year’s festival. The Providence will sail from port to port through the Salish Sea, kicking off with a concert at Jericho Beach in Vancouver on July 7, then stopping for performances across the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island before the final show on Galiano Island on July 16. Artists include Juno nominee Desirée Dawson, Renée Layla and Ms. Pan!k.
Festival Afloat acts as a fundraiser for RAVEN, supporting its conservation and environmental projects carried out in partnership with Indigenous Nations. The Victoria-based organization raised $80,000 with shows in Montreal, Vancouver and Victoria after launching Festival Afloat in the waters just off of Salt Spring Island at the height of the pandemic. At a time when indoor gatherings were all but banned, the festival offered a way for audience members to gather safely outdoors on canoe, kayak and paddle board.
“Festival Afloat is an amazing way to gather on the water, doing what we love to protect where we live,” explains RAVEN organizer Andrea Palframan.
From protecting the seabed and foreshore in Heiltsuk’s Great Bear Rainforest to pushing back against non-consensual mining in Gitxaała territory, RAVEN’s on-the-water events are about increasing First Nations’ access to justice.
While it’s fun to paddle up to get a front row seat alongside the Providence, audiences can also catch shows from the beach in most locations. Tickets are by donation and available at Raven.
Adventurers are also invited to sail Vancouver Harbor aboard the Providence or the Gulf Islands from Sidney on three-hour fundraising sailing trips. Indigenous knowledge keepers will serve as guides to the marine ecosystem, while guests can enjoy gourmet vegan and seafood charcuterie platters featuring sustainable products curated by celebrity chef and Scout founder Charlotte Langley.
As owner and “chief culinary officer” of Scout, Langley is a passionate advocate for sustainable seafood practices. In addition to partnering with organizations like RAVEN to support marine stewardship, Langley sees Scout’s artisanal canned seafood as a way to bring people delicious fare that also takes care of our precious waterways.
“Since the day I started cooking professionally, I started sourcing my products and understanding the fishermen, the farmers, the producers,” says Langley. “I wanted to see more renewable resources and I wanted to see ways to add a more positive impact to the ocean.”
With the festival just around the corner, organizer Palframan captures the essence of the project. “It’s got all the joy of a festival with a twist: not only does everything we raise support Indigenous Peoples’ rights, but it gives us the opportunity to gather in a magical setting to celebrate the wildly beautiful places that Nations are working so hard to defend.”
Festival Afloat concerts and cruises are fundraisers for RAVEN. With support from Scout, donations to Festival Afloat events will be matched to double the impact of every contribution. Donations are tax-deductible in Canada and the US
This article is part of a Tyee Presents initiative. Tyee Presents is the special sponsored content section within The Tyee where we highlight contests, events and other initiatives that are either put on by us or by our select partners. The Tyee does not and cannot vouch for or endorse products advertised on The Tyee. We choose our partners carefully and consciously, to fit with The Tyee’s reputation as BC’s Home for News, Culture and Solutions. Learn more about Tyee Presents here.