A Victoria-based and Indigenous-focused charitable organization will bring a performance in their floating benefit concert series, Festival Afloat 2022 Salish Sea Tour, to Silva Bay on Gabriola July 11. (submitted photo)

A Victoria-based and Indigenous-focused charitable organization will bring a performance in their floating benefit concert series, Festival Afloat 2022 Salish Sea Tour, to Silva Bay on Gabriola July 11. (submitted photo)

Floating benefit concert to support Indigenous justice efforts will anchor off Gabriola

Festival Afloat Salish Sea Tour to hold performance July 11 in Silva Bay

A unique benefit concert experience where attendees paddle up to the stage will make a stop along Gabriola’s shore.

The Festival Afloat Salish Sea Tour, as orchestrated by the Victoria-based charitable organization RAVEN (Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs), will hold a one-night show in Silva Bay on July 11 at 7 p.m.

The tour starts July 7 and will make its way along the Salish Sea hosting three musicians separately for seven shows at seven different ports until July 16.

The concert organizer and development coordinator, Caitlyn Kerr, said the floating concert series first started in 2020 on Salt Spring Island.

“In the height of the pandemic, we asked, ‘how can we gather people together in support of our work, but keep everyone safe?’ And in the past, we have known of some river concerts in Quebec, and asked ‘why don’t we give this a try’,” she said.

The following year, organizers kept the concept and launched the concert series, touring Montreal, Vancouver and Victoria.

“We raised $80,000 last year,” said Kerr. “Everyone loves the idea – they think it’s something unique and different. They were all very excited about the experience and what we’re raising funds for.”

Kerr said 100 per cent of the donated ticket proceeds from the concert series will go towards two Indigenous justice efforts being supported by RAVEN: the Heiltsuk Nation’s Step Up for Coast Heroes, and the Gitxaala Nation’s Protecting Banks Island. The Heiltsuk Nation’s case focuses on damages caused by the Nathan E. Stewart, an American-owned tug and barge operated by the Kirby Corporation, that ran aground in 2016 and leaked fuels into marine harvesting areas. In the Gitxaala Nation’s case, the nation is suing the province over mineral claims in traditional territories that were registered without notification, consultation or consent.

From this year’s concert series, Kerr said the proceeds will be split between the justice efforts, with a goal of reaching $100,000. This year, she said, they will have two sustainable food companies (Scout Canning and Guayaki Sustainable Rainforest Products Inc.) match $20,000 in donations toward RAVEN’s $100,000 goal.

For this year’s “bigger and bolder” Festival Afloat tour, musicians will perform, as they did last year, on the 80-foot sailing ship the Providence – among the oldest sailing ships still operating in B.C. waters.

Kerr confirmed that since organizers expect the majority of audience members will be on the water, volunteers from each port’s community, as well as the Providence’s crew, will be nearby for water safety precautions.

The Gabriola show will feature Indigenous artist Vira Danyk, also known as Ms. Pan!k, of the Hadia Nation, who also performs in the concert series in Ladysmith on July 12 and in Shoal Harbour off Sidney on July 13.

“I’m really excited to go and connect with some of these communities that I haven’t been able to visit due to COVID over the last few years,” said Danyk. “I love Gabriola, I played at the Cultivate festival in 2019.”

In describing her own style of music, Danyk said she makes “indie-experimental hip hop soul” using loop stations while incorporating elements of her traditional ancestral Haida music.

And although Danyk has a prior relationship with RAVEN, her performances this month will be the first time she’s played for a floating audience. As a skipper and former kayak guide, however, she said she loves the idea of returning to water.

Performing for benefit concerts is also not new for Danyk. As an activist, she said she’s done concerts to raise awareness about the ongoing housing crisis and homelessness in Vancouver, as well as to raise awareness for the efforts being made at Fairy Creek.

Attendance to Danyk’s July 11 show in Silva Bay is free, but donations are encouraged and can be made online at www.raventrust.com/paddle. Attendees are also asked to register online, in the event of start time adjustments due to tide changes. And those who would like to enjoy the show without a paddle board, kayak or canoe, can still do so from shore.

More information on the Festival Afloat Salish Sea Tour, or on RAVEN, can be found at www.raventrust.com.

READ MORE: Benefit concert will help recently immigrated Ukraine family in Nanaimo


mandy.moraes@nanaimobulletin.com

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A Victoria-based and Indigenous-focused charitable organization will bring a performance in their floating benefit concert series, Festival Afloat 2022 Salish Sea Tour, to Silva Bay on Gabriola July 11. (submitted photo)

A Victoria-based and Indigenous-focused charitable organization will bring a performance in their floating benefit concert series, Festival Afloat 2022 Salish Sea Tour, to Silva Bay on Gabriola July 11. (submitted photo)