RAVEN (Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs) is a Victoria-based organization dedicated to raising legal defence funds for Indigenous peoples in Canada to increase their access to the justice system. Their efforts have aided in the protection of the seabed and foreshore in Heiltsuk’s Great Bear Rainforest and pushed back against non-consensual mining in the Gitxaala territory.
But during the pandemic, when much of fundraising is dependent on a gathered crowd, they were forced to get creative with how they operated. This lead to a floating concert in the waters just off of Salt Spring Island. Events were banned by public health order but audience members could convene in socially distanced kayaks, canoes, paddle-boards, and other small vessels to hear performers who were playing on a floating stage. This event raised over $80,000 and had shows in Montreal, Vancouver, and Victoria.
This summer, RAVEN is back with another series of floating concerts that they have dubbed Festival Afloat.
In partnership with the sustainable seafood company Scout, Festival Afloat will take place on the deck of the Providence, which is the oldest boat in B.C.
Performers including Juno-nominee Desirée Dawson, Renée Layla and Ms. Pan!k, who will be giving shows from the water which guests can paddle out to hear or can listen to from the beaches. The Providence will sail from port-to-port through the Salish Sea, kicking off with a concert at Vancouver's Jericho Beach on July 7 with Desirée Dawson performing, then heading to Gabriola Island (July 11), Ladysmith (July 12), Sidney (July 13), Pender Island (July 14), Salt Spring Island (July 15) and Galiano Island (July 16). Tickets are by donation.
In addition to the shows, people can purchase tickets to board the Providence for a three-hour fundraising sailing trip while the boat is in Vancouver on July 7, 8, and 9. There will be Indigenous guides on board to educate passengers on the marine ecosystem and ‘seacuterie’ curated by the owner of Scout, Charlotte Langley.
Scout will also be matching every donation to the Festival Afloat concerts and cruises.
Festival Afloat Desirée Dawson Jericho Beach Concert
When: July 7 at 7 p.m. (show times are subject to tide conditions)
Where: Jericho Beach (Iy̓ál̓mexw, ʔəy̓alməxʷ)