Year-round festivals are just one great reason to make the Comox Valley your home
The mid-morning sun glistens off the majestic Comox Glacier. The refreshing aromas of cedar forests and ocean breezes mingle in every breath and the energy of an entire community pulses through the warm spring air. It’s festival season in the Comox Valley!
The Comox Valley, nestled between mountain and sea on the eastern edge of Vancouver Island, has been referred to as the “Valley of Festivals,” and with good reason. The idyllic region boasts more than 50 annual festivals and events, and during the summer months it’s possible to attend a different festival every weekend.
From the bounty and beauty of the Valley’s farms, rivers and ocean to the diversity of arts and culture in the region, the Comox Valley has much to celebrate. And never ones to take life too seriously, Valley residents are always keen to throw a party.
After a winter spent skiing, snowboarding and golfing (that’s right, six of the Comox Valley’s golf courses are open year-round), summer is ushered in with a solid jolt of adrenaline with the Royal LePage Snow to Surf Adventure Race in late April. Participants begin on the snowy slopes of Mount Washington and finish on the shimmering waters of the Comox Marina. While there’s never a shortage of über-fit hard bodies at the Snow to Surf, the main attraction is the lively entertainment, boisterous beer gardens and jovial socializing down at the marina throughout the day-long event.
Later, months of pent-up exuberance explode in June, July and August as revellers from all over Vancouver Island and the mainland converge on the Comox Valley for the Valley’s biggest and most anticipated events.
Vancouver Island MusicFest (July 8-10, 2016) is a three-day celebration of roots and world music from around the globe, and is the largest music festival on Vancouver Island. Far from just another outdoor concert, MusicFest features six stages sprawled out over a vast area of fields and forest hugging the shores of the gently flowing Tsolum River. Bedouin Soundclash, Tegan & Sara and Don McLean are just some of the internationally renowned performers that have graced the stages of MusicFest in recent years, and the 2016 line-up is expected to be just as impressive with rockers 54-40 headlining Sunday night.
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Not to be outdone, Atmosphere Gathering is an intentionally small music festival held annually in the Village of Cumberland. The 2016 festival takes place August 19-21 and will feature a diverse line-up of eclectic performances and a variety of workshops.
On BC Day weekend, festival-goers descend on the picturesque town of Comox for two iconic Comox Valley summer events. The Filberg Festival (July 29 to Aug 1, 2016), a 4-day celebration of the arts, features some of the best Canadian arts and entertainment in a spectacular oceanside setting. There’s always a lively turnout exploring the myriad booths and displays, taking in the live music or simply enjoying the ambiance from a sunny spot on the grass. With crafts and activities for kids and lively musical performances, the Filberg Festival is a definite must-see on the Comox Valley festival circuit.
Comox Nautical Days (July 30 to Aug 1, 2016), which takes place the same weekend at the Comox Marina, features it own brand of fun and frivolity. The annual event features a popular bullhead fishing derby, the always-hilarious Build, Bail and Sail, rides and games for the kids and a 4-mile road running race – the longest continually held footrace in BC.
In the Comox Valley, the fun never stops
Between the major summer festivals, visitors and residents of the Comox Valley get their kicks at events such as the wine festival, beer festival, whisky festival, shellfish festival and fall fair – not to mention the classic car show, artist studio tours, and summer concert series. The list goes on and on . . .
As autumn descends on the Comox Valley the raucous summer festivals make way for craft fairs and harvest celebrations, which eventually fade into winter fairs, cultural or solstice celebrations and winter alpine events. Valley residents, of course, are still active as eve – hiking, skiing, golfing and kayaking their way through the mild Vancouver Island winter.
If you listen closely, however, you can just barely catch the buzz of budding anticipation slowly building into a crescendo of exuberance that will once again erupt into another lively summer in the Valley of Festivals.