Canada is the second largest country in the world, and it’s the birthplace of famous artists like Justin Bieber, Drake, The Weeknd, Shania Twain, Neil Young, Grimes and Carly Rae Jepsen. So, in the first part of our new video series, “The Scene,” our correspondent Afika Nxumalo visits Victoria, British Columbia, one of that province’s most diverse cities. It has a thriving culture full of incredible food, beautiful landscapes and a booming music scene.
To get a better understanding of what goes down in BC, we met up with Jimmy Leitch, a local tastemaker and creator of the events app Do250. Leitch is also heavily involved with the music scene here – “Live music is sort of just built into the cultural fabric; live, outdoors, for free” – and he pointed out a few local spots that helped the music community grow into what it is today: from diverse vinyl stores to the famous coffee shops to the music conservatories that ignite the area’s young talent; it’s all part of the city’s vibrant culture.
Next, we talked with Dylan Willows and Nick Blasko, who know just about everything when it comes to music – whether it’s the nightlife scene, the festival circuit or the local radio stations.
“Artists, they’re all just naturally drawn here, it’s so beautiful,” Willows, a radio host, explains. “The music scene here is so alive, dozens of places to gig every night.”
Blasko co-owns a music production company called Atomique Productions, and got his start booking local punk shows. He recommends we check out Victoria’s music scene first-hand by visiting the Phillips Backyard Weekender –one of the city’s biggest music festivals, and the brainchild of his company.
Before the festival kicked off, we chatted with one of Victoria’s best up-and-coming acts, the Fortune Killers, who describe their music as a “lovechild of Lana Del Ray and Metric.” “Victoria pulls me,” lead singer Felicia Harding says. “And I think it’s important to stay and survive where you thrive. And this is where I thrive.”