By Robert Hawkes
Another summer of the popular Breakwater Barge musical series will begin in late May on Friday evenings from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on a covered floating stage. There is a $2.00 cover charge, with beer, wine, cider and food vendors available on site and nearby. Families are welcome to bring children to the events. There is no smoking, and pets are not allowed. The Barge is one of the most unique and beautiful locations to enjoy great music. The series provides a way to highlight local talent for both residents and visitors.
I recently talked to Jill Sawyer, the Communications Manager at the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA), to see what the plans were for the summer. The 2018 Breakwater Barge series will kick off with the rock/pop/soul band Cities on May 25. They were such a big hit in 2017 that they were back for an encore performance in September following a first appearance in May.
While the overall summer schedule is still being developed at press time, some of the confirmed acts are:
Cities May 25
The Ravens June 8
Destiny’s Wild June 22
County Line June 29
The season ends on September 28.
This will be the third season for the Breakwater Barge. Last year there were just over 9000 attendees in total at the Breakwater Barge events. You can follow the events on their Facebook page, or consult the calendar for the GVHA to see events as they are confirmed.
In reaction to some James Bay community concern about sound levels from Breakwater Barge, a number of changes have been implemented this year. Each Friday program will end a half hour earlier (at 9:00 p.m.). Also the orientation of the speakers has been changed so that there should be less sound directed towards residential areas. In addition, a limited number of Barge private events have been restricted to two possible nights this year (Thursday and Saturday).
The 2018 cruise ship season in Victoria will have started by the time you read this. You can see the full details at this link (http://www.victoriacruise.ca/cruise-schedule/current-season). In 2018 an increase to 248 cruise ships from 11 different cruise lines will stop at Ogden Point (236 stopped in 2017). One highlight will be Norwegian Bliss, a 4000 passenger brand new ship, in its first year of operation. The first stop by Norwegian Bliss in Victoria on June 1 will coincide with a Breakwater Barge event.
The buses from Ogden Point will be operated this year by a joint venture between CVS Tours and The Wilson’s Group, using newer, greener, and cleaner buses. About 30 per cent of cruise passengers leave the terminal on foot, and new signage helps to guide them on their way through James Bay.
Whether you come for the entire program, or just listen from afar to a few songs while walking the breakwater, the Barge adds to the vibrant James Bay community. Deanna Young, an organizer for Breakwater Barge the last two years, summarized it this way (for an article by Leah Myers) “I have a video of people dancing on the Breakwater, and it’s beautiful. I love seeing the people who come down for Barge nights, from 70 year olds to families with children.”