The Tragically Hip's Gordon Downie performs to thunderous applause at Rock The Shores 2012 at the Juan de Fuca fields in Colwood

Rock the Shores succeeds despite storm delay

The 12,000 people who packed the makeshift stadium were treated to an evening of great music, wild weather and top-notch planning

It was an Island show that showed the Island might just have found a new venue for large scale events.

West Shore Parks and Recreation administrator Linda Barnes said traffic was not a problem, and the fields survived with little to no damage.

“It was a really eye-opening experience in terms of working together on a large scale event. It’s how things should work,” Barnes said. “Everybody was just happy and enjoying themselves. I think everybody left happy. It’s a good feeling because I think we really showed that West Shore can really host this kind of event. We got all kinds of really good, positive feedback from the community.”

The 12,000 people who packed in the lower fields at the West Shore Parks and Recreation complex were treated to an evening of great music, wild weather and top-notch traffic planning by concert organizers Atomique Productions.

The evening started slow, with a few thousand people and plenty of room for couples to lounge on blankets while listening to Victoria alt rockers Jets Overhead.

The well travelled band’s set included the hit single Heading for Nowhere.

Fellow Victorians Current Swell followed up with their modern take on roots rock that got the crowd up and dancing as the day’s heat hit its peak.

A dark cloud started its crawl across the West Shore sky as the Sam Roberts Band picked up the pace. The crowd pressed toward the stage, forcing those who had been on blankets to stand or retreat further back.

A very light rain helped keep the packed crowd cool. But then the first of a series of lightning strikes split the sky, forcing organizers to pull the plug on Roberts’ set.

The wind whipped up the low lying clouds as the sun set over the makeshift stadium. As night fell, the crowd patiently waited out the storm. At one point, technicians took down lighting and sound equipment, causing some concern that the show might not go on

And then just as chants of “We want The Hip” started to carry a little louder through the restive crowd, the crew returned to restore the stage.

The large flat screens that flanked the stage were once again raised by cherry pickers and within minutes a cheer exploded as Gord Downie stumbled up to the microphone in his trademarked shuffle.

The Tragically Hip quickly won back the crowd. The show, which had been scheduled to shut down precisely at 11 p.m., carried on past curfew.

The RCMP and event organizers worked with Colwood bylaw officers to have the concert’s curfew extended by 45 minutes.

“They paid a lot of good money and it was a good crowd and we got all the approval from everybody,” said West Shore RCMP Sgt. Max Fossum. “When there’s a delay, if we can make it up that’s perfect.”

Check us out on Facebook for more photos from the show.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com