Busker Fest could land in Langford

Downtown Victoria’s loss could be the West Shore’s gain

A festival organizer may have Langford in his sights, with downtown Victoria firmly set in his rearview mirror.

John Vickers, executive director of the Victoria International Buskers Festival Society, is in preliminary talks with two Langford-based groups about the potential for hosting a busker festival in 2018.

He met with the City of Langford’s parks, recreation, culture and beautification committee late last month, and has since been in contact with the Metchosin Farmers Institute and Ecoasis Developments about the potential for the festival to take place at the Luxton Fairground or Bear Mountain.

“At this point we’re still knocking on doors,” Vickers said. “I think it would be great out there. We have thousands (of people) come in from the West Shore.”

The response from West Shore groups and individuals has been a nice change from some he’s received from the downtown community, he added. “With the circumstances downtown we’ll be looking for a new home in 2018 … It certainly could be someone else’s gain.”

After six years of operating in downtown Victoria, the summer festival has been cancelled for 2017. In November the Downtown Victoria Business Association announced the launch of the Downtown Victoria Buskers Festival, which is scheduled for July 2017. Tourism Victoria also announced it would no longer be providing financial support for Vickers’ festival and pledged support for the DVBA event.

The society lost about $40,000 in potential funding, which Vickers noted is about 25 per cent of their budget. Without that funding, he added they weren’t able to do a lot of the winter administrative work, such as applying for grants.

“We’re a non-profit without funding. We’re kind of dead in the water,” he said, adding the society is looking to connect with a host that would also be willing to help operate the festival moving forward. “We’ll see where the dust settles.”

katie@goldstreamgazette.com