Sunday, July 21, 2024

12 epic events coming to Vancouver Island in 2023 you can’t miss


It’s the new year and that means fresh starts, new experiences and a slew of events Victorians can start getting excited for!

When the seasons finally change and the daily rain warnings are replaced with clear skies, Greater Victoria blossoms into a vibrant city for locals and tourists. 

As we await those days these 12 immersive events happening on Vancouver Island should be on your radar as we head into 2023:

Sunfest Country Music Festival 

It’s been announced Country music icon Blake Shelton will headline the 2023 Sunfest Country Music Festival.

The four-day festival will be taking place at Laketown Ranch in the Cowichan Valley, from August 3rd to 6th, 2023.

  • Where: Laketown Ranch, 8811 Youbou Road
  • When: August 3rd to 6th


The festival attracts over 40,000 music lovers to BC’s capital city for performances by top international and national acts, alongside new and emerging artists. Plus, the staple festival also features local food and drinks.

The Park is located at Royal Athletic Park (1014 Caledonia Ave) and features the Main and RiffTop Stages. Electric Avenue is located in the Arts and Innovation District at the north end of the downtown core and will feature six stages including the legendary Phillip’s Backyard.

  • Where: Royal Athletic Park, 1014 Caledonia Avenue
  • When: September 14th to 17th

Victoria Highland Games 

An annual tradition in Victoria since the mid-1860s, the 160th Highland Games and Celtic Festival is a long-running event. It features hundreds of drummers and bagpipers, all sorts of competitions, Celtic dancing, tartan everywhere and lots of great family-friendly fun. Even if you don’t have Scottish blood, it’s well worth checking out!

  • Where: Topaz Park
  • When: May 20th and 21st

Whistle Mania

A celebration of beer, music and community at the Whistle Buoy Brewing Company is a highlight for many looking to enjoy local food vendors and live entertainment.

  • Where: Whistle Brewing Co., 560 Johnson Street
  • When: To be announced

Great Canadian Beer Festival

Featuring over 90 Canadian craft breweries and cideries from coast to coast, serving 245 different kinds of beer, the 29th annual edition of Canada’s oldest beer festival will return to Victoria. 

Bringing beer from every region of Canada, including the Maritimes, Québec, Ontario, Western Canada and Yukon, this year is going to be better than ever!

  • Where: Royal Athletic Park, 1014 Caledonia Avenue
  • When: To be announced 

Painting the town since 1987, the TD Art Gallery Paint-In has become a staple of Victoria’s art scene. In the summer, dozens of artists from many different creative backgrounds come together to display their creative vision. 

  • Where: Moss Street
  • When: To be announced

Saanich Fair

Known as Western Canada’s oldest continuous agricultural fair, the Saanich fair offers shoppers food, entertainment and live performances!

  • Where: 1528 Stellys Cross Road
  • When: Labour Day weekend, September 1st to 4th

Esquimalt Ribfest

A weekend of BBQ ribs, local entertainment, craft beer, cider and wine, free kid’s activities, local arts, and vendors.

Esquimalt Ribfest has six professional rib teams that compete to win the coveted Peoples’ Choice. Live music by our best local bands, craft brews, wine, and cider. Free children’s crafts and activities.

Outside operating costs, all proceeds raised by the Esquimalt Ribfest are returned to the community through the Esquimalt Firefighters Charitable Foundation and the Esquimalt Ribfest Society. Funds go to local charities and school-sponsored activities for our community’s youth.

  • Where: Esquimalt Ribfest, 1140 Lyall Street
  • When: To be announced

Culinaire Victoria

Chefs serve their inspired creations and signature dishes for you to savour, while beverage offerings range from a diverse collection of wines, cocktails, craft beer, cider, sodas, and locally roasted coffee. 

Interact with chefs, restaurateurs, mixologists, brewers and winemakers, and discover all that our great food and beverage community produces.

The best way to keep up to date with Culinaire Victoria is to sign up for their email list to receive advance notice for ticket sales dates, special offers, and other culinary events.

  • Where Victoria Conference Centre, 720 Douglas Street
  • When: Wednesday, March 29th, 2023, 
    • Main event (early) – 5 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. (sold out)
    • Main event (late) – 8 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. 

The Phillips Backyard Weekender

Disguised as a brewery parking lot by day, the Phillips Backyard magically transforms into an outdoor music super-party for three unforgettable nights. 

Set against the backdrop of our beloved local craft brewery in the open air of downtown Victoria’s communal backyard, The Phillips Backyard Weekender is a summer highlight not to be missed.

  • Where: Phillips Backyard, 2010 Government Street
  • When: To be announced


The TD Victoria International JazzFest is a ten-day music festival featuring the jazz, blues and world music of local, Canadian, and internationally acclaimed musicians. 

The 40th edition of TD Victoria International JazzFest will take place from Thursday, June 22nd through to Sunday, July 2nd for eleven hot days and nights of the coolest music in town!

  • Where: Jazzfest, 977 Alston Street 
  • When: Thursday, June 22nd to Sunday, July 2nd

Dragon Boat Festival

In 2023 the Dragon Boat Festival will celebrate its 28th annual racing event celebrating sport, culture, diversity, and community.

The Dragon Boat Festival is now accepting team reservations for the 2023 Festival.

  • Where: Victoria Dragon Boat Festival, 815 Wharf Street
  • When: August 11th to 13th

If you have an immersive, artistic or delicious event you’re excited about this year, let us know in the comments!



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