Friday, July 19, 2024

Downtown Victoria brewery announces ‘Big Patio Days’ concert series this summer


Whistle Buoy Brewing is known for their beer, their atmosphere and their unique approach to events at the brewery. 

For the last two years, they’ve thrown one big birthday bash called ‘Whistlemania’ to celebrate another year of brewing beer and serving Victorians. 

These events, which took over the entirety of Market Square, featured local professional wrestlers, bands and musicians, drag performances as well as diverse food vendors from throughout the city. 

However, despite the jovial environment Whistlemania created, the owners of the brewery took on all the costs, risks and time it took to make the event happen, which became a heavy burden to bear.

This year they want to try something new—with an emphasis on accessibility—and they landed on ‘Big Patio Days’.

Co-owner of Whistle Buoy, Isaiah Archer told Victoria Buzz that according to their licensing, they have the opportunity to expand their space into Market Square up to six times a year. When the brewery was hosting Whistlemania, they would only use their expansion privilege once. 

This year, Big Patio Days will see the patio of Whistle Buoy expand all six times they are allotted with six different themes, opportunities for musical guests, special brews and collaborations with different local businesses. 

And to make this event as accessible to Victorians as possible, the brewery will only charge $5 entry to each of the six events.

“Instead of making it this huge event where people will have to choose between going to this or spending money on their [Phillips] Backyard Weekender tickets or, just name an event, right,” Archer explained. 

“There’s so many competing things going on and people usually have to pick one or two because not everyone can afford to do all this stuff.”

So we figured if we did a smaller event, made it a lot more accessible and just did them more often, that could be a way to make it less of a big purchase for people,” he added.  

The themes for each of the Big Patio Days are as follows:

  • June 22nd – Birthday Party – featuring music by Juice and Acres of Lions
  • July 6th – Victoria Stampede – featuring music by Bowen and Whiskey Business
  • July 2th7 – Garden Party – featuring music by Blush, Brothers, and Juice
  • August 10th – Surf Rock Beach Day – featuring music by Oily James and Halibut Cowboys
  • August 24th – Cuban Sunshine – featuring music by Miguelito Valdes
  • September 21st – Oktoberfest 

The Birthday Party theme will take place when they normally would have held Whistlemania, as it was always just a fun way to celebrate turning one year older as a business. 

Archer says for this one, they want to just make it as quintessentially Victoria as possible, so they are bringing in local juggernauts of the music scene, Acres of Lions and well-known local DJ, Juice. 

For the rest, Archer says the brewery just thought about what’s missing from the scene in the summer and tried to fill those gaps. 

“I’m from Calgary and a lot of my friends are going to the stampede this year,” Archer explained.

“This year I’m not going to go myself, but country is having a moment and we also work a lot with The Duke… and so we decided to do this country theme called the Victoria Stampede.”

He added there will be a mechanical bull being hauled into Market Square for this event to make it as authentic-Albertan as possible. 

“It’s easy fun and the timing works out because it’s during the Calgary Stampede,” he said. 

The next one is the Garden Party theme which will be a collaboration with the Courtney Room, who will be popping up at the event. For this one, Whistle Buoy and the Courtney Room made a rosehip saison, which will be served at the event. 

Archer says the inspiration behind the Garden Party is the fact that Victoria is known as garden city, there are flowers everywhere and the beer will feature rosehips. 

“The Surf Rock Beach Day, I think is just how we would have fun on a weekend, you know, go to a beach, go surfing, crack a few beers with your pals,” Archer told Victoria Buzz. 

He added that one of the bands playing that event are friends of the brewery, Halibut Cowboys, who are from Ucluelet and very much a part of the surf culture up-island. 

The Cuban Sunshine theme is inspired by another Cuban event Whistle Buoy held last summer because they met the owner of Fresko One World, an authentic Cuban restaurant on lower Yates. 

“Last year we also had Miguelito Valdes, who also lives in Victoria and is a very world-renowned Cuban trumpet player,” he added. 

“He is a very talented musician and obviously the food element being there as well, we thought that could be something that would be a little different for Victoria.”

The last theme is Oktoberfest, which Whistle Buoy decided on because they have never actually done a proper Oktoberfest celebration and their Head Brewer, Lukas Kromer, is German and trained as a brewer in Germany. 

Archer says he is excited for all the bands and to try something new which will serve the community, be an accessible option for summertime entertainment and allow the brewery to play around a bit. 

Which of the Big Patio Days are you most interested in? 

Let us know in the comments!

Curtis Blandy

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