CHEK Upside: Floating concert series set to sail the Salish Sea


Since 2009, the RAVEN Trust has been supporting First Nations trying to protect their traditional territories.

“So we raise funds to help Indigenous communities wanting to go to court to uphold their environmental rights,” says RAVEN development coordinator Caitlyn Kerr.

Like many non-profits during the pandemic, RAVEN had to adapt to different ways of fundraising.

Their idea?

Hold a floating concert series just off of Salt Spring Island. And with that Festival Afloat was born.

“There was a tiki barge and just kind of invited all the locals to come on a kayak, paddleboard, canoe or any floating device to come in solidarity for Indigenous legal challenges,” says Kerr.

In 2021 the event grew even larger, with the Victoria-based organization hosting shows in Montreal, Vancouver and Victoria.

“We raised $80,000 for a few different campaigns that we work with,” says Kerr.

“The Heiltsuk Nation, West Moberly First Nations and the Wet’suwet’en Nation.”

This year Festival Afloat returns with a port-to-port tour of the Salish Sea aboard the Providence, B.C.’s oldest ship and featuring musicians such as Juno nominee Desirée Dawson.

“She’ll be performing July 7th for our Vancouver show again and then we will have Ms. Pan!k, she is a Haida artist,” says Kerr. “And then Renee Layla as well.”

Festival Afloat kicks off with a concert at Vancouver’s Jericho Beach July 7 before stopping in the Gulf Islands, Ladysmith and Sidney.

To learn more about RAVEN and the upcoming Festival Afloat, visit RAVEN’s website.

Cole Sorenson

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