Victoria aims to become new hub, global destination for music with first-ever ‘strategy’

Victoria aims to become new hub, global destination for music with first-ever 'strategy'
City of Victoria
Ska Fest in Victoria

The City of Victoria is aiming to become more of a hub and global destination for music with the launch of its first-ever “Music Strategy.”

The Music Strategy will span over a five-year period — from 2022 to 2026 — and is aimed at removing barriers, creating new performance and practice spaces, growing audiences and expanding access to music among other things.

The primary focus in the first year of this strategy will be on COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts for musicians, according to the City of Victoria. Starting in 2022, funding will be put towards increased free programming in public spaces such as parks, transit and tourism hubs and downtown public spaces.

“While earning a living as an artist is not easy, this Music Strategy has the power to connect people, bridge cultural divides, support the city’s tourism industry, and fuel job creation,” said Mayor Lisa Helps. “A city with a strong music ecosystem supports its musicians at all stages of their careers, drives economic value, and contributes to making places more vibrant and attractive and enhances the City’s liveability.”

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The City of Victoria says that the Music Strategy was shaped by a series of roundtables, online and in-person interviews, and surveys with over 100 music industry and policy representatives and it has been unanimously endorsed by the Music Advisory Committee.

The primary objectives of the strategy are to ensure action is taken on five major priorities:

  • Remove regulatory barriers and create music-friendly policies.
  • Preserve existing spaces and encourage the development of new spaces.
  • Build local capacity for artists to develop their music careers.
  • Grow audiences and expand access to music in all its forms.
  • Seek partnerships and collaborations to explore new innovative music platforms and experiences.

While developing these major priorities, an Economic Impact Assessment was conducted to measure the economic output of the music sector in Victoria. The data showed that in 2017, the music ecosystem created 3,630 direct jobs in Victoria contributing $223.61 million (GDP) and direct output of $463.21 million to the local economy.

The assessment also revealed that Victoria accounted for 22 per cent of the total GDP of the BC music sector, compared to 51 per cent in Vancouver and the rest of BC at 27 per cent.

“Music is ingrained in Victoria’s heritage and identity. The narrative of Victoria’s musical history is one of diversity and talent of the highest quality,” reads a statement from the City. “From ANSWER Women’s Drum Group and contemporary local Indigenous artist Black Belt Eagle Scout to Nelly Furtado and Aidan Knight to Hot Hot Heat, Victoria is home to a long history of music in our community.”

The Music Strategy was presented and officially adopted by Council on Thursday, November 4, 2021.

More details on the Music Strategy can be found online here.

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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