Toronto’s Sloan make their return to Greater Victoria this Saturday night at Rock the Shores in Colwood. The group performed at Rifflandia in Victoria two years ago.

Countdown is on for Colwood rock festival

Rock the Shores kicks off busy weekend with Friday concert

One of the biggest events on Vancouver Island is back.

Thousands of music fans will descend upon the West Shore Parks and Recreation, July 11 to 13 when Tom Cochrane, The Cult, Billy Talent, Sloan, Our Lady Peace, Mother Mother and many more bands take over the lower soccer fields for the biggest local music festival of the year.

“The people on the Island love rock and here we are happy every year to bring that to people of the West Shore,” said Melanie Ransome of Atomique Productions, which runs the festival. “Every year we got the chance to expand, because the people of the Island want to have an event like this.”

Atomique expects 37,500 people to attend over the three days. The event has grown from 12,500 fans for the one-day concert in 2012 to 20,000 over two days last year.

“We seem to have a growing fan base, which is exciting. We have a ton of Seattle concert goers and (Vancouver) concert goers. It is (also) a nice way to show another part of the Island,” Ransome said. “We display downtown Victoria for Rifflandia and it is Colwood’s chance to sing with Rock the Shores. It is a very local event, but it is an awesome way to show people from out of town what it is all about.”

Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton also looks forward to the new visitors the larger-than-life event will bring to her neck of the woods this weekend.

“It is an opportunity that the West Shore doesn’t see too often. Downtown they have all kinds of music festivals and events and cultural opportunities, so this has been a great opportunity to turn the tables,” she said. “(It) gets the downtown folks coming in our direction.”

Guitarist-vocalist Chris Murphy of Toronto band Sloan, which performs Saturday night (July 12), plans to arrive a few days early and said he looks forward to getting to know the area.

Come show time, he said, as much fun as the fans will have, he will reciprocate.

“I always have fun. I have fun playing greatest hits, have fun showing off our newest songs … I just like to work,” Murphy said.

The multiple Juno-nominated and award-winning quartet make their return to Victoria after playing Rifflandia two years ago.

Murphy said he and his fellow band members not only look forward to the spectacle of performing in front of a big crowd of fans who not only sing along and know the words, but playing for new fans who may not have grown up with their music.

“We are my own favourite band, because as a fan of music I feel like we do everything I want a band to do, except succeed internationally and commercially,” he said, half jokingly. “We make a living and don’t have to deal with fame. It is perfect.”

Sloan take the stage Saturday along with headliner Billy Talent.

Friday’s top bill goes to Tom Cochrane with Red Rider, The Cult and Gord Downie and the Sadies, while Sunday’s finale features Mother, Mother and Our Lady Peace among other bands.

Ransome said the third iteration of Rock the Shores is one event not to be missed.

“There is definitely a classic rock influence for a lot of our headliners. But we have three days and a lot of artists people can discover. People are going to fall in love with the acts that are here.”

Rules laid out for concertgoers

Rock the Shores attendees have some new guidelines with which to enjoy their experience.

• New liquor laws now allow for a site-wide open liquor license, meaning festival goers may enjoy alcoholic beverages across the grounds without need for a fenced beer garden. Rock the Shores is one of the first festivals to adopt the policy.

• While not new, there will be especially strict enforcement preventing alcohol from being brought into the event. Anyone caught is subject to immediate ejection.

• Parking will again be extremely limited but a dedicated taxi loop, a bike check and lock up area and additional buses running to and from the recreation centre before, during and after the event have been set up to make access to and from the event as seamless as possible.

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