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Pedal-powered events bring poets, music to Oak Bay, Saanich and Victoria

‘The performers are very literally feeding off the energy of the crowd’
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Concert-goers power the mic and music for summer song and poetry in parks along Bowker Creek this summer. (Photo by Karissa Chandrakate)

People power a series of concerts celebrating a waterway that travels mostly unseen through three municipalities of Greater Victoria. Creekside Concerts, featuring Tune Your Ride, are a spinoff of a San Francisco festival.

James Davis, then living in Ontario, was inspired by the cycling fest created by a friend and brought the idea to life in his community.

“I went to the festival in 2009 and I came back to Toronto thinking, this is something people in Toronto would really like,” he said. Davis spent the better part of a year tinkering in the garage to figure it out and had crowds powering music in the park not long after.

When he moved to Greater Victoria in 2016, Davis whose primary form of transportation is bike, cycled the area extensively.

“My bicycle is my main form of transportation, I’ve never owned a car,” Davis said.

He realized quickly that Tune Your Ride was a good fit. “To run into these urban creeks got me curious,” he said. Davis partnered with the Friends of Bowker Creek Society to start hosting the Creekside Concerts in 2019.

READ ALSO: Out of the streambed gravel comes harbinger of waning pollution in Oak Bay creek

Three events fill parks along Bowker Creek, “a little bit evocative of the salmon that used to make their way up the creek,” Davis said. Part of the goal is education and awareness of the watershed while promoting and providing a platform for independent musicians and poets in the region. “It’s an interesting way to discover the region and areas they didn’t know existed,” Davis said.

The creekside events are primarily acoustic and spoken, so the gear is minimal and audiences are eager to participate, Davis said. Those pedalling quickly note how easy it is and the entertainers tend to include them in the performance.

“It’s cool to see the interplay between the performer and the person on the bike,” Davis said. “The performers are very literally feeding off the energy of the crowd.”

READ ALSO: Oak Bay 13-year-old brings birding class to the shores of Bowker Creek

The free family-friendly events open with a Lekwungen welcome by TEALIYE (Brianna Bear) at Bowker Creek walkway in Oak Bay on July 8 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Browning Park in Saanich on July 22 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and in Clawthorpe Park in Victoria on Aug. 5 from 6 to 8 p.m.

The opening concert will have American Sign Language interpretation and Davis hopes to continue the service for the other two concerts of the series.

Learn more about the concerts at creekside-concerts.weebly.com.

c.vanreeuwyk@blackpress.ca

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Concert-goers power the mic and music for summer song and poetry in parks along Bowker Creek this summer. (Photo by Karissa Chandrakate)
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Tanisha Nuttall performs as a concert-goer powers the mic and music for summer song and poetry in parks along Bowker Creek this summer. (Photo by Karissa Chandrakate)


Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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