Duo Looky performs at the Downtown Victoria Buskers Festival at Ship Point on opening night Tuesday. One reader writes that the Downtown Victoria Business Association and the City simply usurped the highly successful Victoria International Buskers Festival. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Victoria resident finds history of new busker festival distasteful

City and business group committed cultural mutiny, reader writes

It is a wonderful thing that Victoria’s downtown is experiencing a renewed sense of activity, thanks in part to the response from the City of Victoria and the Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA).

I don’t think it can be ignored, though, that the recent actions of the DVBA around usurping an already existing, highly visual public festival are nothing short of cultural mutiny and theft.

Although I understand there was strong internal resistance to the move, the DVBA board and members made a concerted effort to displace the existing Victoria International Busker’s Festival with a new festival — with a very similar name, on the same weekend, at the same location and utilizing the same funders.

Effectively the DVBA, with the direct support of the City of Victoria, targeted a well-established cultural establishment and decided to take it. This should be sending shivers down the backs of everyone promoting events and festivals in Victoria. If the city and the DVBA like your event, your festival, your idea — but not you or your politics, should you express them — they have the ability to just take it.

The result is a visibly disorganized, under-prepared event that projects only a portion of the attendance of the original event, with reasonable estimations projecting only 25 to 40 per cent attendance compared to previous busker festivals. That is a significant drop given the significant resources of this new festival.

In short, they took over a festival and expect to lose most of its audience. I wonder what the effort was for. I understand that John Vickers, who established and championed the Victoria Busker’s Festival for more than 15 years, is a controversial figure with more than a few unpopular views stated publicly. But they didn’t just take his festival, his idea and his passion, they took that of everyone who contributed to the success of the festival and its vision over the years and privatized it.

This should be ringing alarm bells in the larger events community. The city and the DVBA have made it known that your event, your festival, your interest, your passion, are now open to public acquisition. I don’t envy anyone with an original idea that may help downtown today.

Terry Burrell

Victoria

Just Posted

Parents call for change to health laws after Oak Bay teen’s death

Accidental overdose has Elliot Eurchuk’s parents seeking change to B.C Infants Act

LGBTQ advocates turn Victoria SOGI protest into dance party

Counter-protest outnumbers anti-SOGI activists on lawn of B.C. legislature

Amazing Race Canada kicks off at Hatley Castle

Popular reality TV show will premiere later this year

Saanich speculates on exemption from real estate tax

Saanich will formally ask the provincial government to opt out of a… Continue reading

Tsawout hosts Saanich Peninsula community leaders at blanket ceremony

Reconciliation event meant to share the Indigenous exerience

Toronto van attack suspect faces 10 counts of first-degree murder

The suspect in the Toronto van attack that killed 10 people and injured 15 others on Monday is a 25-year-old man named Alek Minassian

‘Enough is enough’: G7 ministers agree to call Russia out

‘Enough is enough’: G7 ministers agree to call Russia out on ‘malign’ behaviour

Cosby jury to decide: Serial rapist or con artist’s mark

Bill Cosby is at the courthouse Tuesday morning ahead of closing arguments in his sexual assault retrial.

Trump: ‘Our hearts are with the grieving families in Canada’

U.S. President Donald Trump is offering his condolences to Canadians

Trudeau calls van attack ‘horrific and senseless’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls van attack ‘horrific and senseless,’ says no apparent terror link

Officer’s actions ‘one shining moment’ after Toronto van attack

Arresting officer’s actions ‘one shining moment’ in the wake of Toronto van attack

Saanich pushes ahead with plans for referendum on future amalgamation talks

Saanich is moving ahead with plans to hold a referendum in the… Continue reading

As Osoyoos Indian Band flourishes, so too does Okanagan’s wine tourism

Indigenous practices have driven growth of South Okanagan’s wine history and agricultural influence

Judith Guichon steps down as Lieutenant Governor of B.C.

Election decision didn’t make her best moments from the past six years

Most Read