A passion for their culture drives Cowichan Tribes Tzinquaw Dancers. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Indigenous voices to take centre stage at Cowichan Valley festival

From Sept. 7-8, you can listen to Indigenous voices at third annual Koksilah Music Festival


Indigenous voices will be featured at the third annual Koksilah Music Festival on Sept. 6-8 at Tuwe’nu (Providence Farm) in Tl’upalus (Cowichan Bay).

The goal of this family-friendly event is to amplify the voices of Indigenous artists and to raise support for grassroots, Indigenous-led cultural resurgence and decolonization initiatives in B.C.

The festival also seeks to foster solidarity between Indigenous and settler communities through musical celebration.

“All music uplifts the heart and soul,” says Tousilum (Ron George), Quw’utsun Elder and organizer. “We look forward to sharing songs and words with you on our homelands. Please come and join us.”

Proceeds from a silent auction and raffle will be directed to Quw’utsun Youth Programs and to Unist’ot’en Camp in the B.C. Interior.

“We want to bring people together to party for a purpose”, says Alex Schiebel, one of the festival organizers. “Art and politics are inseparable, and we saw this festival as an opportunity to further discussions around cultural identity, dispossession of land and resources, decolonization, settler responsibility, and community building.”

The line up will feature bands and artists that will each add their unique musical talent to this multi-genre festival to create an unforgettable occasion.

Bring your dancing shoes for the Indigifunk band Curtis Clearsky and the Constellationz; and get swept away by the melodic and enchanting songs of Desireé Dawson and Cowichan Valley local Juniper.

The Quw’utsun Tzinquaw dancers will open and close the festivities.

In addition to music, the festival offers a diverse series of workshops on topics including decolonization, cedar weaving, trauma-resilience, cultural appropriation, vocal harmonizing, land stewardship, plant identification and more.

There will be a lunch provided for elders on Saturday with an open mic for elders to share their timeless perspectives. A kids’ zone will be offered with games, crafts, and scheduled activities.

The organizing collective includes Quw’utsun elders and community leaders, and is consulting with Cowichan Tribes to ensure this gathering reflects proper protocols and is accessible to the local Indigenous community.

All are welcome. The festival is free to all Quw’utsun people and vendors in recognition of the fact that the event is taking place on their territory.

For up to date information please visit koksilahfestival.com or search ‘Koksilah Music Festival’ on Facebook.


The Tzinquaw Dancers are superb ambassadors for the idea of increased recognition of First Nations culture. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Performances by the Tzinquaw Dancers are a moving sight. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

A passion for their culture drives Cowichan Tribes Tzinquaw Dancers. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

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