Rock of the Woods focuses north

Dave Bain is not the type who talks about “positive vibes,” but even he can’t help it when he discusses Rock of the Woods music festival.

Dave Bain is not the type who talks about “positive vibes,” but even he can’t help it when he discusses this year’s upcoming Rock of the Woods music festival.

“I can definitely tell you there is a positive vibe to the festival,” he said.

It is scheduled for July 21-24 this year.

Struggles to lock up the festival site in Sahtlam exhausted the Rock of the Woods team, but they came back determined to make the event better than ever. To that end, they have increased the festival’s focus on the Cowichan Valley and the rest of the Island north of the Malahat.

“We want to shine a better light on what the Valley has been in the past,” Bain said.

New to the festival this year are naturalist walks, which will take place three times a day, discussing the ecosystem in the Cowichan Valley and what makes it unique.

“We are proud of the Valley and its natural features,” Bain said. “We want to show it off to anyone who will listen.”

There are more games this year, including grass volleyball, and karaoke between band sets.

“I’m excited about it,” Bain said.

Of course, the focus of the festival remains on the music, and that area has expanded as well.

“We have way more bands than ever before,” Bain said.

Many of those bands come from north of the Malahat, which was a conscious decision.

“A lot of them would never get exposure like that,” Bain explained.

Headlining the festival are Bit Funk, a Brooklyn-based DJ and producer that the EDM crowd is excited about, and Five Alarm Funk, a nine-piece Vancouver band that fuses multiple genres.

“They will come and feed off the crowd. They go in and out of instrumental stuff.”

Other highlights include the electronic pop of Vancouver’s Bear Mountain, singer-songwriters Vince Vaccaro and Sam Weber, and Beyries, an eclectic and versatile vocalist from Montreal.

Also intriguing is The Choir, a 100-person vocal ensemble from Victoria that performs indie, folk and pop covers like you’ve never heard before. The Choir’s cover of Radiohead’s Black Star, which can be found on YouTube, is an example of their work.

“That should be a lot of fun. It will be a nice way to round out the weekend.”

Between the music and non-music entertainment, Bain is hoping to appeal to a wide range of festival-goers.

“We’ve definitely tried to make it as diverse as possible and still fun,” he said. “There will be something for everyone, but at the same time, they can come not knowing any of the artists and still be able to enjoy it.”

The festival will benefit the Oswego Arts and Cultural Society’s student bursary for arts and culture in the Cowichan Valley, which will be launched this fall.

“If the Valley gets behind it, it will be a cool thing,” Bain said.

Tickets for Rock of the Woods can be bought for the full festival or single days, both with and without camping.

Get them at Duncan Music and Mill Bay Pizza, in Victoria at Lyle’s Place, in Nanaimo at Lucid Records, and online at Visit for more information.

Just Posted

Cowichan Cougars miss golden opportunity to avoid relegation

“We were hoping in the second half we could flip the script”

Crofton pleased with project result, timeline not so much

But survey raises a number of concerns

‘Anything Goes’ in Musical Society’s madcap new show

Every possible character is on board an ocean liner

UPDATE: Tsunami warning cancelled for coastal British Columbia

Warning issued following 7.9 earthquake off Kodiak, AK

VIDEO: It’s Hometown Hockey time in Cowichan!

See our videos and pictures by our reporters from the big event at The Stick.

Castlegar homicide victim identified

The victim was 38-year-old Jordan Workman of Castlegar, B.C.

B.C. Liberal leadership candidates get one last prime-time pitch

Leadership campaign to be decided in Feb. 3 vote

Andrew Scheer on trade, Trump and Trudeau

Canada’s Conservative leader begins three-day visit to B.C.

Victims restrained, sex toys and cash stolen from B.C. adult store

Armed suspects sought in adult store robbery

Vancouver Islanders ponder need for tsunami siren song

Alarm sounds in Port Alberni but not at the DND base in Esquimalt

Babcock, Goyette and Smyth honoured at Order of Hockey in Canada

Mike Babcock, from Saskatoon, guided the Detroit Red Wings to a Stanley Cup in 2008

Bell Canada alert prompts RCMP, privacy watchdog to probe data breach

Company spokesman: ‘Fewer than 100,000 customers were affected’

‘The tsunami alarm failed my household’: North Coast residents concerned over sirens, alerts

People living in northern communities share how they learned about Tuesday’s tsunami warning

Most Read