“The Commons was a glow with such a good energy. I really was proud to be part of this community this past weekend.”
“This festival was pure magic!!”
“I’ve never been at a prettier, more heart-opening festival.”
“So many dedicated, talented, community-minded locals working together to create a celebration of everything Gabriolan.”
What’s our secret for creating a truly community festival?
It’s all around us – families, artists, groups and individuals that come together to make this island special and unique. We strive to make Cultivate inclusive to all community members.
Getting together with community around art, nature and food and drink create some of life’s most memorable moments. Here are a few ways that we’re working to bring people of all ages together.
We are all Family
We’re thrilled to announce that all children and youth under 16 are welcome free of charge accompanied by a ticked adult. Young people will inherit this Island, and we want them to feel welcome and appreciated.
The Family Zone at Cultivate is at the heart of our festival.
Creators of all ages are welcome to create and connect at this year’s Kids Zone. Well stocked with arts and crafts supplies, friendly Cultivate volunteers and soon-to-be new friends, the family zone will be the place-to-be for young folks looking to dive in and get creative!
The Family Zone is in direct view of the Garden Stage, our mainstage. Families can lay out picnic blankets, spread across the lawn, and take in the full festival experience.
This Festival Includes Everyone
We know that sometimes going out to live music or an event is a stretch financially. We want Cultivate to be open to all, whether you can afford our tickets or not.
That’s why we have an Inclusion Campaign: Pay-what-you-can tickets, funded by pay-it-forward donations.
Click here to find out more about how you can be included in this, either to get a ticket or help someone else get one.
Respecting Indigenous Culture and Rights
What does it mean to host a festival on unceded territory? As a community, how do we respect and honour the rights and culture of the Snuneymuxw people?
Cultivate wants to support Snuneymuxw presence, cultural expression, and land reclamation throughout their traditional territory.
We want to embrace “natsamaat” – the Hul’quimi’num expression for “working together”.
Our very first artist-in-residence is Patrick Aleck, who carries songs for his Snuneymuxw community. Footprints of the Wolf, a family drum circle, will honour Cultivate at our opening ceremonies.
Indigenous artists Ms.PANIK, Crystal Carlson, and John Aitken (The Gift: Transformation) highlight both the pain of settler-indigenous history, and the strength of indigenous resilience.
Commoning for the Future
Every Saturday, a group of people come together to mow lawns, build fences, weed and water gardens, and work on projects all over the Gabriola Commons. Then they all gather inside the farmhouse or under some shade for soup.
They do it because they believe the old idea of a Commons – resources, land, and culture that are available to everyone – is part of transforming our world sustainably and peacefully.
We think these folks are village-minded visionaries who are looking many generations in the future. We see Cultivate as a celebration of the spirit of the Commons.
We’ll have a “festival commons” that is open to everyone, whether or not they have a ticket. Vendors and food will create a festival atmosphere that’s nostalgic of village festivals gone by.
Good food and drink is another big part of Cultivate. Local chefs Alex Dewar and Becky Furnell (Ground Up Pop-up Cafe) will be cranking out the great eats from the kitchen (remember the late night grilled cheese last year?), along with Good Earth Farm and others.
Local craft beer from Gladstone and White Sails breweries, and Gabriola cider from Ravenskill Orchards is on tap.
Welcoming Community Groups
Cultivate includes so many community groups that pour their hearts into this community.
The Gabriola Lions support everyone on the island, from children to elders. Come out and have some pancakes each morning and support them.
The Gabriola Players are our beloved community theatre group, and the most recent winners of the Arty Award – Gabriola’s version of the Oscar’s. They’ll be showcasing some new work at Cultivate.
The Gabriola Recreation Society has a special Cultivate camp, where youth 6 – 12 years old will be creating a special performance just for Cultivate.
Cultivate collaborates with the Farm to Table Feast, a dinner celebrating local growers. Farm to Table happens the weekend after Cultivate.
Our neighbour for the festival, the Rollo Centre is hosting a quilting art show from the Gabriola Quilters. They’ve generously given us parking spots for our artists.
Something for everyone
Beyond the family friendly area, Cultivate is proud to present family programming. The Oot n’ Oots are a high energy indie-rock band that will satisfy the musical pallets of all generations of rockers. Against Gravity is a large-scale puppet performance featuring live music, evocative storytelling and whimsical characters.
Connect to our Historical Folk Roots
This year’s participants will have the opportunity to connect with various historical events and cultures via theatre and song. Jake’s Gift, a one-woman play about WW2 vet returning to Normandy, premiered on Gabriola ten years ago and has since been around the world and has earned multiple awards.
Canadian Country Music hall of famer and Gabriola resident Gary Fjellgaard paints pictures of frontier life and times gone by with his soothing voice and cowboy poetry.
Gabriolans will have the chance to experience Canadian song writing history with a member of the Hometown Band and Pied Pumpkins, and prominent solo artist, Shari Ulrich. Gracing stages and creating records for over thirty years, this member of Canadian folk royalty is not to be missed!
Experience the Cutting Edge
The Goat Barn stage will feature elements of the dance music underground that usually only the most devoted and updated fans know about. If you’ve never experienced genres like deep dubstep, fairytale bass, trap, and worldbeat, then vocalist, producer and DJ Applecat will carry you from the dance floor into new realms and possibilities.
Performing on the Garden Stage, Tofino’s MS.PANIK works on the cutting edge of musical mediums and thematic expression. Using her loop pedal and guitar, expect intricately woven beats and passionate songwriting that covers topics like cultural appropriation, spiritual awakening in a time of despair, and music as medicine.