A good way to get through Vancouver’s sometimes dreary winters is to make sure the whole family has a storehouse full of bright and happy summer memories.

July’s almost over, but it’s not too late to seize the sun. One of my favourite ways to do that is to escape Vancouver and explore British Columbia’s other cities while checking out local festivals. And one of the best will be happening in Nanaimo Aug. 24 to 27, 2017 – the Summertime Blues.


photo credit Megan Kennedy

This music festival checks all the right boxes for a family-friendly outing: children under 12 are admitted free when accompanying adults who’ve paid. It happens in a beautiful seaside setting (Maffeo Sutton Park). And you’re not confined to your seats for the duration of a performance: you can get up, roam around and return.

Given the wide range of the genre – and the line-up of performers – there are sure to be sets that will get both adults and children singing along or out of their seats and dancing. Whether you’re new to the blues or long-time aficionados, this is one event you don’t want to miss. On Sunday, there’s even some subtle consciousness raising, with women only performers all day long. So, pack up your beach chairs, sunscreen and blankets, and head on over. (Read about the full adventure on FestivalSeekers.)

A good music festival generates its own special euphoria, with the performers feeding energy into the audience and the audience returning energy to the performers in a beautiful upward spiral. Something just clicks, and you can’t help but move your body to the music. In between sets, be sure to mingle. With the festival doing a virtual takeover of Nanaimo, you might get lucky as I did on a pre-festival visit and score a mini-lesson in how to play the blues.

To get to Nanaimo, take BC Ferries from Vancouver or hop a quick flight on a float plane. If you’d like to extend your trip, Nanaimo has plenty of other attractions to offer after your weekend at Summertime Blues.

Plan Your Trip to Nanaimo


photo credit Megan Kennedy