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Song, dance return to popular Oak Bay park this summer

Summer concert series kicks off Saturday, returns Thursdays in Willows Beach Park
Soul Shakers lead singer Joyce Allensen hits a high note while performing with guitarist Sean McCool at Willows Park in 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)

Picnicking and dancing to the backdrop of Willows Beach is back as the summer outdoor concerts kick off Saturday in Oak Bay.

Organized through Oak Bay Parks, Recreation and Culture, the traditional free outdoor concerts celebrate music and the arts by highlighting local musicians with emerging artists as opening acts.

The season kicks off on Saturday, June 29 at 2 p.m. with a number of musical acts on the agenda.

Bryon Thompson on baritone, Clayton Long on tenor and Freda Eckstein on bass and tenor ukulele make up Uke’s Misbehavin’.

An&Ben – Andrea and Ben Lubberts – is a musical married duo performing tasteful covers on acoustic guitar with angelic harmonies since 2010.

Lado Strings is violin duo Borys Koniukhov and Julia Frait who left Ukraine to carve out a peaceful life in Victoria. Both trained at the Kyiv National Music Academy, afterwards working in many Ukrainian orchestras and travelling the world performing on cruise liners.

Get a taste of the music at and and

The concert series continues Thursday, July 4 at 6 p.m. with Steph Macpherson opening for Daniel Cook and The Radiators.

Macpherson’s debut folk-pop EP, To You, showcased an ear for melody, and a knack for honest words and powerful lyricism that was dominated by acoustic guitars and rich harmonies. Her follow-up releases, Bells & Whistles, Stones and Cowards further established Macpherson as one of Canada’s up-and-coming singer-songwriters.

Daniel Cook and The Radiators is a seasoned band that blends finger-style folk, bass-driven funk, tender ballads, reggae and rock, all rooted in country vibes, leaving audiences captivated. With sophistication and sensitivity, they combine a sweet mix of vocal harmonies and tasty solos into extraordinary heartfelt and memorable performances.

Get a taste of the music at

Ghostly Hounds open for Clanna Morna on July 18 at Willows.

Ghostly Hounds, are known for deeply personal songwriting and vulnerable storytelling, powerfully delivered by Francesca’s signature commanding vocals accompanied by the traditional combination of banjo and fiddle.

Clanna Morna brings their take on the Celtic traditional genre to the West Coast. Their sound is rooted in the traditional Irish, Scottish and English music that many love, and features carefully crafted arrangements, rhythmic spirited energy and captivating storytelling. Comprised of an ensemble of multi-instrumentalists, their collective musicianship and attention to detail contribute to a unique audience experience featuring both familiar and lesser known folk ballads and tunes.

Elise Boulanger performs Aug. 1 at 6 p.m.

Dubbed a chamber-pop artist, Boulanger is a bilingual operatically-trained environmental advocate that creates cinematic dreamscapes atop bass, cello, violin, piano, drums and ukulele. Get a taste of the music at

Known as one of the best dance bands on Vancouver Island, The Soul Shakers continues tradition rounding out the summer concert series in Oak Bay. Top-notch musicianship, stellar harmonies and high energy performances are a trademark of this band led by powerhouse singer and entertainer Joyce "the voice" Allensen.

The Soul Shakers perform Aug. 15 at 6 p.m. in Willows Beach Park.

About the Author: Oak Bay News Staff

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