A leading Canadian band will headline the inaugural version of Indigifest 2019, a showcase for Indigenous musicians coming to Victoria.
The Snotty Nose Rez Kids, whose album Trapline has made the shortlist of the 2019 Polaris Music Prize, will be among several Indigenous musicians performing Aug. 24 at Esquimalt Gorge Park. By way of background, the Polaris Music Prize “celebrates and rewards creativity and diversity in Canadian recorded music.” Past winners include the who’s who of Canadian independent music, including Feist, Arcade Fire, Shad, and PUP.
Other elements of Indigifest include free interactive workshops offering opportunities to collaborate with local artists, an Indigenous marketplace for vendors selling unique handcrafted goods and arts and traditional games for children.
Sarah Pocklington, executive producer of Indigifest and arts program manager for the First Peoples’ Cultural Council (FPCC), said the event celebrates the “ingenuity, vitality and diversity of Indigenous music, arts and cultures from across the province of British Columbia” while also offering itself as a creative space.
“This is not just a festival,” she said. “We are thrilled to support and mentor Indigenous artists, musicians, and arts and music administrators who have participated in past FPCC programming and are now building their careers in the industry.”
By way of background, FPCC is a First Nations-run provincial crown corporation mandated to support the revitalization of Indigenous languages, arts and cultural heritage in British Columbia.
The idea behind the festival emerged out of a FPCC retreat for Indigenous musicians held May 2018 in Whistler, where many of the musicians performing at Indigifest mentored each other, while receiving support from accomplished Indigenous music industry professionals.
Lisa Beare, the provincial minister of tourism, arts and culture, said Indigifest culminates a year’s work by these artists and industry professionals.
Creative BC, the BC Arts Council and the provincial government are supporting the event.
Prem Gill, chief executive officer of Creative BC, said the event will give locals a chance to experience the “dynamic work of Canada’s talented Indigenous musicians, artists and performers.”
Susan Jackson, chair of the BC Arts Council, echoed this sentiment.
“Indigifest is a great addition to B.C.’s cultural landscape,” she said. “This festival shines the spotlight on the exciting creative works of emerging Indigenous artists, and the BC Arts Council is proud to support its inaugural year.”