Arts, Festivals & Culture | Powell River, BC
In addition to an abundance of opportunities for outdoor exploration and adventure in Powell River, there is a growing community of talented musicians and artists that call this part of the world home due to its laid back atmosphere and inspiring natural setting, and a growing scene of festivals and events to showcase their talents.
In addition to the local talent, Powell River has a knack for attracting talent from around the world, no doubt due to the support and appreciation community pours into each concert, festival, or street party that fills the calendar every summer.
There are literally weekly opportunities to enjoy musicians and artists from Powell River and beyond. For travelers looking to include some of Powell River's musical and artistic culture into their vacation plans, below we have highlighted some of our more popular events every year.
- International Choral Kathaumixw
- Pacific Region International Summer Music Academy (PRISMA)
- Sunshine Music Festival
- Blackberry Street Festival
- Powell River Sea Fair
- Powell River Fall Fair
- Shopping, Galleries and Markets
Every two years Powell River is the incredibly proud host of more than 1200 international singers, conductors and choir members for a five day choral festival featuring concerts, common song singing, choral and vocal solo competitions, conductor's seminars and social events. Essentially, Kathaumixw is an international festival and celebration of different people and cultures coming together to share the common language of song, all happening right here Powell River on the edge of the Salish Sea.
Kathaumixw is a Coast Salish word that means "a gathering together of different peoples", and a more perfect phrase could not be found to describe the essence of this unique event, which not only celebrates the beauty and universality of song, but also brings people together from every corner of the world to discover and share in a grand cultural exchange.
Visit www.kathaumixw.org for complete information, including dates, ticketing information, and more.
PRISMA is, at its heart, an intensive two-week program - held every summer in Powell River - that prepares musicians and young students from all over the world for a career in music performance. Incredibly talented musicians flock to our town to work exclusively with renowned artists from the world's most respected symphony orchestras.
Throughout the two weeks, students and orchestras perform a number of concerts in Powell River for the public, including the showpiece of the event, the opening night, open-aired "Celebration of the Senses" at Willingdon Beach in front of a rapturous and excited Powell River audience.
The academy is usually held in June each year. For more information on this year's event, visit www.orchestra-academy.ca for news, concert times and locations, ticket information and more.
Image: Sunshine Coast Tourism
Each year on Labour Day weekend the Sunshine Music Festival (formerly the Sunshine Folk Festival) takes place at Palm Beach, approximately 15 kilometres south of Powell River. The event focuses on Canadian musical talent and offers a diverse and friendly atmosphere for the whole family in a picturesque beach-side setting with artesian markets, food vendors, a kids zone, and more.
The festival has been running for over 30 years and promotes up and coming local and Canadian talent with other musicians from around the world, in a family friendly setting and environment that has been a cornerstone of the Powell River music scene now for three decades.
For more information please visit www.sunshinemusicfest.com
The Blackberry Festival is an annual week long celebration in August of those delectable berries that grow in abundance in Powell River during the summer months.
Each day of the festival holds different events - from live music, to Arts Alive in the Park at Willingdon Beach, to the Festival of Lights firework display - culminating with everyone's favourite, the Street Party! The Open Air Market holds a Blackberry Baking Contest and special Blackberry games for kids, while local businesses, bakeries, and breweries make Blackberry specialty drinks and desserts throughout the region in celebration.
The highlight event of the week long celebration is the Blackberry Street Party. This event attracts thousands of people to Marine Avenue for music, dance, games and blackberry delights of all kinds, all in a festive and family friendly friendly atmosphere that is synonymous with the Powell River community.
Image: Sunshine Coast Tourism
One of the oldest fairs of it's kind in Canada, with over 40 years of operation, Seafair is a three day festival of rides, entertainment, vendors, fireworks, parades and competitions focusing on the Willingdon Beach area of Westview in Powell River, including bathtub races, amusement rides, many vendors booths from local businesses, and much more!
Sea Fair is a Powell River institution, and one of the most eagerly anticipate events in the area's social scene for adults and children alike. For more information check out www.powellriverseafair.ca
Sometimes the best way to experience a location and get a feel for a place when you are on vacation is to rub shoulders with locals in their day to day lives. Powell River has a huge range and varieties of local farmers, artists, musicians and artisans that get together every weekend in the summer at Paradise Valley Exhibition Park and hold an old-fashioned, country style farmers market with scores of local vendors selling produce, plants, baked goods, soap, honey, woodcrafts, jewelry and other handcrafted goods.
This all culminates in mid-September when the fall harvest is celebrated in an epic Fall Fair, where the Farmer's Market is transformed from a busy market to a bustling fair with animal and produce contests, music, games and rides, great food, and a huge increase in the number of vendors selling everything from produce to a wide range of homemade and artesian goods.
For more information about the Farmer's Market and Fall Fair in Powell River, check out their Facebook page.
For more information on any of the above festivals and events, please contact the Powell River Visitors Bureau.
With such a large population of artists, musicians and artisans, Powell River is naturally home to many stores, galleries and markets where these people can show off and sell their fantastic wares. While many boutique shops and galleries are waiting to be found, and the walls of our local restaurants and coffee shops are full of incredible local artwork, we've listed a couple of must-sees below.
Open Air Farmers Market
As mentioned above, the Powell River Farmer's market is every Saturday during summer at the Paradise Valley Exhibition Park. As well as fresh produce, a wide variety of local artists and artisans have booths selling everything from jewelry and t-shirts to handmade yew bows and medicinal plants in a rustic, outdoor, country market setting.
Tug Ghum Gallery
Local artist Debra Bevaart uses strong coastal imagery to create incredible stone carvings inspired by local wildlife and landscapes, as well as representing over 40 other local artists in her gallery located in the Lund Hotel at the northern end of Highway 101. Mostly using a single block of stone, Debra has an amazing ability to capture the form, look, essence, and some even say the spirit of her subjects, and creates much of her work on-site in the gallery while you shop.
Check out some of her work here.
Artique Art's Collective
Located on Marine Drive in Westview, Artique is a collective gallery that showcases the work of close to 30 different local working artists and artisans in a wide range of materials including watercolours, oils and acrylics, textiles, stained glass, leather work, sculpture and more, in what is probably the widest selection of local art and artists in Powell River.
Check them out at their website here.
Powell River Edible Garden Tour
In August each year, the Powell River Edible Garden Tour showcases a number of edible gardens from Saltery Bay to Lund and is a great way to see how people in the Powell River region are producing their own food and learn about all kinds of food growing in a backyard setting.
C Facebook page heck out their Facebook page for more info about this years participating gardens and dates.