Visual Feature | Song & Surf 2016 Recap

It was Holy Smokes’ first time attending Song and Surf, Vancouver Island's hidden winter music festival. Set in the picturesque coastal town of Port Renfrew, the 3-day event incorporates multiple indoor venues and a nightly acoustic sunset show on the beach by the fire. After having experienced its bigger sister festival Tall Tree - whose grounds lie just across the bridge from the Song and Surf site - we were drawn to see what this festival had to offer long before the line up was released. We had a blast. The festival offers a much-needed escape from the city and the monotony of winter. The music is just one element. The allure is in the scenery, the intimacy, and the sense of family. The weather doesn’t matter, rain or shine it only enhances the overall experience. We’ll be back next year.

Port Renfrew Bridge | Photo: Scott H.

Photo: Scott H.

Photo: Scott H. 

After following a string of RVs and Westys down the windy and breathtaking drive up the coast, we finally arrive in the post-card perfect Port Renfrew. Its mid-day Friday and you can feel the festival buzz in the cold crisp air. As we pull into the general store for some essentials and a much-needed stretch, a group of fellow attendees swap information over smokes in the parking lot, “First time at the festival?” “Where are you staying?” and so on and so fourth and so it begins. We learn the names of the places that will make up the Song and Surf village for the next few days: Handsome Dans, Wild Coast, Gallery House, and Homestead, these resorts will play home (or at the very least a place to shower) for the “campers” of the festival. They lay the foundation for the sense of community and family that Song and Surf nurtures. It becomes clear immediately that this is the kind of place where you can always borrow cup of sugar from your neighbour.

Yukon Blonde | Photo: Kim J.

Dougal Bain & Sam Weber | Photo: Colby C.

The three Song and Surf venues each have their own contrasting style. There’s Big Fish Lodge, a double venue whose private beach hosts the only outdoor stage; The Community Hall, which is exactly what it sounds like, with a welcoming dance floor and tented beer gardens; and the church…

Steph McPherson | Photo: Colby C.

Sam Weber | Photo: Kim J

...Oh the Church! Where parked outside you can grab a slice of forno baked pizza and a glass of fresh-squeezed lemonade before heading indoors. A vermillion backdrop and rustic pews set the stage for the likes of Steph Macpherson, Foxglove and Sam Weber. You may want both hands free of pizza and drink as you raise your arms to the sky during what feels like a religious experience, with people packed into the pews and sitting cross-legged in the aisle as the acoustics rattle the framework.

Photo: Scott H. 

Outside Big Fish Lodge | Photo: Scott H.

Man Made Lake | Photo: Colby C.

Big Fish Lodge with beach access to Anián’s hot-tub will forever hold a special place in our hearts. We have been long time admirers of the boys from Anián and love their come-up story and overall philosophy on life. Everything they have brought to the Victoria scene - from their beautifully handcrafted surfboards and clothing to their sold-out summer concert series at The Anián Yard - has been welcomed and refreshing. They teamed up with Do250 to turn a small sandy beach into an outdoor venue, knocking it out of the park with their bonfire-fueled hot tub. Hanging by the fire, looking out to San Juan Bay in February while being serenaded by bands is nothing short of magical.

Odel Fox | Photo: Scott H.


Colby C. - Video//Photos

Colby C. - Video//Photos

A big thank you to everyone who made Song and Surf such an amazing experience for us here at HOLY SMOKES. The atmosphere blew us away and there were an abundance of good times had that weekend. See you next year!

Scott H. - Photos//Narrative

Scott H. - Photos//Narrative