Sending Summer Off with a Bang: Megaphone kicks out the jams with the Victory Square Block Party

The crowd chills out at the 2011 Victory Square Block Party. Photo by Kate Henderson.


Vancouver’s summer has flown by again, Labour Day weekend is around the corner and Megaphone and Music Waste are gearing up to bring you another Victory Square Block Party. The free, all-ages event runs from 2 to 9 p.m. on Sunday, September 2nd at Victory Square Park at Cambie and Hastings.


Abundant local talent, a one-of-a kind community vibe and a chance to soak up the last bit of summer without fighting for the last log at Third Beach make this downtown tradition the best way to spend the last long weekend of the summer.


The Victory Square Block Party has been a yearly fixture since 2004, bringing the community together for a full day of music, laughs, food and friends. It’s a celebration both in and of public space, where creativity and freedom of expression stake their claim in a rapidly developing, changing neighbourhood.


Now that the annual music festival is entering its eighth year, Megaphone executive director Sean Condon says the Victory Square Block Party is especially important today because it’s an occasion for diverse groups of people to gather and collectively enjoy the neighbourhood’s public space. With a steady stream of new residents making their home in the Downtown Eastside, opportunities to share space and experiences with the area’s longtime low-income residents are rare but crucial.


This year’s event will have a strong representation from the Downtown Eastside, with the Aboriginal drumming group, Blue Whistling Horse, offering up a special ceremonial opening. Local music lovers have a lot to look forward to with this year’s line-up. Headlining the event are The Ballantynes, the much-loved East Van garage soul sweethearts. The seven-piece-ensemble have quickly earned a large following for their raucously energetic live shows around town. Their big sound and dance-worthy tunes will bring the Block Party to a magical finish.


Notorious stoner rappers Too High Crew will take the stage at a fitting 4:20 p.m. Also featured are the all-girl punk rockers Love-Cuts, the off-kilter ‘sludge pop’ group Weed, Vancouver post-punks Mode Moderne and East Van garage rock staple, Indian Wars. Local hip hop legend, Manik 1derful takes the stage with guests at 5 p.m., representing another side of Vancouver’s Aboriginal culture. Johnny from East Van Soul Club will DJ and the Sunday Service’s Ryan Beil will host.


For Megaphone, the event is more than just a party, it’s a fundraiser. All proceeds from the sponsorship and raffle go towards Megaphone’s vendor program, which helps homeless and low-income people earn an income and improve their quality of life.


This year's Victory Square Block Party takes place on Sunday, September 2nd from 2 to 9 p.m. at Victory Square Park (Cambie and Hastings).

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