Port Alberni’s Five Acre Shaker may have grown from five acres to 32, but the annual music festival is staying true to its roots.
History, Vancouver Island culture and music will come together for one weekend from Friday, Aug. 10 to Sunday, Aug. 12 for the Five Acre Shaker, held at McLean Mill Historic Park.
Organizer Lance Goddard calls it, “Vancouver Island’s most unique music and arts festival.”
Goddard held the first Shaker on his private property in Beaver Creek as a memorial for musician Zakkaree Coss, who was killed in car accident in 2013. Zakkaree’s family formed the Zattzoo Project, running a battle of the bands competition for musicians under the age of 25 with the proceeds of the Shaker. Winners receive prizes such as studio time, merchandise and a spot at the Five Acre Shaker.
“The money goes right back into the bands,” said Goddard. “It’s kind of like a full circle.”
This year’s winner of the Battle was Port Alberni’s Sean Lyons, who will be performing at the Shaker on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Quadra Sound, who won 2017’s competition, will also be returning for another performance.
Along with a multi-stage lineup of musical talent, the Shaker will have multiple vendors to browse through, activities like volleyball, giant beer pong and a dunk tank and a Wellness Area that will feature daily workshops including yoga, drumming, and meditation.
Other perks include “misting tents” to cool off and charging stations for phones. Local brewery Twin City Brewing will have a special ‘Shaker Session Ale’ and ‘Run of the Mill’ on tap all weekend, and sponsor Cariboo Brewing will also have a tent and a full service cocktail bar under the 1929 restored water tower.
As for the biggest change in this year’s event, the Five Acre Shaker is entirely open to families, after a survey showed that the majority of festival attendants were open to a family-friendly Shaker.
“We’ve had intentions since day one to open this up to families,” said Goddard. “This year we have all the right stuff to mitigate having underage people here.”
A kids’ area, featuring bouncy castles and nightly outdoor movies, will require adult supervision. Kids under 12 can get in for free, and kids under 15 will require a guardian to come through the gate with them.
“It kind of regulates itself,” said Goddard. “Parents get to be the parents. It just makes for a better, fuller festival for the weekend.”
This will be the Shaker’s fourth year. Goddard said he never expected it to grow as much as it did.
“I like to shoot for the stars,” he laughed. “To actually see it all come to fruition, it’s really awesome. The only reason we are where we are now is because of our volunteer team, the community’s support, our local government and McLean Mill, for seeing the vision we had and allowing us to use their historic site.”
Campsites opened at McLean Mill in late July, with powered and non-powered RV sites and tenting sites. Group camping is also available.
Tickets for the Shaker, and for camping, can be purchased in advance via fiveacre.tickit.ca and at independent Port Alberni retailers Cloud City Apparel and Twin City Brewing. Tickets will be available at the gates on all three days.