Downtown Courtenay is definitely going to look just a little different this June 4th to 7th. At first the change might be gradual to the casual observer. Wednesday night will be filled with ideas through “WordPlay” and “Pecha Kucha”.Thursday eve the change will intensify with “Delinquency, “The Tribal Cafe” and “Voices of Fire”, a fiery conversation series at the local Art Gallery.


Come Friday Eve it will become abundantly clear that something unusual is afoot with cranes rolling onto the street, alleys closing up, art installations being constructed, DJ’s playing, shows at local pubs and cafes, and volunteers and artists hustling and bustling with stages, tents and scaffolding.


On Saturday the alleys, plazas and Duncan Ave in Downtown Courtenay will be a whole new world with Underground Art, Extreme Crafts, Circus, Art Projects, Shadow Puppets, Portals and Pop Up Parks, Performance Art, Improvised Rock Operas, Slam Poetry, Installations, an explosive Hip Hop showcase, Street Dance Parties, DJ’s, Kids Crafts, Live Fire Performance and a whole lot more.


It’s all part of the 3rd Elevate Arts Festival, presenting over 200 artists and performers, free of charge, to a both an unsuspecting public, and an audience of culture lovers keen to see the 3rd year manifest itself.


“The Elevate Arts Festival is a really inspiring undertaking.” Says Co-Producer Meaghan Cursons. “It’s all about breaking down barriers between culture producers and culture consumers and coming together to create a truly accessible event that helps us to re-imagine our downtown, and our community. The synergy between artists, businesses and local organizations is phenomenal. And this year, the creative juices have really ramped up with installation art projects, pop up parks and other surprises. “


Elevate is also about embracing under-represented talent in our community. ”We’ve really made a point engaging diverse ages and genres this year. We’ve got Evergreen seniors “Heartstrings Band” and the “Happy Gang” ukulele ensemble and then at the other end of the age spectrum we have a the “Detonation” hip hop showcase, the Delinquency emerging artists event, DJ’s and indie rock bands,” says Kera McHugh, Co-Producer.


The visit to the Elevate website is a must. The sheer number of performers and artists involved means that a little research is seriously advised. You can explore by performer names or by projects and see how performers and artists come together for showcases, street parties and other collaborations.


“It’s a lot like a fringe festival’, says Co-Producer Anna Rambow. “Check out the schedule, grab a pen and map out your day to make the most of it. With over 15 venues the choices are crazy. Or just jump in with both feet, wander the venues and see what happens!”

give and take

The Elevate Arts Festival is produced by a volunteer consortium of local professionals, community organizers and animateurs. The event is also dedicated to directly engaging audiences leading up to and during the event. The website offers a list of ways you can get involved creatively right up to the weekend, through poetry , photography, art projects and more.


“We really encourage folks to not be passive spectators – for this event and in our community in general. This is not about sitting in a lawn chair all day.” Says Co-Producer Bobby Herron.  “It’s about exchanging ideas, music, art and inspiration with others and fueling inspiration to create more, change more, live more.  We do this out of a love of community and optimism about our potential. We hope people feel that.”


For the full schedule, performer bios, community partners and more go to

Elevate Poster 2014

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