July 25, 2022
Haida Gwaii is ready to rock with a little help from BC Ferries
Edge of the World Music Festival runs Aug. 5-7 and boasts rocking acts on a professional stage that’s being transported thanks to BC Ferries Community Investment program
VICTORIA – To travel to Haida Gwaii takes planning and time. The territory of the Haida Nation, the island chain sits 170 km off the coast of northern British Columbia, and visitors must fly in from Vancouver or take a seven-hour ferry trip from Prince Rupert.
Consider, then, the challenges facing organizers of the Edge of the World Music Festival, which is held annually at the Tlell Fall Fairgrounds on Graham Island in a region better known for fishing and kayaking. While they work to feature local artists, the mainstage headliners — as well as music fans — often travel from across BC and Canada, arriving in a small, rural community that has one general store, zero ATMs and fewer than 200 residents.
But as AC/DC warned fans and musicians alike, “It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ’n’ roll.” In the case of Edge of the World, you can take that literally.
Sheri Disney, the festival’s sponsorships coordinator, says the professional stage and associated equipment for the three-day event will be coming all the way from Abbotsford in the Fraser Valley, and that’s thanks to BC Ferries, which is providing free passage for the crew and the trucks carrying the gear as part of its Community Investment program.
“It’s quite a journey… just to give the festival the big, grand feel that we would like,” Disney says. “The support this year is huge. That in-kind contribution is going to save us almost a thousand dollars each way for the ferry” plus providing passage for a car and driver. For a big-hearted but relatively small festival with a corresponding budget, that makes a difference, she says.
“It’s extremely important. Everything either has to come through with dollars or through in-kind contributions [like from BC Ferries]. Every bit of it helps.”
BC Ferries says its Community Investment program “identifies social investments that make a difference in the communities in which we operate” and focuses on promoting sports and arts events. Running for 15 years and devised to engage and support BC coastal communities and the employees who live in those areas, the program supports approximately 500 requests annually.
“We’re really pleased to be able to help Edge of the World,” said Janet Carson, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Marketing and Customer Experience. “Being part of and supporting our coastal communities is important to BC Ferries and I can think of few better ways to give back to them than helping such a vibrant music festival.”
Edge of World, in a place that has been called “one of Canada’s most historically, culturally, and geographically unique areas,” began small in 1978, then continued for about a decade before taking a nine-year break that ended with a revival in 1995. Since, EOTW has attracted thousands of music fans each year to listen to the likes of headliners and radio regulars such as the Sam Roberts Band and Said the Whale.
Disney — who’s also a realtor on the island and owner of Sheri’s Place, a café — says organizers aim to bring in better-known crowd-pleasing acts while also providing opportunities for emerging artists to develop their performing chops in front of an appreciative audience.
“Variety is one of the goals,” she says, adding, “It’s a super unique experience and the locals and visitors alike have such an amazing time.”
This year, Edge of the World, which runs from Aug. 5 to 7, boasts a varied lineup that includes: Born Ruffians, Twin Flames and Old Soul Rebel, among other artists.
The latter group — guitarist and powerhouse vocalist Chelsea D.E. Johnson, and singer and electric banjo player Lola Whyte — are repeat performers at EOTW this year, having previously brought their soulful, hard-rocking sound to Haida Gwaii.
“Edge of the World festival is hands-down one of our favourite festivals of all time,” says Whyte, a Squamish resident. “There is such a carefree attitude that permeates the entire weekend.
“It is an archipelago covered by a lush, chimerical temperate rainforest, sitting in the Pacific Ocean. If hanging out in heaven isn’t your thing,” she adds, “don’t go.”
Looking to get to Haida Gwaii and be part of Edge of the World? BC Ferries Vacations can help get you there. Packages available at bcferries.com.
Read more about the 2022 Edge of the World Festival, including the lineup of performers and information on how to buy tickets. If you plan to attend the festival, organizers encourage you to sign the Haida Gwaii Pledge. Read more about BC Ferries’ Community Investment program.
“The [BC Ferries] support this year is huge… Everything either has to come through with dollars or through in-kind contributions [like from BC Ferries]. Every bit of it helps.”
“Edge of the World Festival is hands-down one of our favourite festivals of all time. There is such a carefree attitude that permeates the entire weekend.”
BC Ferries, Media Relations
Victoria: (250) 978-1267
Victoria: (250) 978-1267
Toll-free: 1-888-BCFERRY (1-888-223-3779)