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Butchart Gardens summer music series delivers

Surrounded by natural beauty, and with an open air stage and a lawn filled with people and families on blankets and lawn chairs, the Butchart Gardens offers one of the best live music venues in Victoria.

Entertainment in the Gardens goes back a long way, with a history of variety shows and musical revues. For the past 16 years now, Butchart has employed the current format, ensuring live entertainment every night of the week for nine weeks of summer.

For 2017, 64 different musical acts are taking to the stage. Arts and Entertainment Manager Craig Moddle said he tries to get a wide variety of acts into the summer lineup. He starts by looking for a headliner for the summer, a more widely popular act people know well. Then he’ll look at what acts are touring this summer and reach out to those, along with scheduling local bands and musicians.

Moddle said he likes booking acts he finds interesting, passionate and/or unique, and doesn’t try to stick to any particular genre.

“It’s really all over the map,” Moddle said.

This summer’s headliner is Ricky Skaggs and the Kentucky Thunder, a multiple Grammy winner and a well-known name in the bluegrass and country communities. Skaggs, a virtuoso mandolin player who once played on stage with Bill Monroe at the age of six, is beloved for his breakneck speed bluegrass and his downhome country music. He’ll be taking the Butchart stage August 16.

Moddle is also looking forward to an act billed as Solo on August 9. Solo is a Quebecois supergroup of sorts, the coming together of two popular acts Le Vent du Nord and De Temps Antan. It will be a night of Quebecois music that will inspire your feet to get moving.

“That’ll be one of those you-won’t-be-sitting-still nights,” Moddle said.

A returning favourite from last year’s series is 10 Strings and a Goatskin, a high-energy trio from PEI that plays Celtic-influenced traditional music.

“They came out here last summer and knocked my socks off, knocked the audience’s socks off,” Moddle said. “They’re three nice young guys who are just full of music.”

Other notable names set to grace the stage include The Bills, Jim Byrnes, The Midnights, Jesse Cobb and Qristina and Quinn Bachand.

Enhancing the beautiful setting and the incredible music, is a sound quality that rivals anything in town, said Moddle.  “If you want to listen to music, we are one of the best places,” he said.  For a full list of acts and for tickets visit butchartgardens.com.

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