Skip to content

Whatever you expect, SKAMpede in Victoria will surprise you

Tickets go on sale June 10 for the July 12-14 performing arts festival
SKAMpede gets in your face. (Samantha Duerksen)

By Tim Collins

SKAMpede is Victoria’s outdoor live performing arts festival and for 16 years it has maintained a constant characteristic. No matter what you’re expecting, SKAMpede will surprise you.

The shows are short, only about 10 minutes long, but they are as eclectic as you can get, ranging from physical comedy to opera. You might see some theatrical performances or find yourself enchanted by fairytale pieces that will leave you smiling in wonder.

But beyond the wide-ranging forms of entertainment that make up SKAMpede, it’s the format and venues that sets it apart from pretty much any other festival.

Eight artists /companies are distributed on Victoria’s downtown trails.

“Audiences assemble at our launch point where they can choose to try the shows on either the Songhees or the Central tours. Then they set out in groups of 12 on foot, on scooters, bikes, wheelchairs strollers or just about any (legal) form of transportation on the trails,” said Logan Swain, SKAMpede’s artistic producer.

“As they go down the paths they’ll encounter the shows and get to watch the talented artists put on a fantastic performance before moving on to the next performance, further down the trail.”

And if that format appears a bit challenging, consider that the artists on the Songhees tour have to contend with weather, seaplanes, sea otters, and more Canadian Geese than you can shake a stick at. During the Central trail shows, in the city’s industrial core, artists have their work back-dropped by the sounds of the shipyard, rowing practices, and gaggles of Lycra-clad cyclists.

“It’s a challenging set of venues, for sure, but the artists are great at incorporating their environment into their shows,” said Swain.

This year’s lineup includes shows by Embrace Arts Foundation ( Treasure?), timetheft theatre (Whale Fall), Tamarack Neurodivergent Theatre (Defending the Planet), SNAFU Society of Unexpected Spectacles (The Great Triscuit Heist), and Cowboy (Fast Bus) – all from Victoria.

The festival will also welcome 5 Stages Theatre Company (Fairy-trail Victoria) from Nanaimo and Theatre on Earth Collective (Crossroads Challenge), and Isabelle Kirouac, in collaboration with Delia Brett, Ren Prud’homme, Christopher Kelly, and Tamara Unroe (Meta/fauna) from Vancouver.

“The shows are all new short works by top performers and they combine to provide audiences with a one-of-a-kind experience,” Swain said.

Tickets for this year’s festival, which go on sale June 10, as well as full information, can be found at Swain said they will be selling tickets at the launch points but recommends people buy in advance as the tours have sold out in the past few years.

READ ALSO: Music festivals galore in Victoria this summer

SKAMpede is an eclectic mix of performances. (Courtesy Theatre SKAM)