Festival Afloat 2023

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About the Festival

Festival Afloat is a paddle-powered music festival and educational offering that brings together allied businesses and impassioned community members. Our goal?  To raise funds and awareness for Indigenous Nations who are in court to protect the ocean and keep our coast clean!

Festival Afloat is back — grab a paddle for Indigenous Justice!

This summer,  RAVEN is hosting a series of on-the-water and on-land benefit concerts to raise money for access to justice for Indigenous communities. All floating shows are viewable from shore, or paddle up to the sailboat stage by canoe, kayak or SUP. Spread a blanket or throw down a boat in support of Indigenous-led environmental justice!

Festival Afloat 2023 is supporting:
Heiltsuk Nation's Step Up for Coast Heroes

Heiltsuk Nation is taking Kirby — an oil shipping company — Canada, and British Columbia to court. In the wake of the  catastrophic Nathan E. Stewart spill that spilled toxic fuels into Heiltsuk's marine harvesting areas, this Title case aims to enshrine Indigenous stewardship practices into law to toughen regulations about fossil fuel transport and protect marine ecosystems for future generations. 

By attending Festival Afloat, you’re supporting Heiltsuk Nation to make sure that orcas, salmon, otters — and the coastal communities who care for them — continue to thrive.


Featuring Desiree Dawson and HK (AKA Higher Knowledge)

Featuring Saltwater Hank and Dagger Harbour

Our first year started with just one show, but it planted a seed that has continued to blossom! That seed burst open in 2021 and 2022: Festival Afloat has raised over $140k with concerts happening all over!

Join us this summer to keep the dream afloat!

Supported by a grant from the Indigenous Priorities Fund, held within the Salt Spring Island Foundation.

Featured Artists, Storytellers, and Knowledge Keepers

July 7th, Desirée Dawson

Desiree Dawson — Vancouver, Jericho

Logan Staats

Logan Staats — Victoria Event Centre


HK (Higher Knowledge) — Vancouver, Jericho

Deanna Lewis

Deanna Lewis — Vancouver, Jericho

Renee Layla Bio photo

Renee Layla — Salt Spring Island & Pender Island

Chris Arnett

Christopher Arnett — Salt Spring Island Sailings


Dagger Harbour — Gabriola Island

Christine Hunt

Christine Hunt — Salt Spring Island Sailings

Luke Wallace

Luke Wallace — Salt Spring Island

Saltwater Hank

Saltwater Hank — Gabriola Island

Ryan McNally

Ryan McNally — Gabriola Island (w. Saltwater Hank)

Danny Bell

Danny Bell — Gabriola Island (w. Saltwater Hank)

Tall Ship Sailing Adventures

RAVEN's fabulous sailing cruises return for another year! Hop aboard the Providence Tall Ship with RAVEN staff and Indigenous knowledge keepers.

This year the Tall Ship Sailing Adventures will launch from Vancouver, Gabriola Island, Salt Spring Island, and Pender Island.

Join us for a 3-hour tour full of learning & wisdom on the magical waters of the Salish Sea!

Get your Tall Ship Sailing Adventure tickets here.

Stories from Festival Afloat

Peach and Quiet perform on the Providence Tall Ship

Peach and Quiet: A last minute addition to Festival Afloat, and it was a beautiful thing

On the sixth and final day of RAVEN’s Festival Afloat 2023, due to unforeseen circumstances, we found ourselves without a musician to perform on Pender Island. Luckily, our brilliant crew and new friends aboard the…

Festival Afloat 2023 Spotlight: a conversation with Hip Hop artist, Higher Knowledge

If you happened to catch us at Festival Afloat Vancouver on July 9, you’ll know that the show was opened by an incredible hip hop artist, HK aka Higher Knowledge! With a crowd of nearly…

Festival Afloat is Back!

In its fourth year, Festival Afloat is back — so grab your paddle for Indigenous justice! GET TICKETS at raventrust.com/paddle If you aren’t in one of the spots where Festival Afloat touches down, you can…

Festival Afloat 2023 is Presented by

Prince of Whales 2

2023 Sponsors

coastal bliss (1)
Jericho Sailing
Dog Mermaid
Gulf Island Sea Planes
Capital Daily Logo

Thank you to our partners

providence logo
Silva Bay
mill bay

Changing the Landscape, One Victory at a Time.

“It’s not every day that we come across an organization such as yours that would assist First Nations with such a cause as ours. Mahsi cho for all your efforts and RAVEN for providing fundraising and support to the Peel Land Use Planning court session. It has been an honor to work with you on this initiative.”

— Chief Roberta Joseph, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in

"We are the legal agents in this world. We all have the opportuntiy to practice law: sometimes that's done by standing with Indigenous Peoples and working with them in direct ways,  but also it means in some instances providing resources to help Indigenous Peoples as they're raising their voice. And so, providing resources is actually a practice of law. It's a custom that can be used to put us in relationship with one another."

— John Borrows, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law, University of Victoria

"One of the upsides of these fights is that they have created the wonderful opportunity to bring an awful lot of good people together. And as we move forward into our history, our coalitions our alliances are becoming a lot more broad based, and collectively we are taking ownership of the fact that this is our home. And our home is worth defending."

— Saul Brown, Heiltsuk Reconciliation Negotiator