This article contains the following information about Symphony Splash:
Symphony Splash in August
Symphony Splash is one of Victoria’s premier summer events. It takes place on the first Sunday in August, so on August 4th in 2019. It should have happened on August 2nd in 2020, but it got cancelled that year because of COVID-19. The event isn’t happening in 2021 either. Hopefully it can run in 2022!
The highlight and primary focus of the event is the evening performance by the Victoria Symphony Orchestra. There are also a couple of other performances plus food trucks, a beer garden, market vendors and kid-friendly activities. The evening finishes with a short display of fireworks.
Where Does Symphony Splash Take Place?
Symphony Splash takes place in and around Victoria’s Inner Harbour which is located in the heart of the city in front of the Parliament Buildings and Empress Hotel. The orchestra performs from a barge in the harbour.
The fireworks blast off from in front of the Ocean Pointe Hotel on the other side of the water. Family-friendly activities are held on the lawns at the side of the Empress Hotel. The beer garden is usually on Belleville Street across from the Royal British Columbia Museum and market vendors sell artisan products along the Lower Causeway by the water.
When is Symphony Splash?
Symphony Splash is an annual event that happens on the afternoon and evening of the first Sunday in August (which is also the BC Day Long Weekend).
The beer garden, food trucks and family-friendly activities start in the afternoon. An orchestra or other type of band performs once or twice during that time.
The Victoria Symphony Orchestra arrives in a marching procession at around 6:30 pm or a bit before, and they usually begin their main performance at around 7:30. The orchestra finishes around 9:30 to 9:45 at which time the fireworks blast off. By 10 o’clock everything is finished and the crowds pack up and go home.
What to Expect at Symphony Splash
At Symphony Splash you can expect to see thousands of people in their lawn chairs along the waterfront. Thousands more sit on blankets and chairs on the lawns in front the BC legislature.
In the afternoon families with young children take in the kid-friendly activities on the Empress Hotel’s lawns and adults quench their thirst in the beer garden. Crowds also pack the area around the food trucks as dinner time approaches.
In the lead-up to the main festivities, crowds wander up Government Street to check out the shops. Other ways to pass the time are a visit to the Night Market or a stroll around the Inner Harbour. Some event-goers simply enjoy the views and chat with their friends.
By about 7:00 pm Victoria’s Inner Harbour is packed! Every inch of empty lawn space is and crowds line the waterfront. At 7:30 the music begins.
The concert by the Victoria Symphony Orchestra is wonderful! It’s a fabulous orchestra and the setting is beautiful. The music goes on for a couple of hours and then the fireworks begin. Fireworks are especially nice when accompanied by music, and exceptional when accompanied by live music performed by a professional orchestra.
Lasting for only about three or so minutes, the fireworks at Symphony Splash are beautiful, but short. They make a wonderful ending to an exceptional day of music and family-friendly activities.
Tips and Advice
Below are some suggestions to help you make the most out of your Symphony Splash experience on the August Long Weekend.
TIP #1: Take your own chair or blanket to sit on, plus something warm to put on after the sun goes down.
TIP #2: If it’s a hot day, be sure to take a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and lots of water. There’s not a lot of shade at the Inner Harbour.
TIP #3: You’ll need to arrive REALLY early if you hope to set up your lawn chairs at the edge of the Inner Harbour anywhere near the stage on the barge. Some people go in the wee hours of the morning to claim the best spots. By the afternoon it’s not impossible to still find a fairly prime spot, but close to it.
TIP #4: If you arrive by 6:00 pm you’ll likely still find lots of good spots to set up your chair or blanket on the lawn in front of the Parliament Buildings. You might not be able to see the orchestra, but you’ll still be able to hear them nicely.
TIP #5: If going early to claim a spot with your chairs and/or blanket, take a good book to read, friends to talk to and even a game to play (especially if you have children) while you wait.
TIP #6: If you go with a few people, leave someone behind to watch your stuff while you go and explore (and then do the same for them of course). The market at the end of the Lower Causeway is quite extensive and offers lots of interesting things to buy and admire. Government Street is also interesting for shopping and just a few blocks up the street there is the Bastion Square Market with even more artisan vendors selling their creations.
TIP #7: Don’t attend the Symphony Splash just for the fireworks. Go for the music and general atmosphere of the event. The fireworks are great but only last for a couple of minutes.
About the Victoria Symphony Orchestra and Splash
The Victoria Symphony Orchestra is, as the name suggests, a symphony orchestra based in Victoria, BC. Founded in 1941, it’s an impressive orchestra for a city of Victoria’s size.
Symphony Splash is a fundraising event for the Symphony. As a result, expect to see lots of volunteers with donation boxes and cans wandering around the site asking for donations. All funds raised benefit the Orchestra and its various programs.
To learn more about the event see the Symphony Splash website.
For a list of other concerts performed by the symphony see the Victoria Symphony Orchestra website.
To learn more about the organization behind the event see our article about the Victoria Symphony.
For a list of events at other times of the year, see our Victoria Events Calendar.
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