Victoria City Council has adopted the city’s first-ever Music Strategy with the goal of making Victoria a dynamic music hub and global music destination.

The five-year initiative was adopted by Council following a presentation by the Music Advisory Committee Thursday November 4, 2021.

“I’m so excited about the Music Strategy and I love the ideas, particularly for helping youth the next generation of musicians who are off to a shaky start for the last couple of years,” said Music Advisory Committee Chair Kathryn Calder at a launch event held at Hermann’s Jazz Club’s new Upstairs venue Tuesday evening. “It takes many hours of performance opportunities to get good at what you do. So the more opportunities the better and I’m hoping this strategy will help get those opportunities out to young musicians in our community.”

Victoria’s Ryan Oliver Quartet and West My Friend provided music entertainment at the launch event.

The Victoria Music Strategy will be in effect from 2022 through 2026. The first year of funding will be focus on COVID-19 pandemic recover efforts for musicians and music organizations including increased free programming in public spaces such as parks, transit and tourism hubs and downtown public spaces, as well as hosting a music symposium to convene the sector during Canada Music Week.

“While earning a living as an artist is not easy, this Music Strategy has the power to connect people, bridge cultural divides, support the city’s tourism industry, and fuel job creation,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. “A city with a strong music ecosystem supports its musicians at all stages of their careers, drives economic value, and contributes to making places more vibrant and attractive and enhances the City’s liveability.”

The Victoria Music Strategy has five major priorities based on a study conducted by the Music Advisory Committee and music strategy consulting company Sound Diplomacy. The study included reviewing literature, round table discussions with local music industry groups, and an public survey of musicians, music industry professionals and music fans.

Victoria Music Strategy- Issues And Challenges
Issues and Challenges discovered in a study of Victoria’s music ecosystem

1. Remove regulatory barriers and create music friendly policies
The study found that access to permits for spaces such as local parks are hard to obtain. Liquor licensing processes were also found to be inadequate and confusing. The Victoria Music Strategy wants to streamline the permit and licence process for music events and reduce barriers for live music venues to operated. It also wants to explore the development of a Musician Loading Parking Permit, review the current noise bylaw, and review licensing, zoning, permits and venue policies at City, community and commercially owned spaces to find ways to increase all age show opportunities.

Another action is the “Agent of Change Principle”. That will place responsibility noise attenuation and soundproofing in the hands of new developments rather than existing businesses. The principle will help reduce noise complaints against existing venues as new condo and office towers are developed nearby.

2. Preserve existing spaces and encourage development of new spaces
Before the pandemic, there were more than 110 venues that showcased music in the capital region. Some of those venues have recently closed down. Under the Victoria Music strategy, the city will leverage infrastructure and built environment to make music accessible to everyone. This includes prioritizing the revitalization of Centennial Square and Ship Point, providing affordable rehearsal, performance and recording spots at underutilized spaces, and removing barriers to obtain permits to use spaces for music events.

The Arts on View Society recently re-opened the space above Hermann’s Jazz Club as a performing arts centre. The former nightclub and comedy club space had been sitting vacant for an extended period of time. The Victoria Music Strategy launch event was the first music event at the revitalized space.

“We’re really delighted that we can be part of the city’s Music Strategy and that we will be able to offer to musicians and to the other performing artists space such as this,” said Arts on View Board of Directors member Bert Boyd.

3. Build local capacity for artists to develop their music careers
The online survey found that more than a third of people surveyed stated that less than 25% of their income came from music. It was also found that there is a lack of accessible and welcoming spaces for underrepresented groups with an emphasis for all-ages venues. The Victoria Music Strategy is looking to take steps to expand opportunities for Indigenous led music programs, all age and youth programming in public spaces, establish a Victoria Music fund to support Victoria-based musicians, produce an annual Music Symposium to provide professional development, networking and mentorship opportunities, and explore partnerships with other cities such as Vancouver and Seattle.

4. Grow Audiences and expand access to music in all its forms
Music events don’t just happen at bars and arenas. There’s music happening at churches, community centres, backyards and parks as well. Some recommendations by the music strategy include increasing the city’s music programing budget and busker licensing program, developing an e-newsletter to promote events and music opportunities and working with business and tourism partners to program music airports, ferry terminals and attractions to showcase local artists.

5. Seek partnerships and collaborations to explore new innovative music platforms and experiences
This priority is to help the city’s future prosperity and make it an ideal place to start or grow a music business. Some steps include exploring a music innovation hub for music production, artist development, mentorship and financing, hosting a series of presentations to the community and industry leaders, and incorporating a Music Export Program to assist musicians with skill and business development opportunities.

The Victoria Music strategy is part of the Create Victoria Arts & Culture Master Plan adopted by Victoria City Council in 2017.

To see the full Victoria Music Strategy go to