POW! POP! Shimmering trails of light appear above your head and are reflected in the water below. It’s that time of year again! Each August, tens of thousands of people gather around Victoria’s Inner Harbour to experience the glittering fireworks. All set to the tune of booming classical music played live by the Victoria Symphony.

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Now in its 30th year lighting up BC’s capital city, Symphony Splash is a can’t-miss part of summertime in Victoria. But the explosive main event isn’t the only draw come August 4th. From a culinary corner featuring local food vendors to an action-packed Family Zone (complete with an Instrument Petting Zoo!), here are five reasons you need to experience this year’s Symphony Splash!

1. Jaw-Dropping Inner Harbour Views

Whether you’d like to take in the show from land or the water, Symphony Splash offers a variety of onlooker options. Book a seat in the Grandstand bleachers and enjoy the ability to come and go as you please without worrying that you may lose your spot. Perched on the edge of the Inner Harbour, it’s hard to think of a more prime locale.

If you plan to make a day of it, why not pack a picnic for the lush lawns of the Parliament Buildings? Gather up a group, grab a blanket and be sure to arrive early to snag a great spot! Want to get right in the action? Paddle up to the floating stage in a kayak or canoe!

How ever you choose to view the show, you’ll be met with sweeping vistas of the city’s glittering Inner Harbour. Grab a frosty pint of local beer at Lighthouse Brewery’s outdoor beer garden, and take in the golden hour light on the Legislature’s opulent dome. Pure island summer bliss!

Whether by land or by sea, there are plenty of viewing options to soak in Symphony Splash! Credit: Victoria Symphony

2. Unforgettable Performances

Get ready for a bit of Mediterranean flavor! The first half of the show features get-up-and-dance tunes from Roman Carnival OvertureCapriccio Espagnol along with selections from Bizet’s Carmen.

“It’s all about rhythm this year,” says Music Director Christian Kluxen. “And of course, no Victoria Symphony Splash would be complete without Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture!” he continues.

The event also highlights emerging local talent for their hand-selected Young Soloist performance. This year, Oak Bay High School ninth-grader Carey Wang will take the stage to perform Ravel’s Concerto in G Major with Kluxen in front of the 40,000 expected attendants. Wang has been studying piano since age four and has had an impressive, award-winning musical career in the intervening 11 years.

From seasoned symphony veterans to fresh faces on the stage, this year's show is sure to be one for the books. Credit: Victoria Symphony
From seasoned symphony veterans to fresh faces on the stage, this year’s show is sure to be one for the books. Credit: Victoria Symphony

3. Family Fun for the Kids and Kids at Heart

Though the sounds of the symphony may be the main attraction for grownups, your children may have different priorities – especially when they spot the bouncy castle! From 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, the pristine lawns in front of the Fairmont Empress are transformed into the TD Family Zone! Kiddos can get their faces painted, goof around with some clowns and get creative with an arts and crafts station.

Want to foster an early love of music in your little ones?

Shandra Liss, Senior Marketing Officer for the Victoria Symphony, suggests, “Join us at the Instrument Petting Zoo where children are welcomed to test out various instruments and, hopefully, become inspired to make music a part of their lives!”

No matter your age, Symphony Splash has something to keep you entertained! Credit: Hunter Hill for Victoria Symphony

4. Spectacular Anniversary Celebrations

For its 30th anniversary, Symphony Splash will be bigger and better than ever! For starters, the show will be set on a much larger floating barge than in years past. “The concert – and the Inner Harbour – will have a very different look and feel this year!” adds Jill Smillie, Director of Marketing for the Victoria Symphony.

Even the music is getting taken up a notch with some outside-the-traditional-box selections. Take a trip south of the border with the infectious rhythms of Central and South America, plus a splash of Cuban and Argentinian tunes mixed in for good measure. According to Liss, “This is the type of music that will have you dancing in your seat!”

Music Director Christian Kluxen plans to get the crowd moving with some spirited tunes in this year’s program. Credit: Victoria Symphony

5. The Grandest of Finales

It wouldn’t be Symphony Splash without a breathtaking finale. Synchronized to the striking sounds of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, the festivities culminate in a thrilling fireworks show you won’t forget. With each exhilarating boom of the song’s field gun blasts, fireworks explode high above the waters of the Inner Harbour. They are undeniably the most thrilling part of the evening.

The show builds to an incredible finale, sparkling high above the Inner Harbour! Credit: Claude Joo for Victoria Symphony

To put it plainly, Symphony Splash is the marquee event of summertime in Victoria. From the spirited music selection to sparkling Inner Harbour views, it is the perfect recipe for a memorable day spent in BC’s charming capital city!

6. Bonus – An Excuse to Get Fancy

View the show in some glamorous digs at the Veuve Clicquot Champagne Garden Party! Hosted at the Fairmont Empress, this swanky event offers the opportunity to pop a bottle of bubbly on the hotel’s beautifully-appointed front lawn with a fabulous view of the Symphony’s floating barge before you. Tickets also include a picnic basket full of gourmet treats (tomato & burrata salad, anyone?) and access to the Empress’s oyster and champagne cocktail bar. Cheers!

Feature image: Claude Joo for Victoria Symphony