PHILLIPS BACKYARD FESTIVAL SERIES
Featuring: DJ Pee .Wee, Lord Huron, Bahamas, Snotty Nose Rez Kids, JJ Wilde and more
Where: Phillips Brewing & Malting Co., 2010 Government St.
When: Friday, July 7 through Sunday, July 9
Tickets: $96.29-$122.79 daily ($276.52 for a three-day pass) from showpass.com
For all the effort and initiative it takes to pull off an outdoor summer event in Victoria, a big contributing factor is something well beyond the control of artists, audiences, or producers.
Nothing sells tickets in Victoria like a furnace-blast of heat and rays, which bodes well for the Phillips Backyard Concert Series. Tilt!, the first of two three-day instalments, gets underway Friday in the Phillips Brewing back lot, with performances from Grammy Award winner Anderson .Paak (performing as DJ Pee .Wee), Lord Huron, Bahamas, Snotty Nose Rez Kids, JJ Wilde and more. The event resumes Aug. 11-13 with Reverb, featuring sets by Fleet Foxes, Peach Pit, and Jesse Roper.
On cue, the recent run of sun has translated to a spike in sales. The festival has already sold 6,000 tickets for this weekend’s activities, and organizers hope to see another 4,000-5,000 moved out the door before the weekend wraps.
“[Monday] we had our biggest sales day since March,” said Stephen Franke, who produces the event for the Government Street brewery with co-producer Morgan Brooker. “People should plan ahead so they are not left out.”
The pedigree for success is well established. The series debuted last year in May, when Victoria had not yet fully recovered from the effects of COVID-19. The first of three 2022 two-day instalments, featuring indie rockers Future Islands, did well despite the uncertainty, paving the way for subsequent successful editions in July and August.
Brooker and Franke wanted to ensure success with the follow-up, which resulted in a very strong line-up built around substantial U.S. headliners this weekend. Canadian acts Bahamas (five Juno Award wins), Snotty Nose Rez Kids (two Juno Award nominations), and JJ Wilde (a Juno Award for rock album of the year in 2021) are also well-decorated.
“Our intention was to bring the level of the lineup to a place we’ve never had it before. We really wanted to make it a bigger and better experience,” Franke said.
Roots rockers Lord Huron had consecutive albums debut at No. 1 on the U.S. sales charts, while .Paak’s soul-funk group with Bruno Mars, Silk Sonic, won four Grammy Awards last year, including record of the year and song of the year. .Paak will perform a vinyl-only DJ set as DJ Pee .Wee, and will play live drums during his rare appearance.
To accommodate a line-up of this stature, the Phillips Brewing site has been expanded. Everything from the stage size to food offerings have become bigger this year, with additional seating and an ’80s video game arcade further adding to the creature comforts.
“We’ve increased the usability and fun factor, while trying to keep tickets at a moderate price for Victoria,” Franke said.
“We’re hoping that makes for a better user experience overall. Three weeks [last year] was a lot, especially given the set-up. We thought this was a lot more cohesive for everyone, given that summer is a busy time.”
The decision to adjust the schedule from three two-day weekend to two three-day weekends made the series more streamlined overall, Franke said. That made site functionality and advance promotion more manageable; a three-day mini festival also creates a sense of electricity in the market. Walk-up ticket sales will be strong once the first night is off the books and the fear-of-missing-out becomes a reality.
“It’s going to be a bigger party than people realize,” Franke said. “These are international acts who have made their mark all over the world, and we’re bringing them to the stage in Victoria.”