What: Glitterbomber featuring Future Islands, Bryce Vine, The Zolas, Durand Jones & The Indications and more
Where: Phillips Brewing & Malting Co., 2010 Government St.
When: Saturday and Sunday, May 14-15, 3 p.m.
Tickets: $70 daily ($125 for a two-day pass) from Showpass
Outdoor concerts will return to the Phillips Backyard this weekend, with sets by Future Islands, Bryce Vine and The Zolas kicking off six days of events through the summer at the Government Street venue.
Glitterbomber, which is set for Saturday and Sunday, will be followed in the concert series by Tilt! (July 9-10) and Implosion Explosion (Aug. 13-14). Half Moon Run, The Beaches, Current Swell and St. Paul and the Broken Bones, among others, are booked to appear at upcoming instalments. On-site capacity for each event (named after a line of beer by Phillips) is set at 4,000, which makes the summer series one of the biggest in the region.
“We’re expecting it to feel like old times,” brewery owner Matt Phillips said of his company’s return to live events. “In my mind, everything is just like it should be.”
These will be the first events in three years at the popular Phillips Brewing & Malting Co. location on Government Street, which has been used for myriad food, arts, and culture events since 2013. Plans to bring the Phillips Backyard back to life in 2021 were scuttled, with both the Phillips Backyard Double Header (Sept. 10-11, 2021) and Get Funk’d (Sept. 25, 2021) cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.
The Phillips Backyard Double Header would have been the first Vancouver Island event of its kind to require its patrons to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination before entering the venue. Phillips said he stands by his decision to cancel the events two years ago, event though he could have proceeded with specific protocols in place.
“Events, to be fun, have to be comfortable. To have it for the sake of having it, and not allowing people to be free and able to dance and play and party, what’s the point? It was going to be a letdown. The Backyard, for us, is all about celebration, and if it was going to feel like a half-hearted one, it would have been something we really regretted. I’m glad that we held off and waited for the time to be right to do it justice.”
Now that health restrictions for live events have been lifted by the province, Phillips said he expects to see a strong turnout. Baltimore’s Future Islands are an estimable live act, while California rapper Bryce Vine and Indiana soul revivalists Durand Jones & The Indications are on significant upward trajectories. Set among the beer-making machinery of the city’s largest brewery, with the site’s “gypsy wagon” pouring 32 lines of beer at a time, the Phillips Backyard has an appeal unto itself.
“For our whole staff, it’s a bit of a celebration,” Phillips said. “We love making beer and we’re passionate about making beer, but beer is more than just the drink. It’s the times that we share when we’re drinking it, and one of those times that is really special for us is the concert series we do in the Backyard. To have that back, it’s part of our culture that we’re regaining.”
Glitterbomber is the first large-scale, multi-day event in the region since restrictions have been lifted, and its anticipated success points to what is expected to be a very active summer concert calendar. Last year at this time, the region was home a single summer music festival: Langford’s All Ways Home Festival, which drew 2,000 fans to Starlight Stadium. The creators of that event, Stephen Franke and Morgan Brooker, are producing the trio of two-day events for the Government Street brewery.
Phillips said he can’t wait to see the site populated with music fans this weekend, for the first time in three years. “The crowds change depending on the event, but sometimes you see the same people no matter what. That love of music and the site itself is heartwarming.