Art, Music, Literature, Theatre and Food!
Come celebrate! From electronic music to yoga and meditation, from dance and the arts to storytelling and food, there's something for every taste. As our communities continue to grow, we attract more and more world-class artists and artisans. From June until late October, there’s a festival nearly every weekend in the region.
On the May long weekend, the Kaslo May Days Festival celebrates its history and culture with parades, bonfires and sports competitions. Kaslo Logger Sports happens the same weekend by the lake and is a big draw for all ages.
Canada Day in Nelson’s Rotary Lakeside Park is another popular event, bringing out the community and visitors for fireworks, booths, a sandcastle contest, and—of course—cake, to celebrate our nation’s birthday.
Come the wintertime, Kaslo has two winter-themed festivals: one dedicated to Christmas, called Kaslo Lights Up, and another called Kaslo Winter in the Forest, which is exactly what it sounds like: sleigh rides, cross country skiing, live music, hot beverages and more, all celebrating winter.
Why not ring in the new year with a bracing Nelson Polar Bear Swim on January 1st, while fundraising for the Friends of Kootenay Lake and the Co-op Radio.
Arts and Music Festivals
The crossover between art and music includes the popular Tiny Lights festival in Ymir, which lures incredible music talent each year, along with spoken word, poetry and more. This festival is also a leader in environmental stewardship.
The Kaslo Jazz Festival is an iconic music festival, famous for its floating stage and world class performers. Each year, the festival launches its own stage, floating in the bay with breathtaking mountains in the background, as festival goers listen from the beach.
Across the lake, the family-friendly Starbelly Jam Festival in Crawford Bay is a captivating weekend getaway for kids and the young at heart. Camping on the beach, attending concerts day and night, and eating delicious food are all part of the Starbelly experience.
Shambhala is the world-famous electronic music festival that transforms into the largest pop-up city in the West Kootenays (near Salmo) each August. Shambhala is cutting edge in its healthy modern way of creating a space for festival goers to experience music and community together.
Nelson International Mural Festival brings artists from around the world together and showcases them in the alleys of Nelson. It is a magnificent display of colour, art forms and stories where ever you look. There is also an audio Mural Walking Tour which enhances the murals by educating you on the artist and intentions behind the murals.
Market Night, presented by the the Nelson Farmer's Market invites the entire community to come out and party in celebration of local food and homemade crafts several times during the summer in Nelson. Taking over the heart of Nelson's downtown, this market come street party is great night out. Shop and celebrate artisan makers, locally grown food producers, entertainment, food, drink and much more.
The MS Society also hosts the Taste of Nelson each fall, while the Hume Hotel invites guests to travel back in time for delicious food and drinks at Grapes & Grains in the spring.
Kaslo and Nelson have beautiful annual spring garden festivals, while the small town of New Denver holds the popular Garlic Festival, which has grown to become a huge food, craft, and garlic festival attracting thousands of visitors to New Denver each fall.
The Nelson Garden Festival
Now over a decade old and held each year on Mother’s Day, The Eco Society hosts The Nelson Garden Festival. Enjoy over 60 booths of vegetables, flowers, perennials and annuals, shrubs and bulbs. The festival is free, and is held downtown Nelson on Baker Street.
The Kaslo Garden Festival
The Kaslo Garden Festival is on the Monday of the annual Kaslo May Days Celebration. In Front Street Park, you’ll find local plants and seeds and delightful and unusual gardening crafts. There are also free workshops where you can learn about organic gardening. Other workshops include topics such as creating a bear friendly compost, and how to control unwanted and invasive plants.
The Garlic Festival happens in the fall each year in New Denver, transforming a small community with its 160 vendors, live entertainment and contests. It's an ideal day trip from Nelson or Kaslo, and the perfect opportunity to drive the Silvery Slocan Circle Route.
The region's daily events and festivals are listed on our Events Calendar. Click on the button below and filter by Category, Community or Date.