Sun, Music and Beer: The Phillips Backyard Weekender


Major love to the AMAZING experience that was the first night of the newly expanded Phillips Backyard Weekender, hosted by Phillips Brewery and Atomique Productions. If you went, you know I’m talking about the vibe, the people, those gorgeous blue skies, delicious beer, and the internationally acclaimed lineup that blew. your. mind! If you DIDN’T go, this is what happened on Friday night…

IMG_8587(Photo Credit Sylvia Tennant)

The Phillips “backyard” magically transformed yet again from brewery parking lot to what is quickly becoming my favorite outdoor venue in Victoria. The new layout made beer lineups quick and focused the party around the loading-dock stage (one of my favorite features). Early-bird partygoers caught the fine musical talents of local boys Mindil Beach, who kicked off the evening with a set list filled with impressive new material, including their latest single “Love Like Mine”. Mindil Beach was followed by Australian musician Kim Churchill, who swooned us all with his folk/rock summer vibes.  The energy of the crowd picked up and then exploded into the funkiest dance party of the night, courtesy of Five Alarm Funk. Their stage presence and ability to get everyone (even the security guards) dancing was incredible to watch.

IMG_8507(Photo Credit Sylvia Tennant)

As the sun set, anticipation grew for those infectious heartbeat rhythms that everyone knows the words to. The Original Wailers are true legends of reggae, and gave many in the massive crowd a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Strangers hugged, clouds of smoke rose to the stars, and people sang and danced their hearts out. Five Alarm Funk was invited to play with musicians who likely were some of their idols, and the party exploded. One of my favorite moments happened just before “No Woman, No Cry” when featured guest Judy Mowatt (one of the Threes singers who sang with Bob Marley in the 1970’s) spoke these words: “They say that when you train a man, you train an individual. When you train a woman, you train a nation.”  The Original Wailers ended the night with an incredible show that I felt lucky to be at, and solidified the Phillips Backyard Weekender as one of Victoria’s top outdoor music parties of the summer.




Day 2 of the Weekender could be summed up in two words: DANCE PARTY. Born from the magic that is Sweatshop Union, Vancouver duo Pigeon Hole delivered hip hop beats that pulled the crowds into what became a massive dance pit. Delhi 2 Dublin kept the people jumping, shaking, and moving with a high-energy set that I noticed has evolved from bhangra beats and Celtic fiddle to a incredible range of genres, all fit for an evening of trying not to spill your beer while dancing your heart out.


Sanjay Seran of Delhi 2 Dublin

My favorite show of the night was definitely The Funk Hunters. Their full band, incredible vocalists, and downright sexy music had the sizeable crowd bouncing to the beat. Balloons soared, lights flashed, and people stayed put for the musical epicness of Holy F**k, who proceeded to hype the party harder than I personally thought was possible. If you didn’t have your friends, you made new ones. If you didn’t have a beer, the line up was short because everyone was dancing. There was not a frown to be seen, and a true summer party was had by all.



The third day stole the show with magical performances by Budos Band, Shad and Charles Bradley. It’s a rare treat to watch a band that has no vocals and Budos captivated the crowd with their wonderful and much anticipated set. “Budos are like an American muscle car tearing through a time portal to deliver the most badass 70’s them song ever” – Neil Cook-Dallin of Righteous Rainbows of Togetherness. Shad had the entire venue singing along to his music, filled with passionate and deeply insightful lyrics, reaching out to the masses like a preacher at a sermon. He moved across the stage, speaking to every crowd member almost individually. Shad was truly moving.



“Chalres Bradley will remove your heart, caress it in his hands and then put it back stronger than it will ever be” – Jon Williams of The Zone 91.3

That man can sing. He can dance. He evokes unmistakably deep emotions during his set. You’re his best friend and lover at any given moment. Never have we seen a band and performer with that kind of stage presence since the late James Brown, who Bradley impersonated for much of his career. Three costume changes and impressive dance moves that we would have a hard time imitating, Charles Bradley not only has one of the last true voices of soul-funk, he is a performer like no other. Consistently thanking the crowd, taking time to reflect on stage about his life and almost in tears at times, Charles Bradley is in our top three performances of all time.

Mr. Charles Bradley

Mr. Charles Bradley

Make sure to mark the  Phillips Backyard Weekender in calendar for next year this was one seriously epic summer weekend that’s not be missed! We definitely give the weekender a DOUBLE HIGH KICK!


Day 1 & 2 by Sylvia Tennant


Day 3 by Betty


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