Nelson

Culture-rich Nelson

Arts and culture are important elements of life in Nelson, B.C.

Public art, farmers markets and historic architecture make a summertime visit to Nelson, B.C., a memorable experience.
Public art, farmers markets and historic architecture make a summertime visit to Nelson, B.C., a memorable experience. — Marie Milner photo

The elements that make Nelson a great place for current residents make it appealing to visitors as well, whether they’re tourists or potential new residents checking out Nelson’s offerings and attractions.

The city has long been known for its historic architecture, eclectic cultural mix and active outdoor lifestyle. More recently, arts and culture have taken their place among the important elements of life in Nelson. Summer is a wonderful time to appreciate  the city’s public art on display and to enjoy the assortment of music festivals that are held in the area surrounding Nelson.

Slocan City hosts the annual Unity Music Festival. — Dustin Lalik photo

More than a few festivals are easily accessible from Nelson, making it an excellent home base for the festival-goer. Here is a partial list.

The Circus Acts Insomniacs performed at Kaslo Jazz Fest 2016. — Louis Bockner Photography
  • Tiny Lights Festival is a three-day event held in June in tiny Ymir, 15 minutes from Nelson. Tiny Lights is described as a whole-town house concert, and it includes a variety of hands-on music workshops for kids and adults.
  • Unity Music Festival, billed as “the sweetest family music festival in British Columbia,” is held in July on the beach in Slocan City, one hour northwest of Nelson on Highway 6. Kids 12 and younger are admitted free.
  • Starbelly Jam, also known as Kootenay Lake Family Festival, is held in July in Crawford Bay, one hour and 22 minutes from Nelson. The drive includes a short ferry ride across beautiful Kootenay Lake.
  • Kaslo Jazz Etc. Summer Music Festival takes place in early August in Kaslo, an hour’s drive north of Nelson along Kootenay Lake. Lawn chairs and blankets on the beach, music from a floating stage and a background of sky, stars and mountains make this a gorgeous experience.
  • Shambhala Music Festival, referred to by devotees as “Sham,” is an electronic music-and-dance festival held in August on Salmo River Ranch, 30 minutes south of Nelson. This is a huge, internationally known, four-day, adults-only event. Tickets sell out pretty much immediately on release.

If you miss out on some of these festivals this summer, you can put them on your calendar for 2018. Nelson’s culture-rich ambience is an appropriate atmosphere from which to venture into festival country. 

Kaslo provides a venue of spectacular natural beauty for the annual Kaslo Jazz Etc. Summer Music Festival — Kerri Knapp Photography

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