There are many, many festivals of varying genres on Vancouver Island, especially during the fine summer months, but Comox’s Filberg Festival is one of the biggest and the best.
The Filberg, as it is locally known, brings together artisans and musicians from across Canada in a spectacular waterfront setting. It is based at the 9-acre Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park and is the largest outdoor arts show in western Canada. Four days, 120 artisans and some impressive musical talent combine to provide an uplifting, entertaining and fun event for folks of all ages and abilities, including those who require the use of wheelchairs or motorized scooters.
The sights and sounds at the Filberg Festival are many and varied. Artisans set up their tents all over the picturesque site, offering hundreds of different delights to festival-goers. Everything from exquisite porcelain to fused glass, metal work, garden art, home décor, soaps, artisan foods and clothing and thousands of other unique endeavours make an appearance. I have yet to attend without falling victim to the charm and beauty of one piece or another (and more often than not, more than one piece.)
There are a number of food vendors at the festival offering an eclectic assortment of gustatory delights, but our favourite spot to grab a bite to eat is at the Tea House (the original Filberg lodge), where light lunches are served amidst the charm and ambiance of a rustic home that dates back to 1929. Be warned, however, that there are usually line-ups for tables at the Tea House.
Entertainment runs the gamut and includes special events for youngsters. A stage set-up in a shady glade plays host to the major headliners, and offers a comfortable spot when you need a rest from walking, admiring wares and spending money. Major Canadian musical talents such as Juno-award winning jazzman Phil Dwyer (a Qualicum Beach original) and pianist Michael Kaeshammer are only a couple of examples of the high calibre of entertainment on offer. The last time we attended the Filberg Kaeshammer literally had them dancin’ in the aisles.
The exquisite beauty of the site combined with good weather – the festival is always held on the first weekend of August, running from Friday to the holiday Monday – makes for a really pleasant outing. There are several options for getting to the site – parking is always at a premium and it is best to plan ahead in this respect. Only those with handicapped passes are allowed to park their vehicles at the festival park, so be prepared to either access the Park and Ride service, or park along the roadsides and walk a distance. Some areas of the site are paved and wheelchair accessible. Motorized scooters are also regularly utilized by patrons.
The Filberg Festival is truly one of the finest artisan events on the Island. It’s a great way to truly enjoy a long summer weekend and all the beauty that the artistic world has to offer.
GPS co-ordinates are:
Lat. 49.6701462 Long. -124.9160925
N 49 40.209 W 124 54.966