Delight in the Sweet Sounds of Summer at VanDusen Botanical Garden’s Concert Series

As one of the city’s most charming and extensive green spaces, VanDusen Botanical Garden is truly a special place. This summer, VanDusen welcomes visitors not only to marvel at thousands of different plant species and varieties, but also to enjoy four distinctive and lively concerts.

VanDusen Botanical Garden, located in Shaughnessy on Vancouver’s Westside, boasts 55-acres of diverse flora, making it one of the most popular and beautiful locations in Vancouver.

The Concerts

VanDusen has just announced Sweet Sounds of Summer, a concert series that will run July 14 and August 18, 2024.

The series consists of four individually-ticketed concerts. The artists reflect multiple genres as well as perform music that will appeal to all ages and speak to the gorgeous natural surroundings.

July 14 will begin with a performance (10:30am-11:30am) by Modern Biology (Tarun Nayar), who combines his education in biology, his knowledge of Indian raga, and his love for music to create unique sounds (suited for all ages). His concert will cause you to contemplate the natural world as he harnesses biochemistry to tap into plant vibrations, weaving them with music from self-constructed synthesizers.

The second concert of the day (3:30pm-4:15pm) will be Clementine & Friends, a group that will particularly appeal to those 1 to 5 years old and their family members. The group, accompanied by guitars and banjo, sings affectionate and infectious folk songs that encourage audience participation like humming and stomping. Musical influences include East Coast ditties and Acadian culture.

Photo: Clementine (aka Jess)

The two concerts on August 18 offer equally entertaining musical experiences. Ginalina & One Big Family will perform from 10:30am to 11:15am (suited for 3 and up), charming you with optimistic tunes that are perfectly suited to a summer’s day. The five-piece band plays guitar, banjo, ukulele, bass, guzheng, and percussion, making for a multifaceted sound.

Photo: Ginalina

Finally, Kutapira (“sweetness” in Zimbabwe’s Shona language) will wrap up the concert series on August 18 from 3:30pm to 4:30pm. Their show (suitable for all ages) is a dynamic mix of Afro-Cuban and West African percussion and Zimbabwe marimba. Kutapira’s dance music, which incorporates musical influences like samba, hip hop, and reggae, will have you joyfully moving in no time.

Photo: Kutapira

Vendors and Activities

In addition to the concerts themselves, Sweet Sounds of Summer will feature tasty food options, a book vendor, and activities. Grab a bite from a food truck such as Bistrot Van, Planted Love, or Melt City Grilled Cheese (August 18 only) and enjoy a picnic on VanDusen’s Great Lawn.

The Secret Society of Books (9:30am to 5pm both days) will be parked at the Garden for browsing your next summer read, and the VanDusen Botanical Gardens Association (VBGA) will have their Education team at a Discovery Table (9:30am to 5pm both days) to teach you about plants, trees, and birds. As well, you can take part in activities like karaoke and dance classes with Vancouver Performing Stars (July 14, 9:30am to 5pm), Chorus and Clouds Art Making (July 14, 2:30pm to 5pm), and an Instrument Petting Zoo with West Side Music Together (August 18, 9:30am to noon).

What to Explore at VanDusen Botanical Garden

Even better, a ticket to the concert gets you access to the Garden for the day, so before or after your concert, you can explore to your heart’s content. In July and August, so much will be in bloom, including roses, fuchsias, hibiscus, and hypericums.

Some key features of VanDusen to check out include the Elizabethan Maze, where you can playfully get lost. You can also view the maze from an observation deck if you prefer not to venture into it.

Another must is a visit to the Stone Garden, with volcanic rock arranged to make a striking landscape. Next to it is the second highest point in the city. In addition, visit the Scottish Shelter, made of local basaltic rock, which is found in the Heather Garden.

There are also a wide variety of other gardens, including a Woodland Garden, Canadian Heritage Garden, and Mediterranean Garden. Lakes and ponds are found throughout VanDusen with different walks/pathways for leisurely meandering. See here for a full map of VanDusen.

Ticket Info

Tickets for each concert are $24 per adult, $22 per senior 65 and up, $12 for children 1 to 12 years old, free for children under 1, and $20 for VBGA Members.

PLEASE NOTE: each concert requires a separate ticket. As well, there is no formal seating, so you are encouraged to bring a low chair or blanket for your al fresco concert (runs rain or shine).

Further information on VanDusen’s Sweet Sounds of Summer Concert Series can be found here. Tickets are limited so don’t delay in order to avoid disappointment. The link for tickets is here.

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