March 01 - 31
12:00AM - 10:00PM

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Come Play & Stay in the Heart of the Island this March!


March in Nanaimo – a time of new beginnings, the start of cherry blossoms and of course, Festival Nanaimo and Nanaimo Bars!

FESTIVAL Nanaimo is a multi-dimensional community festival that takes place in Nanaimo throughout the month of March each year.  The 5th Annual Festival Nanaimo is about exploring Nanaimo, through a variety of activities that include great shows, dance, theatre, visual art, heritage & mystery events, culinary art with whisk(e)y, bacon & bevy tastings and of course Nanaimo Bars galore!  Then walk off the Nanaimo Bar treats with a walk down the trail of one of the many beautiful parks or picturesque waterfront!


In addition to the 10 Signature Events (below) that will knock your socks off we have a variety of activities for all ages. Check them all out on

  1. March 8th you can discover your favourite whisk(e)y at Crimson Coast Dance’s 17th Annual Wee Tipple Party at The Grand Hotel. The evening, as always, offers a range of whiskies from blends to single malt scotches. It is an evening of sophistication with a splash of humour.
  2. Rock on!!! March 9th we take you to the Stairway to Heaven with the Vancouver Island Symphony’s homage to Led Zeppelin! The Jean n’ Classics Band joins the exceptional VIS musicians on stage to bring you favourite rock staples like, “Dazed and Confused”, “Kashmir” and other Zeppelin classics. Imagine over 50 musicians playing Stairway to Heaven – come sing-a-long.
  3. March 10th, This is going to be sizzling! Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba presents CUBA VIBRA! Direct from Havana – here is your chance to enjoy the music and dance of Cuba – from the 1950s to today. Hot and colourful – a perfect evening to let you escape on a mini staycation and get the Havana vibe deep in your soul! Come feel the heat!



  1. If you are a fan of TV’s “The Voice”, then you will love this show! The Award-winning COUNTERMEASURE is in Nanaimo on March 13th! Countermeasure is the fresh face of Canadian a cappella, known for their upbeat sound, sophisticated harmonies, and infectious energy. They perform hits from Cole Porter to Britney Spears – eclectically awesome! To open up the show, Nanaimo’s Tidesmen, a 65-voice men’s chorus will perform. You are in for a TREAT!
  2. Bacon!!! Did that get your attention? March 15th is the Bacon & Bevy Event! This is a brand new food and drink event in Nanaimo and we know it is going to be a hit. Beban Park Social Centre is the spot for the event – just follow your nose though – bacon beckons! This fabulous evening features some of Vancouver Island’s very best craft breweries, cideries and distilleries accompanied by a tasty selection of smoky, porky treats! Doors open at 6 and the appy tasters from 7 to 9 pm. DJ on site too – to get some fun tunes in from 1970 to 1990.
  3. From Bacon to the Blues in one night! March 16th is David Gogo’s 50th Birthday Blues Bash! David brings his musical friends to celebrate with him on stage – David Vest, a Maple Blues Award winner who is an authentic, Southern-bred boogie-woogie piano player, blues shouter and world-class entertainer; Ken Hamm is also on stage, his playing is influenced by early blues recordings and a love of old timey music, we will get to experience a varied repertoire of original and traditional songs ranging from metalguitar driven hardedge blues workouts to softer dobro and banjo pieces. This BLUES EXTRAVAGANZA has a pretty cool 50th birthday party host, Terry David Mulligan, of Mulligan Stew and MUCH Music! And of course there will be CAKE! Happy Birthday David Gogo!
  4. Everyone is Irish on March 17th! So come celebrate with the award winning Derina Harvey Band from Newfoundland – yes an East Coast St. Paddy’s Party this year at Festival Nanaimo on a Sunday afternoon where the party with the band moves from the stage to the Port Theatre lobby – if you chose! Wear your green and come hear this amazing band!
  5. A new take on Happy Hour! Check out Symphony SoundBites on March 21st – a one hour symphony show for the young at heart! Come enjoy Appetizer Bites before the 5:30 p.m. performance and network with your friends or come to the 7:15 show and join the musicians for dessert. This show features J.S. Bach’s extraordinarily famous Goldberg’s Variations.
  6. Are you a Joni Mitchell Fan? Well this show is one not to be missed! Circle Game: Reimagining the Music of Joni Mitchell is a Port Theatre Spotlight Series presentation and takes place on March 22nd. This Arts Club Theatre production was the winner of the 2017 Ovation Awards for Outstanding Professional Production and Outstanding Music Direction. Come hear Mitchell’s iconic songs such as “Big Yellow Taxi,” “River,” “California,” and “A Case of You” through the ears and eyes of a new generation, connecting to the politics and world we know today.

Mateys – Festival Nanaimo is not complete without the 5th Annual PirateFest Family Fun Day Join other pirates at Country Club Centre, our PirateFest Headquarters, on March 29th! Kids are encouraged to come dressed as their favourite pirate! Check out the directions of Festival Nanaimo’s PirateFest page. There will be crafts, games, entertainment by Vesta Fire and the ever popular pirate parade! It all happens 10 am to 1 pm at Country Club Centre.

Festival Nanaimo is most grateful to our Title Sponsor for the last four years McDonald’s and to our Signature Partners: The Port Theatre, Tourism Nanaimo, Nanaimo Hospitality Association the Nanaimo Airport and the Vancouver Island Symphony.

Check out a complete listing of events at


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