Get your amp on, and head to the Five Acre Shaker music fest


Through 2018, ZenSeekers is teaming up with partners the Port Alberni region. Our correspondents will bring you exceptional video, photos and stories to inspire you to #ExploreBC and have your very own #ExplorePortAlberni adventures.

Rebecca Bollwitt (aka Miss 604)

Unzip your tent, take a stretch in the sweet forest air, walk down the lawn past the old steam engine, past the historic sawmill, hear the buzz of guitar amps receiving their charge, and get ready to rock out and take in the beauty of this unique festival site.

Welcome to the Five Acre Shaker at McLean Mill Historic Park which took the concept of a celebration - for a cause - and cranked it up to 11.

The event, in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, grew out of the untimely death of 22-year-old Zakkaree Coss.

“We had some mutual friends and I went to school with his older brother my whole life,” said festival founder Lance Goddard

Lance was helping to clear out some campsite space along the west side of the Mill property. A handful of level gravel pads had just been installed nearby, ready for RV camping.

“A mutual friend and I were sitting around a fire and just started talking about how we wanted to do something, like a memorial for Zakk. I wanted to put on an event out at my property ever since I had it, and it just made sense.”

Get ready to rock out while you #ExplorePortAlberni.
Purchase your Five Acre Shaker tickets today...

Five Acre Shaker
Photo: Chris Istace

“It was a way to use the funds that people had donated. So once that was started, the Battle of the Bands became a thing.”

Five Acre Productions and other groups within the community donate to the Zattsoo Project to fund a battle of the bands, which is open to bands and solo acts under age 25 from Vancouver Island. Zakk used to comment on how there weren’t many places for young musicians to play in Port Alberni, Kim says. For her and her other son, Dallas Ward, battle of the bands was the perfect mission for their foundation.

“They all compete for prizes, giveaways, recording time, merchandise, and first place gets to play the Shaker every year. It’s a full circle,” Kim says. Lance and Kim sported Five Acre Shaker hats and hoodies as they volunteered their time at the Mill and told their story.

Watch Five Acre Shaker on YouTube.

“That morning calm, that sense of achievement and you’re proud with every smile you see,” says Kim. For her, this is more than a festival, it’s also a legacy.

“This is exactly where this needs to be,” says Lance. Behind us, the buzz of a chainsaw can be heard clearing brush a van arrives. With the help of volunteers, the festival is helping the Mill clean up areas and put in camping sites in which they will use year for seasonal camping.

Five Acre Shaker
Photo: Chris Istace

Out of a van pops the members of Quadra Sound (from Campbell River), last year’s battle of the bands winners and performers again this year at the Shaker.

“I feel like it’s a second home to us musically because we won the competition and they just took us in basically,” one member of the band said as they set up for a private performance. “Port Alberni took us in, fostered us, and we don’t want to leave now.”

I sat on a log bench with Kim and Lance, as the twinkling market lights zigzagged up the water-tower, and imagined the festival atmosphere. The event also features yoga, a wellness area with workshops, including drumming, guided meditation and a Reiki circle.

With ample space, cool performance areas, mountains, forest, and the park’s amenities, this is exactly where the festival needs to be.

Get your amp on, and head to the Five Acre Shaker music fest
Photo: Chris Istace

If You Go

Search #ExplorePortAlberni for more travel inspiration. Be sure to tag #ExplorePortAlberni while checking out the region. You might just be featured on our social media channels!

Buy tickets to the Five Acre Shaker here.

Start planning your adventures in Port Alberni at Alberni Valley Tourism. 

Start exploring your Port Alberni region options with Destination BC.

Find out more at the City of Port Alberni’s website.

Uncover more about what the Port Alberni region offers for adventure. Check out ZenSeeker’s #ExplorePortAlberni Expedition page to see how you can have an adventure like this.

Rebecca Bollwitt is a Seekers' correspondent and award-winning blogger based in Vancouver. Follow her travels on Instagram and Twitter @Miss604.

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