The one-day event includes free admission, multiple stages, beer stations and all kinds of fun things to see and do. In 2022 the Shipyards Festival runs from noon until 10:00 pm on Saturday, September 23rd.
Other events happening on the same weekend this year include the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival (which includes free performances at Granville Island). There is also Riverfest in New Westminster (which is also free), Circo Osorio Circus in Tsawwassen, and the Taste of Abby fall food festival in Abbotsford. Also in Abbotsford is the Snowbird RV Show. There are a number of other fabulous events this time of year too.
To learn about what else is happening, see our September Calendar of Events. (As the forecast for the weekend of September 22nd to 24th isn’t looking good, you might also want to check out our article about Vancouver Rainy Day Activities.) For details about the Shipyards Festival, however, continue reading.
Shipyards Festival in Lower Lonsdale
The Shipped Waterfront Festival celebrated its inaugural year in August of 2018 and it was a terrific event. Renamed the Shipyards Festival, it happened again in September 2019 and was even more fun, bigger and better! After a hiatus of one year, it returned in 2021 and again in 2022. In 2023 the festival takes place on Saturday, September 23rd.
If you like live music, family-friendly activities, beer gardens, stunning views, free entertainment and spending time with friends, then you’ll definitely want to check out the Shipyards Festival. It’s a great event and suitable for all ages.
Shipyards Festival Video
Below is a video of North Vancouver’s Shipyards Festival in 2019. As you’ll see, the event attracts lots of people and there are concerts and things to do all over the Lower Lonsdale and Shipyards region.
Bands at the 2019 event and featured in the video include Sister Says, Hayvn, The Boom Booms and the Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer. The entertainment lineup in 2023 includes SonReal, MiiNa and Sol among many other artists.
Where and When
The Shipyards Festival takes place in North Vancouver by the waterfront in Lower Lonsdale. In 2023 it happens on Saturday, September 23rd. The live entertainment and activities run from noon until 10:00 pm.
The Lower Lonsdale District of North Vancouver is one of the region’s most popular and interesting places. It’s home to Lonsdale Quay, the Polygon Gallery, SeaBus terminal, the Shipyards and numerous great bars and restaurants.
Located just a 15-minute SeaBus ride from downtown Vancouver, the Shipyards are where you’ll also find the Pipe Shop, Tap & Barrel Restaurant, Shipbuilders’ Pier, and the Lower Mainland’s newest and largest outdoor covered public plaza. Also in the area is the MONOVA Museum. Other great restaurants in the neighbourhood include The Lobby at the Pinnacle Hotel and Pier 7 on the waterfront, plus many more.
What to Expect
At the Shipyards Festival you can expect to see lots of people having fun. The event attracts families, young adults, seniors with their grandchildren, tourists visiting from abroad and locals from across the Lower Mainland.
At the event you’ll see child-friendly entertainment, folks ages 19+ enjoying drinks while they wander around, and bands performing on the various stages. There are also food vendors, market vendors and kids’ play areas.
If you visit Lonsdale Quay and the Shipyards on a weekend in the summer, depending on when you go, you might see a farmers market, artisan vendors, food trucks or people doing yoga in the plaza by the SeaBus terminal or out on the pier. You might also see a band playing in Shipbuilders’ Square, art on display and people just wandering around and enjoying the place.
At the Shipyards Festival you can expect to see most if not all of the above, plus a whole lot more, and much of it happening all at the same time!
Expect to have a blast at the festival! And apart from the food and market items for sale, most of what you’ll get to do and see is free! It’s such a great event and the bands are phenomenal!
Live entertainment happens pretty much all day at the Shipyards Festival. Most years bands play on both the Shipbuilders’ Stage and the Shipyards Common Stage as well as a couple other places. Kid-friendly entertainers also perform at set times in the afternoon on the Family Stage.
2023 headlining acts are SonReal, MiiNa and Sol, while other top performers include Tourist Company, Garret T Willie, Mikey Jose, Noxious Obs Society, Michaela Slinger, and many more.
The schedule for each stage is listed below. (Note: Exact details are subject to change.)
Shipbuilders’ Square Stage
Bands performing on the Shipbuilders’ Stage in 2023 include the following:
- 12:30 pm – Clara Sanchez
- 2:30 pm – Raw Honey
- 4:00 pm – Ayla Tesler-Mabé
- 5:00 pm – Norine Braun
- 6:00 pm – Michaela Slinger
- 7:00 pm – Riun Garner
- 8:00 pm – MiiNa
Shipbuilders’ Square Stage is usually in Shipbuilders’ Square where the Shipyards Night Market used to take place on Friday evenings in the summer.
The stage in the square is a permanent outdoor structure that’s between the Pipe Shop (where the festival’s artisan market takes place) and the giant yellow crane. It’s also right beside the Tap & Barrel Pub and across the plaza from the Pier 7 Restaurant.
Shipyards Commons’ Stage
Groups playing on the Shipyards Commons’ Stage in 2023 include the following:
- 12:30 pm – Cara Bateman
- 1:00 pm – Ruthie Ha
- 1:30 pm – Emilyn
- 3:30 pm – Eagle Ex Machina
- 4:30 pm – Lady Sincere
- 5:30 pm – Noxious Obs Society
- 6:30 pm – Garret T. Willie
- 7:30 pm – Sol
- 9:00 pm – SonReal
Shipyard Commons is the covered plaza at the Shipyards. Located just a few steps east of Shipbuilders’ Square near the start of the pier, it was completed in the summer of 2019 and is a wonderful venue. It’s huge, under shelter but still outside, and the acoustics are surprisingly good for concerts.
Car Free Day Stage
Groups performing on the Car Free Day Stage include the following in 2023:
- 12:00 pm – Logan & Nathan
- 1:30 pm – Glisha
- 2:15 pm – Dani Camacho
- 3:00 pm – Adam Mah
- 5:00 pm – The Project Vancity
- 6:00 pm – Devours
- 7:00 pm – Tourist Company
The Car Free Day Stage is likely located in Carrie Cates Court, which is where the Car Free Day event takes place on the same day in North Vancouver.
Entertainers performing on the Family Stage in 2023 include the following:
- 12:00 pm – Katie Brock
- 1:00 pm – Mike Battie
- 3:30 pm – Katie Brock
- 4:00 pm – Mike Battie
Shipyards Festival Concert Video
To give you an idea of what one of the concerts looked like in 2021, check out the video below. It shows scenes of the performance by the band Bedouin Soundclash which is based out of Toronto.
The biggest concert of the night was with Bedouin Soundclash. That group was one of the festival’s two headliner groups and the last one for the day. The concert by The Zolas that same year was just as impressive and took place just before this one. The concert by The Zolas, however, took place outdoors in Shipbuilders’ Square, not Shipyard Commons (which is the covered area where the concert in the video took place).
As you can see in the video, the concert by Bedouin Soundclash was impressive! The festival was the first major music festival in the Lower Mainland since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the venue was packed. It was so much fun!
What’s In the Area?
There is a lot to see and do in the Lower Lonsdale area even when there isn’t a major festival going on. There is the world-famous public market at Lonsdale Quay, the Polygon Gallery and Shipbuilders’ Pier. All are free to explore (or by donation in the case of the gallery).
Also in Lower Lonsdale are dozens of great restaurants and interesting shops. It’s a beautiful place to walk around, enjoy a coffee, have a meal, treat yourself to an ice cream and simply hang out. The Lonsdale Artisan Farmers Market also takes place on Saturdays between May and the end of September (so it will be happening at the same time as the Shipyards Festival).
Lonsdale Quay is also connected to downtown Vancouver and Waterfront Station via the SeaBus which makes it a fabulously convenient location.
For more information about the event, see the Shipyards Festival‘s official website.
To learn more about the area, check out any of the following:
For information about other events elsewhere in the Lower Mainland, check out the following:
- Vancouver’s September and October Calendars
- Metro Vancouver Festivals & Events
- Shows & Entertainment Calendar
- Free Events in September
- Free Events in October