Five Must-See Acts at Victoria Ska & Reggae Festival's 25th Anniversary Edition in 2024

From June 19 to 23, the event will host Dead Prez, the Slackers, Macka B and more

Photo: Stéphane Bourgeois

BY Exclaim! StaffPublished May 27, 2024

Celebrating its 25th anniversary edition in 2024, Victoria Ska & Reggae Festival will return to Vancouver Island's Ship Point, Victoria Curling Club, Wicket Hall and Lucky Bar, with the fest running from June 19 to 23.

As always, the event will unite the forces of not only ska and reggae, but also funk, punk, dancehall, dubstep, calypso and multiple other genres that either inspired or owe their inception to the many musical movements of Jamaican culture. 

Representing multiple iterations and mutations of those genres is this year's lineup, which includes Less Than Jake, Suicide Machines, Fort Knox Five, Mephiskapheles, Chris Murray and the New Victorians, Gondwana, Mungo's Hi Fi and Marina P, Big Mountain, Antidoping and many more. Among them are Exclaim!'s five must-see acts, which you can find below. 

From one island to another, Vic Ska promises something for everyone — including kids! With the exception of 19-plus club shows, the festival is open to all ages. 

More information about festival passes and individual tickets can be found here

The Creepshow
You might not expect to see Toronto psychobillies the Creepshow on a BC reggae festival's lineup, but it starts to make more sense when you understand that the group have been pumping out the hits since 2005 courtesy of Canadian ska punk label Stomp Records. Like their labelmates, the Creepshow are known for their high-energy live shows, as well as their refusal to let their respective genres die — instead, you can expect to see death in the form of cuts from their latest studio album, Death at My Door

Dead Prez
Headlining this year's festival are the iconic Florida duo of M-1 and, better known as Dead Prez. After forming in 1996, the pair released their breakthrough debut Let's Get Free in 2000, cementing their style of militant, anti-capitalist, anti-racist hip-hop. On the precipice of that album's 25th anniversary, Dead Prez are primed to release new music in 2024 — who knows, some might even make it into their festival set!

Macka B
British dancehall veteran Macka B will be joining forces with the Roots Ragga Band in Victoria to showcase his velvety smooth vocals, honed over the course of his three-decade-plus reign as one of the UK's most influential dancehall toasters. Not one to leave kids out of the equation, Macka B's other crown jewel is his YouTube channel, where he sings about healthy eating in his series Medical Mondays — remember the "Cucumba" song?

The Planet Smashers
Montreal's own third-wave legends the Planet Smashers rose to prominence in the '90s and early 2000s — in part thanks to syncs in early-aughts youth TV series Radio Free Roscoe and Undergrads — alongside the Stomp Records roster, which featured fellow Canadians the Flatliners (then a ska band), the Expos (f.k.a. the Donuts), the Johnstones and more. Their vibrant live show has been the keystone of their tenure, with the band imbuing their ska punk with two-tone upstrokes and general debauchery. 

The Slackers
Emerging from the third-wave ska era of the late '90s, the Slackers were relative traditionalists compared to their contemporaries, leaning heavily into the rocksteady, reggae and soul palettes most prevalent in the '60s first-wave. Known to some as "the Grateful Dead of ska," the band court an undeniably loyal fanbase, whose enthusiasm and fervour for dance are as infectious as the Slackers' music itself. 

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