Special Woodstock 2019
August 18, 2019
Event website

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: "Special Woodstock" is a music festival that takes place once a year on Vancouver Island, B.C., on the beautiful 140-acre property of Providence Farm, in Duncan, BC.The date for this year’s event is Sunday, August 18, 2019from 10:00am - 6:00pm.


"Special Woodstock" was created to feature the artistic talents of people with disabilities alongside professional musicians for the island community.Founded in September 1999 by Shelley Vaags, who saw a need for a platform to be created to feature this incredible, courageous, inspiring and unique community of individuals.


Have a listen to this short video to give you a real appreciation of this event and its impact not only to those we are putting on this event for. It will have an impact on YOU.


A day filled with music and friends from all walks of life. For the past 20 years, with the help of the Lion’s Clubs of Vancouver Island and other caring community sponsors and volunteers, Special Woodstock has been providing, free of charge to everyone, a day of peace, love, and music. Featuring musicians with disabilities and popular local bands and musical groups on 3 stages throughout the property. Promoting a new understanding of the abilities of those with special needs through music. The universal language! Reminiscent and fully supported by the original, iconic Woodstock music festival and its founders in New York.


Why are we are we all volunteering to make this day amazing? This is just one of the reasons..

Let me tell you about Darren.

Darren is 28 years old. He is a tall handsome young man with big brown eyes and of slender build. Darren was born with brain damage. He couldn't talk until he was 10 years old and even then had a very limited vocabulary. He went to school but didn't communicate very well so no one was quite sure how much he was taking in. He couldn't look you in the eye because of his shyness but responded in a way that allowed you to know that he understood what you were saying.


Darren found his way to us when he was 10 years old. His mother Corrine brought him and his siblings 5, and 6 years old, to our first Special Woodstock. I asked Corrine if she would like Darren to take part on stage with the entertainment. She had her doubts that he would be able to say anything at all, so I suggested that his siblings join him. She replied that the only song that they knew was "Oh Canada". So that is what they did. Darren looked at the ground the whole time and didn't really join in until about his 5th year when he started relaxing on stage and began joining his sister on her mike. Each year after that he began to sing louder, smile at the audience and this year Darren showed up with a new guitar and wanted to do more than "Oh Canada". Darren had been practicing all year, his Special Woodstock hat next to the door waiting with anticipation for his big moment on stage. Of course, we made sure that he could perform a couple more songs.


His mother Corrine came to me over the past few years at Special Woodstock in tears of joy at seeing how much more confident he has become. She just couldn’t believe it was the same son. This year Corrine came up to me and said, "Special Woodstock helped Darren to mature and become a man."


Special Woodstock gave Darren a place to be heard. He is loved by a huge island community because they know him, have watched him grow, and appreciate him for his courage. Darren feels that love and leaves our festival with confidence and a voice which he uses to stand tall and look you in the eye when he speaks.


This is just one of many of the thousands of stories which I could share with you.

The grandmother who comes to me in tears telling me how much it meant to her to see her grandchild playing with the children without disabilities. How easily he was accepted as one of their immediate friends.


The teen who has grown up with the festival because her mom volunteered every year, who stood up in her grade 8 class and corrected a teacher who was incorrectly labeling a child in her class with disabilities.


David, hooking rugs, making cards and beading necklaces all year to sell at his table at Special Woodstock. Instead of sitting in front of the television all day.


Special Olympics gives athletes a platform, Special Woodstock gives people with musical and artistic talents the same, a platform to show their artistic talents and meet other people on Vancouver Island with and without disabilities. We all have something to teach and to learn from each other. Through the joy of music, we have found a common language in which to do that.


Special Woodstock is for everyone.


Here is a link to the schedule which is chock full of amazing performers:

© 2018 Paracor Initiative