Where to Find Live Music in Nanaimo

From a gentle acoustic dinner accompaniment to the pounding bass of late-night club tunes and everything in between – Nanaimo’s got its finger on the pulse of the music scene!

Nanaimo has strong roots in the Jazz and Blues communities and several homegrown music artists have gone on to have national and global successes. New and seasoned artists from all musical genres perform regularly in venues across the city meaning you never have to look far to find live music to enjoy.

Numerous music festivals and events are also held throughout the year to showcase the best of a particular musical style in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

Want to get the most out of Nanaimo’s musical offerings? Below are some of the notable music festivals, events and venues that will bring music to your ears.

Festivals and Events

Nanaimo Blues Festival

This 4-day festival takes place every August at Maffeo Sutton Park. Family-friendly shows celebrate the best of Blues music with artists from near and far performing.

Nanaimo International Jazz Festival

Taking place each September, this award-winning festival is a celebration of Nanaimo’s jazz music roots. Audiences groove to three days of performances by local and international artists. 

Backyard Fest

Nanaimo’s underground music festival takes place on May long weekend in downtown Nanaimo. The festival aims to showcase hidden local talent in underutilized community gathering spaces.

Old City Quarter Summer Concert Series 

This series of free, short, outdoor concerts take place each Friday afternoon from June to September, offering even those with little time the chance to listen to a variety of musical genres and rhythms.

Vancouver Island Symphony Summer Pop-Up Series

This series of intimate concerts brings the magic of the symphony orchestra to the audience. Held in private gardens and inspiring settings, the locations are only given to ticket holders, giving a truly exclusive feel to these performances.

Live music can be found at other festivals and events throughout the year, including:

  • The Commercial Street night market, 
  • VIEX, 
  • The Maple Sugar Festival,
  • Plus, all of Nanaimo’s big summer festivals such as the Bathtub races. 


Port Theatre – Front Street. 

From headline artists to cover bands, orchestras to choirs and from global artists to local performers, the Port Theatre hosts a multitude of musical concerts and shows throughout the year and a comfortable 800-seat theatre setting.

Live Music

  • The Queens – Victoria Crescent
    • Nanaimo’s premier live music venue for local, national and international acts from all genres of music. From rock ‘n’ roll to country to Latin dance nights.
  • The Nanaimo Bar – Front Street
    • A cool and cozy venue where open mic nights, jamming sessions and traditional Irish music feature alongside local performers and cover artists. 

Dance venues / Nightclubs

Dance to the pumping beats until the early hours at these dance music venues.


Like to make your own kind of music? Be part of the entertainment at these venues which hold regular karaoke nights.

Jinglepot Pub – Jingle Pot Road



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