Poster with four people and an orange sun on a blue background

Poster for Beats Beyond Borders / Image via VIU Cultural Connections

October is a rough month with midterms, assignments, and cool weather kicking in. Luckily for students, there’s a new event this year: Beats Beyond Borders, organized by Cultural Connections. And it’s all about electronic dance music (EDM)!

The Beats Beyond Borders Global Electronic Music Festival is a free-admission concert on Thursday, Oct 20 in the RBC Royal Bank Plaza on VIU’s Nanaimo campus and is the second part to the Beats Beyond Borders event series.

The festival features four DJs of different cultural backgrounds: Njoki Njoki, a University of Fraser Valley student from Kenya; Astro from Romania; Bedtime Snack, an Indigenous artist from north Vancouver Island; and Nostic, a Peruvian-Canadian rapper-instrumentalist based in Victoria.

Simon Schachner, International Education’s Intercultural Program Coordinator, has coordinated large campus events for hip hop and reggae in the past. EDM was the next step.

“Electronic music is another set of genres that is global and that young people seem to respond to,” Schachner said. “And I thought, ‘What a great opportunity to do something that is appealing to international students from different countries as well as the domestic students.’”

Earlier this year, Schachner helped organize the Hub City Bounce Back, a family-friendly event put on by the Crimson Coast Dance Society. It took place in Maffeo Sutton Park on March 19 and featured both electronic dance music and a silent disco (after 9pm).

The event celebrated a return to pre-COVID community gatherings. There was a diverse turnout, with people of different ages and backgrounds attending. Unlike some other EDM “debauchery parties”, the Hub City Bounce Back was simply a group of people enjoying music together.

The event was an aha moment for Schachner. “It just brought to my attention that this kind of music can really draw a wide variety of people.”

Last Thursday, October 13th, students experienced the first part of Beats Beyond Borders: The Silent Disco/Campus Rave Parade. They walked and danced around campus, wearing glowing headsets on the same channel, playing music that only they could hear.

Silent Disco is a unique way to experience familiar surroundings, especially where there’s many structures and pathways. Schachner said, “You can experience the outdoor environments really differently than just walking through from Point A to Point B. Your environment becomes dance surfaces.”

Another advantage to Silent Disco is that people can experience music without needing permits or breaking noise bylaws. What seems like a simple walk downtown or campus tour to people without headsets is actually a little dance or “rave” parade.

Schachner’s goal with the Global Electronic Music Festival is that students feel comfortable and welcomed.

“I hope that it gives them some joy, it gives them some sense of community, that [they say] ‘Hey, it’s so awesome to have fun together as a diverse and international community.’”

The Beats Beyond Borders Global Electronic Music Festival is 5-9 pm. Along with the music, visuals will be projected onto Building 210 (the Health and Science Centre) and a food truck and licensed patio will be onsite.

What are you waiting for, VIU? Let’s bounce to the beat!




Sophia is a fourth-year Creative Writing and Journalism student. She was the News Editor for The Navigator last year. Outside of The Nav, Sophia volunteers with VIU Cultural Connections as a Peer Helper. Three things she wants to do in the future are: travel to Japan and Korea, attend a Stray Kids concert, and adopt one or two black cats.

Let's Make Things Official

Get a curated list of articles sent directly to your email once a week. It’s not delivery, its Delissio