Virtual 2020 Riot on the Roof a Booming Success

Like every other year, the featured bands of Riot on the Roof drummed and sang and keyed the night away under the stars from the top of the parkade above the Vernon Public Art Gallery (VPAG), echoing far beyond downtown. Unlike other years, the audience listened from blocks and miles away, at home.

“Riot on the Roof has become such a fun and meaningful connection point for emerging artists and youth in our community. The musicians have the chance to perform and the audience has the chance to be moved and inspired by their sounds, so we’re so glad we were able to carry on with plans to host it virtually this year,” says VPAG executive director Dauna Kennedy.

The 12th annual Riot on the Roof shifted to a week-long virtual event Aug. 17 to 22, hosting videos and songs by bands from across the province and then culminating with the featured event Aug. 22, which featured a livestream concert from the Vernon parkade roof. Musicians included Kelowna indie-soul band Post-Modern Connection, Kamloops psychedelic rock outfit Mother Sun, and Vernon’s own singer-songwriter-producer Justin J. Moore.

“The bands all said how great it was to be playing,” says Kiera Ariano, who helped organize Riot with fellow VPAG Youth Ambassador Chris Atkins. “They haven’t had as many opportunities to perform, so I think it meant a lot.”

Throughout the week, hundreds of visitors logged on to the Riot on the Roof website to watch videos, film, art creations, and performances featuring emerging BC talents. Dozens of people took in the live concert Saturday, which featured professional sound support donated by Record City.

“We were really pleased with the interaction we had throughout the week, and that night, and I think if there is a silver lining of hosting Riot virtually, it is that we got to give a platform to video artists and other virtual content. There aren’t a lot of opportunities like this, especially for youth locally,” says Atkins.

The VPAG YouTube channel will host a produced version of the main show, while Record City has also shared their unedited recordings of the full performances on their YouTube channel.

The 12th Annual Riot on the Roof was put on with critical support from Record City, Davidson Lawyers, Vernon Roofing Inc., SunFM 105.7 and Castanet.

This year's Riot on the Roof was also an opportunity to showcase and celebrate other forms of youth art, including:

  • 6 newly painted wood panels going up on display soon, painted by local artists

  • We also have the new 32-ft mural painted by Jolene Mackie in the parkade

  • A week-long projection installation featuring emerging video artists from BC and Canada.

“We are very thankful to our partners for helping us to bring the arts to youth,” says Kennedy. “Our students also did a terrific job of bringing this together for our community.”


As the largest public art gallery in the North Okanagan, the VPAG is a not-for-profit charitable organization that works to engage, educate and enrich the community and visitors in all aspects of the visual arts. With approximately 20 exhibitions per year for public viewing, the VPAG supports emerging, mid-career and established artists working in a variety of media, including paintings, sculpture, video and installation art. The gallery is also host to a number of events and art education endeavours, including its main fundraiser, the annual Midsummer’s Eve of the Arts.

For more information on Riot on the Roof, media can contact

Kiera Ariano

Vernon Public Art Gallery

Youth Ambassador


Christopher Atkins

Vernon Public Art Gallery

Youth Ambassador


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