South Asian Festival on False Creek, Sawan Mela Aug 17-18

Photo credit: VIBC | Flickr

Ready for some butter chicken, Bollywood and Punjabi beat-boxers in one of the prettiest outdoor settings in downtown Vancouver?

The 10th Sawan Mela festival is coming to the Plaza of Nations on the False Creek seawall this Friday and Saturday, a celebration of all the cultures that make up Vancouver’s vibrant South Asian community.

The festival is a sensory overload of tastes, sights, aromas and sounds from the region.  An army of food trucks will be on hand, serving up butter chicken, tangy dosas and other local specialties (No word yet on whether celebrity chef Vikram Vij will bring his Indian-themed truck, Vij’s Railway Express).

Sawan Mela is also packed with live Bollywood performances, bhangra singing and dancing, belly dancers, beat-boxers and Desi-rockers. 

On Friday night, Canada’s premiere bhangra band, En Karma, will be performing their hit singles Tohar Naal Jeena, Boliyaan and the dance floor craze Tu Nach.

Headlining Friday night is music veteran Taz of the UK’s SteroNation.  He’ll perform his unique fusion of traditional South Asian music with Western pop and reggae, backed by a full troupe of Bollywood dancers.

Meanwhile, the festival’s music lineup comes to a thrilling conclusion on Saturday night.  In a special duet, renowned tabla (drum) master Cassius Khan plays alongside Pandit Salil Bhatt and his unique 20-string slide guitar.

On Saturday night, the festival also presents an outdoor screening of the classic Qurbani, the highest-grossing Indian film in 1980.  Qurbani, starring the legendary Feroz Khan, involves blackmail and revenge, an evil sister, a disco club dancer, a wily inspector and plenty of singing and dancing.

The Sawan Mela festival kicks off Friday, Aug. 17, from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.  It continues on Saturday, Aug. 18, from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.  The festival is free.  General information can be found on the South Asian Family Association website (unfortunately, there is no detailed timeline of performances).  

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