Surrey Fusion Festival 2012

Surrey Fusion Festival. Photo: Tourism Surrey

Metro Vancouver’s multiculturalism is on display at the annual, free Surrey Fusion Festival this weekend, July 21 – 22, 2012.

A huge festival that attracts 60,000+ people every summer, the Surrey Fusion Festival is part music festival—the 2012 line-up includes performances by Los Lobos, Good for Grapes, two-time JUNO award nominee Jeremy Fisher and multiple world music fusion groups like Ranj Singh and The Discriminators and Delhi 2 Dublin—and part multicultural fest, featuring 38 “cultural pavilions” that let you experience food and culture from around the world.

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Surrey Fusion Festival 2012

ExplorASIAN Festival 2012: May’s Month-Long Asian Arts & Culture Fest

explorASIAN 2012: Balinese dance at the Gong! The Gamelan Festival. Photo: Gamelan Gita Asmara

May is Asian Heritage Month, which means the annual explorASIAN Festival returns to Vancouver for a month of fantastic Asian arts and culture events, from May 1 – 31, 2012.

Organized by the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society (VAHMS), explorASIAN 2012 has a packed schedule of events, starting with the Generation One art exhibit on May 1—a showcase for Asian-Canadian artists and emerging artists who are first generation Canadians—then kicking into high gear on May 4 with The Magical Encounter Opening Gala, a “Pan-Asian and inter-arts gala” that includes visual arts, Japanese and Chinese music and dance, Persian ballet, and Uighur belly dance.

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ExplorASIAN Festival 2012: May’s Month-Long Asian Arts & Culture Fest

Celebrate Vaisakhi Day 2012: Vancouver Vaisakhi Day Parade & Surrey Vaisakhi Day Parade

Every spring, Sikhs around the world celebrate Vaisakhi Day, a day that marks both the New Year and the anniversary of one of Sikhism’s most important events, the establishment of Khalsa in 1699 and the first Amrit ceremony.

In Greater Vancouver, there are two major Vaisakhi Day celebrations to choose from (or, heck, you can go to both): the Vancouver Vaisakhi Day Parade on April 14, 2012, and the Surrey Vaisahki Day Parade on April 21, 2012. Both celebrations include parade floats, live performers, and free food, generously donated by local community businesses.

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Celebrate Vaisakhi Day 2012: Vancouver Vaisakhi Day Parade & Surrey Vaisakhi Day Parade

Talking Stick Festival 2012 Starts February 20

Talking Stick Festival 2012

The 11th annual Talking Stick Festival returns next week with a roster of city-wide events celebrating Aboriginal performance and art. The festival features a range of national and international Aboriginal artists, and includes live music, dance, theatre, multi-media, storytelling and performance art.

Taking place at venues across Vancouver—primarily at the Roundhouse Community Centre in Yaletown and The Cultch—Talking Stick Festival 2012 has a packed schedule of performances, theatre, workshops, and artists’ talks spanning February 20  – March 5, 2012.

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Talking Stick Festival 2012 Starts February 20

Vancouver LunarFest 2012 – February 1 – 5

Undersea-themed lanterns at CIBC LunarFest Vancouver. Photo: CIBC LunarFest

If you think the Chinese New Year / Lunar New Year festivities end with the annual Vancouver Chinese New Year Parade on January 29, think again. Back for its fourth year, the free CIBC LunarFest Vancouver continues the Lunar New Year celebrations with five days of food, activities, kids’ workshops, theatre, and a phenomenal lantern display from February 1 – 5, 2012.

Created in 2009 to become a Vancouver Winter Olympics Legacy event, LunarFest bills itself as “Canada’s premier presenter of contemporary expression in Asian arts and culture.” Among its many events is the return of the Lantern Aquarium—a fantastic undersea-themed art and lantern installation—to the Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza.

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Vancouver LunarFest 2012 – February 1 – 5

World’s Most Celebrated Flamenco Artist Comes to Vancouver January 21

Noche Flamenco's acclaimed Soledad Barrio. Photo: Laura Murray Public Relations

When it comes to authentic, riveting flamenco, it doesn’t get better than the world-renowned Spanish flamenco company Noche Flamenca and their star Soledad Barrio, arguably the world’s most celebrated flamenco artist. The winners of audience adoration, critical praise and multiple dance awards, including the National Dance Project (2006 & 2009), the Lucille Lortel Award for Special Theatrical Experience (2003), and annual awards from the National Endowment for the Arts since 2007, Noche Flamenca garnered a large following in Vancouver after a sold out, standing-room-only engagement during the 2009 Cultural Olympiad.

This month, Noche Flamenca and Soledad Barrio return to Vancouver by popular demand to perform at UBC’s Chan Centre, in partnership with the 2012 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, for one night only on January 21, 2012.

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World’s Most Celebrated Flamenco Artist Comes to Vancouver January 21

Winter Solstice Lantern Festival – December 21, 2011

Winter Solstice Lantern Festival at Vancouver's Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Photo: Secret Lantern Society

Among the many holiday celebrations happening in Vancouver this December, there is one event that stands out from the rest: the 18th annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival on December 21, 2011.

Rooted in the primal celebration of nature’s rhythms, rather than any specific religion, the Winter Solstice Lantern Festival commemorates the longest night of the year—the winter solstice—and honours the return of the sun with lantern processions, drumming, music, and fire.

Organized by the Secret Lantern Society, this free festival takes place on the same day—December 21—in five different Vancouver neighbourhoods: Commercial Drive, Yaletown, Granville Island, S.E. False Creek, and Chinatown.

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Winter Solstice Lantern Festival – December 21, 2011