Five events to catch at this year’s Indian Summer Festival

Amjad Ali Khan & Sons with Sharon Isbin: Strings for Peace. Photo by SuvoDas.

The Indian Summer Festival is an annual festival of arts, music, and ideas. According to its website, its programming “is rigorous and quirky with an appetite for experimentation, deep thinking, and curiosity… We offer a model for dialogue, a possibility for an inclusive community that is unafraid of striking up conversations—both cheerful and difficult.”

The 9th annual edition of the festival runs July 4-14 at various venues in Vancouver. See below for five events we think are worth checking out, including a concert, a stand-up comedy show, and a presentation that asks: “Are we deranged?”

Opening Party (July 4 at Roundhouse Community Centre, 181 Roundhouse Mews)—In keeping with the festival’s 2019 theme of Tricksters, Magicians and Oracles, the Roundhouse will welcome jugglers, fortune tellers, and musicians along with the usual lineup of local chefs. These include representatives from My Shanti, Blue Water Cafe, Tayybeh, Jamjar, Bodega on Main, Medina, Ancora and La Glace.

5×15 (July 5 at Roundhouse Community Centre)—Five speakers, including travel writer/essayist Pico Iyer, present 15-minute talks. Other speakers include blues singer/creative writing professor Arthur Flowers, novelist Eden Robinson, writer Kamal Pandyam and pollster Shachi Kurl.

Author/essayist Pico Iyer is at two events with this year’s Indian Summer Festival, July 4-14. Brigitte Lacombe photo.

The Great Derangement (July 10 at SFU Woodward’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 W Hastings St.)—Are we deranged? Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh posits this question in his 2016 non-fiction book The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable, in which he argues that future generations may well think so, given our failure in the face of global warming. In this presentation, Ghosh charts the complicity of fiction in shaping the priorities and consumer choices of the world we have created.

Strings for Peace (July 12 at Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, 6265 Crescent Rd)—In this rare concert, Amjad Ali Khan and his sons perform with three-time Grammy Award-winning classical guitarist Sharon Isbin. Regarded as a master of classical Indian stringed instrument the sarod, Khan is one of India’s most celebrated classical musicians. Isbin and the Khans will present a range of music, from Spanish work for guitar to ragas and folk tunes.

Hari Kondabolu (July 13 at Vancouver Playhouse, 600 Hamilton St.)—The Brooklyn-based comedian, writer, and podcaster has performed on The Late Show with David Letterman, Conan, Jimmy Kimmel Live, John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up Show, @Midnight & has his own half-hour special on Comedy Central. His Netflix special is Warn Your Relatives (2018). In 2017, he released his documentary The Problem with Apu, which looked at the stereotypical Indian character on The Simpsons.

For more information and tickets, visit


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