City of Bhangra 2013/South Asian Arts Girls Team

Colourful bhangra dancers, singers, drummers, and DJs are back for the ninth annual City of Bhangra Festival. This morning saw the media kick-off of the festival and its new-for-2013 website.

City of Bhangra 2013 Media Launch-7

HSBC Bank Canada will serve as title sponsor for the second year running, with their own colourful team returning to add to the lineup (auditions and rehearsals are in the works). 2013 will see more open-air events in conjunction with City of Bhangra, making this incredibly fun and lively festival more accessible to the public.

City of Bhangra 2013/VIBC's Mo Dhaliwal City of Bhangra 2013/VIBC's Sukhi Ghuman
[L to R: VIBC’s Mo Dhaliwal and Sukhi Ghuman]

As well, the festival’s infrastructure has changed to facilitate the hiring of a festival coordinator as well as more on-the-ground support.

City of Bhangra 2013/VIBC's Mo Dhaliwal
[Mo Dhaliwal kicks off opening remarks]

HSBC is proud to partner with the Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration Society’s biggest yearly festival as their inclusive company culture comprises several diverse cultures globally. Greeting guests at the event was dhol performer Rayman Bhuller, who will proudly feature his young students during City of Bhangra. It’s hard enough to coordinate learning to play the dhol (I tried a few times during a drumming workshop held during MOV’s exhibit); imagine about 30 youngsters doing it at once!

Percussionist Rayman Bhuller
[Percussionist Rayman Bhuller]

As founder of Surrey’s Dhol Nation Academy, Bhuller is considered one of Canada’s most accomplished dhol players. Trained from a young age, he ran one of the largest schools for dhol instruction out of India, teaching about 750 kids over the course of eight years.

City of Bhangra 2013/South Asian Arts Girls Team
[South Asian Arts Girls Team]

The South Asian Arts Girls Team entertained us as well, getting the crowd in the mood for the nine-day festival, from May 30 to June 8.

City of Bhangra 2013/City of Vancouver Councillor Heather Deal
[City of Vancouver Councillor Heather Deal]

A few of the many events to look forward to include:
Repercussion + Opening Reception
May 30, 7:30 pm to 9 pm
The drums of the world will find their common ground at the Milton Fei Wong Theatre, SFU Woodward’s. Israel Berriel, Paul Bray, Rayman and Karn Bhullar, Cassius Khan, Celso Machado, Liam MacDonald, Francis James and Smokey Valley Drummers, Oscar Soto, Surrey Folk Bhangra Club and EV A-Slam round out the roster of artists. Repercussion will also be held for a second night (new for the 2013 festival) at Surrey’s Art Center on June 6, from 7:30 pm to 9 pm.

Influx at Surrey Art Gallery in coordination with VIBC
June 1, 8 pm to 11 pm
Influx with Media Arts Mehfil will take place at the Surrey Art Gallery. An evening of live music mash-ups, hip-hop dance battles, and art projections is just some of the entertainment in store. With performances by Mohammad Assani, DJ A-Slam, Sammy Chien, Tad Hozumi, Rup Sidhu and other special guests.

Bhangra on Main
June 4, 8 pm to 11 pm
Punjabi folk traditions will be heard from artists D-Sarb and Sunil Kaylan, both recognized for their musical achievements in the Punjabi music industry. Vancouver’s beautiful Heritage Hall will be the venue, with room for only 200 people.

[JCC and SIAC at 2011’s Coast Capital Bhangra Competition]

Non-Stop Bhangra
June 7 to June 8, 10 pm to 3 am
Vancouver Fan Club will host a late-night music, art, and dance event as the official art party for Downtown Bhangra. Special DJs bring beats and musical triumphs: DJ Harpz coming from the U.K. and DJ Anjali and The Incredible Kid from Portland, Oregon. The latter have been burning up Portland dance floors for a decade.

Bhangra dancers

This year’s Closing Gala is scheduled for June 8, 10 pm to midnight at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Local dance teams and DJs will perform, while several performers will show off their talent for one last time at the festival.

Visit the City of Bhangra website for more events and ticket information. Many events are free.


  • Comment by Manjot — March 19, 2013 @ 6:21 pm

    Great story and photos Ariane! Looking forward to the festival.

  • Comment by arianec — March 19, 2013 @ 7:01 pm

    Thanks, @Manjot! Hope to see you at some of the events this year. It’s been ages since I’ve seen you!

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