Did you know that in 2008, Surrey was named the Cultural Capital of Canada? It’s a prestigious title and one we’re extremely proud of. It put Surrey on the map as a creative cultural centre, and more importantly, it promotes cross-cultural sharing and builds awareness, understanding, and community pride.
If you’re lucky enough to have your visit to Surrey coincide with the annual Surrey Fusion Festival, be sure to make time to head to Holland Park and join in the celebration. This kaleidoscope of culture is a true feast for the senses and a perfect way to soak up Surrey’s diversity in one colourful weekend. The festival was named ‘Best Festival’ at the annual Special Event Magazine Gala Awards in 2014 for good reason.
The two-day celebration brings together cultural and community groups from around the world as well as more than fifty recording artists and performers. In the eight years since Fusion Fest’s conception, it has grown significantly. What began as just twenty-five humble pavilions has grown to over forty, with more being added each year. There are as many countries represented as there are pavilions.
A visit to each pavilion is an opportunity to sample authentic food from each country, learn about their economies, and discover their arts and crafts. With an award that’s given for ‘Best Dressed Pavilion’, it’s no wonder that each participating country puts a lot of effort into decorating their domain. Stepping inside each colourful pavilion is a wonderful way to travel the globe in one weekend.
Did we mention the food? We’d be remiss if we mentioned Fusion Festival and didn’t talk about the food! It’s possible to eat around the world in just one afternoon, so make sure you leave room for seconds and thirds … and fourths. The mouth-watering cornucopia of flavour alone is worth attending Fusion Fest for.
Of course, there’s more than enough fun for the little ones. The on-site Kids World includes crafts, sing-alongs, puppets, storytelling and more. There’s also a stage where performers, dancers, and musicians perform arts that are native to their country.
And, while we’re learning about the cultures of the different people who chose to make Canada their home, we must not forget the peoples who were here before us. Get a deeper understanding of the vibrant cultures that originated right here in British Columbia through education, workshops, cultural sharing and contemporary performances in the Indigenous Village and on the Siam Stage. The Indian Residential School Survivors Society will be hosting “Sharing Circles”, where the public is invited to participate in discussions with Residential School Survivors to learn first-hand about the hardships they lived through while attending the schools.
With almost 60 performers scheduled to take the stage over the 2-day festival, you are guaranteed to find an entertainer that moves you. This year’s headliners include the iconic Surrey-raised R&B duo, Manila Grey, hip-hop artist Shad, popular Punjabi singer and actor, Sharry Mann and Surrey-based Punjabi artist Zora Randhawa. Manila Grey and Shad will perform on Saturday, July 23, while Mann and Randhawa will headline on Sunday, July 24.
They’ll be joined by other powerhouse performers including XL the Band, Babylung, Golosa La Orquesta, Balaklava Blues, Curtis Clearsky and the Constellationz, Sadé Awele and Serengeti, Mattmac, Yvonne Kushe and Luv Randhawa, and dance troupes from around the world.
We think it’s safe to say that Fusion Fest is one international party that will spoil your senses, open your mind, satisfy your hunger, and ultimately rock your world. Be sure to check out their website for everything you need to know regarding the festival! And be sure to swing to say “Hi!” to the Discover Surrey Visitor Experience Team! We’ll be set up in the Canada Pavilion with all sorts of information about what to see and do around Surrey.