May 29, 2008

Desifest Vancouver 2008

Some of my friends were performing in the inaugural Vancouver edition of Desifest against the backdrop of the historic Gastown area of the city, so I commuted there using mass transit on a rainy Saturday morning. A friend of mine quipped that the Gastown setting was quite appropriate for a South Asian themed event. The free 12 hour open air festival took place on April 26, 2008. Slated to begin at 10am, it began a little over an hour behind schedule as the weather was poor and the audience sparse. At one time, I comprised 33% of it.As the weather began to improve, and the masses started arriving, the performances began to pick up steam. The crowd was well behaved and only needed the occasional reminder that this was a street festival so they did not have to stand on the sidewalks and block pedestrians from moving about.

Performers specializing in song, dance, and music from various parts of India participated. Bhangra dancing was a big part of the event, with one of the first all women teams in history, the UBC Girlz, performing a hyperactive routine, as well as an entertaining troupe of toddlers who drew considerable applause from an appreciative audience. Entouraas performed a Dandia Raas routine wearing dazzling turquoise and orange attire. Kathak and bharat natyam dances were also performed, while Cassius Khan played the tabla and sang ghazals simultaneously. The FootEdge Dance Company and Dhol Nation Academy provided quality dance and drum based entertainment respectively. I had come to support my friends and celebrate South Asian music and culture, so I did not notice the presence of any ARNABabes in the audience or on stage.