October 10, 2008


Surrey is the second largest city in BC and one of the fastest growing communities in the nation. A high percentage of the population inflow is made up of new immigrants to Canada, with quite a few coming from the Indian subcontinent. When Surrey decided to have a festival to celebrate its multicultural makeup, particular attention was paid to this community. In a brilliant move by the city of Surrey, both the Prince of Honour and the crown prince of bhangra headlined the first day of festivities.  Bhangra, a dance form that originated in the Indian state of Punjab, has gained immense popularity worldwide for its energetic style and accompanying music beats.

Holland Park, located just across the street from the Central City complex, was the site of the first Fusion Festival. Music and food from around the world were enjoyed by the public. I had some venison purchased from a First Nations food stall and then wandered over to the main stage to watch KS Makhan perform. After he left, the crowd waited in anticipation for Surrey's own Jazzy B to arrive. After entering to much fanfare, the bhangra superstar kept up the pace throughout the night, demonstrating some slick dance moves in the process. Rows of chairs had been set up in front of the stage and this prime real estate was occupied by children and the elderly. The mass of humanity that had been standing on the edges of the seating area far outnumbered those with seats. They started to slowly creep forward. Sensing that the show was nearing its end, the pace of encroachment increased. Soon enough, the sitters had all vacated the area near the stage and the rest of the crowd closed in. The tempo and the number of rhythmically moving hands in the air increased dramatically as the night drew to a deafeningly loud close.