Universal Word Festival for youth aims to unite Surrey groups, citizens

SURREY — If anyone in the city knows how to get politicians, youth groups, bands, business people and every day citizens to come together to talk about the spoken word, it’s Terrance Evans.

You could even say the sense of community felt after the pro-literacy event is universal.

For a third year, Evans, along with the A.C.M.E. Arts Society – a non-profit agency for young people involved in the arts – is putting on the Universal Word Festival. This year, the festival will be held at the new city hall’s Centre Stage and atrium on Thursday, Nov. 13.

"What I get out of it is I get to see community and kids really impressed with the event itself and what the kids can do," Evans told the Now.

The event is aimed at having youth (ages nine to 25) perform poetry, spoken word pieces, raps and more. Young performers at this year’s festival include youth band She Dreams in Colour and a Richmond-based youth group performing spoken word to music.

Along with Evans, Miss Teen Surrey Sierra Pilcher will be emceeing the evening.

"Honestly, it’s an awesome atmosphere once it’s going on," Evans assured. The organizer also said the event will be catered by Church’s Chicken and provide tons of loot from sponsors such as Science World, London Drugs, Target and Old Navy.

And just to prove that literacy doesn’t only affect children, even local MLA Bruce Ralston will be performing a rap.

"I don’t know of an event that I’ve gone to, heard of, or seen that encompasses business community, kids, politics and media," Evans said.

There will be a minimum of $100 worth of prizes for anyone who gets up and reads, he added. "It’s not three winners out of each category," he said. "Everyone who gets up and reads will get something."

Admission to the Universal Word Festival is by cash or food item donation, with proceeds going to the Surrey Food Bank. The event begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 13 at Surrey City Hall. Visit Universalword.ca for more information.


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