Many more countries will be represented at this year’s Fusion Festival in Surrey.
The expanded event, which is free to attend, will welcome 14 new cultural pavilions when it returns to Holland Park on the weekend of July 21-22.
The total number this year will be 53 pavilions, up from 39 last year, according to a release sent Wednesday by planners of the annual event.
First-time participants at the two-day festival — billed as “the largest multicultural celebration in B.C.” — will be Albania, Argentina, Brazil, England, Guatemala, Greece, Haiti, Hong Kong, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Portugal, Sri Lanka and Venezuela.
“Surrey Fusion Festival started with only 22 pavilions in 2008, and has grown enormously over the past 11 years,” said Mayor Linda Hepner in the city release.
“It’s exciting to see it continually evolve. We thank our presenting sponsor, Coast Capital Savings, and our many community and cultural groups for their continued support in providing residents and visitors with an unforgettable experience year after year.”
The theme for the 2018 festival is “influential women.”
Participants are encouraged to celebrate “inspiring or influential women and the contributions they have made to their culture through displays of music, art and crafts. First, second and third place for Best Dressed Pavilion will be awarded to the most impressive exhibitions.”
The festival’s Indigenous Village returns to offer education on Indigenous culture through music, food, art and live performances. It will feature traditional installations, including a West Coast longhouse and carved cedar canoe archway, Métis trapper tents and teepees. Attendees can also enjoy contemporary music, traditional West Coast Indigenous music and dance, powwow performances, fiddling and jigging, a Métis pavilion, First Nation and Métis artisans, carving demonstrations, Sto:lo bannock and desserts by the Bannock Queen.
The City of Surrey-hosted event was named Best Festival at the Regional Canadian Event Industry Awards in 2017, the year Fusion Festival’s 10th anniversary was celebrated. Last summer, entertainers included Nelly Furtado, rapper-producer Classified, indie-rock band The Zolas, Carmanah, Crystal Shawanda, Warren Dean Flandez and others.
This year’s festival will welcome more than 150 performers, including headliners Walk Off The Earth (on Saturday, July 21) and Ranjit Bawa (Sunday, July 22). Other featured artists this year include The Boom Booms, Brazilian capoeira performers Aché Brasil and world-renowned environmentalist Ricky Kej in a performance with Surrey City Orchestra. For more information, visit surreyfusionfestival.ca.