Toronto-based street performer Hockey Circus takes a volatile approach to Canadiana at a performance at Five Corners Saturday as part of White Rock’s inaugural buskers festival. Aaron Hinks photo

White Rock buskers fest invitation to Semiahmoo First Nation withdrawn

Committee members say they decided an opening ceremony would not be in keeping with informal event

An invitation to Semiahmoo First Nation to participate in an opening event for Saturday’s inaugural White Rock Buskers Festival was withdrawn two days before the event.

Chief Harley Chappell confirmed Monday that an organizer had contacted him “about a month” before the festival asking SFN to contribute.

“We were… asked to open this, do a traditional welcoming and share some of our traditional song and dance,” he said.

However, Chappell said when he called back Thursday “to confirm everything was a go,” he was told “we were cancelled.”

Festival organizing committee member Moti Bali confirmed to Peace Arch News Tuesday that he had initially reached out to Chappell about an opening event and had subsequently informed him that plans had changed.

“The committee had decided that we were just having the busking – there was no official opening at all,” he said, noting no political figures or community leaders were asked to take part.

“Even (MP) Gordie Hogg and (MLA) Tracy Redies were not invited,” Bali said.

City cultural development manager Claire Halpern – also a member of the committee, a subcommittee of the city’s cultural advisory committee – acknowledged Tuesday that an opening ceremony had been discussed as the organization of the event – co-sponsored by the White Rock BIA and the White Rock Players Club – progressed.

It had been decided it would not be in keeping with the informal theme of the event, she said.

“We wanted it to be organic, all about the on-street busking,” she added. “We just decided it wasn’t a good event for any kind of opening ceremony.

“It came down to the fact that we wanted it to be like in Europe, where you might come upon buskers performing in a square or public space – we wanted that vibe in the uptown (area),” she said, noting the only formal element was opening remarks by Mayor Wayne Baldwin at the ticketed stage show Saturday night at the Coast Capital Playhouse.

Bali said he had originally felt that an SFN presence would be a good contribution to an opening of the festival.

“Harley was very willing to do this, he wanted to bring his family and provide prayers and traditional dancing,” he said.

Asked if the cancellation of SFN involvement surprised him, Chappell said “it does and it doesn’t.”

“As part of the local community, it’s always customary or protocol to acknowledge the local First Nation,” he told PAN.

While “a lot of people are catching up” with that protocol, some continue to lag behind, he said, noting that “traditional territory… doesn’t abide by municipal boundaries.”

Just Posted

Surrey mom says Liberal budget falls short in helping people with autism

Louise Witt, whose son has autism, says budget provisions like ‘putting a Band-Aid on a cancer’

South Surrey mother guilty of second-degree murder in death of daughter

Lisa Batstone ‘took seven decades of Teagan’s life’

Surrey RCMP release sketches of sex assault suspect after woman ‘groped’ in Newton

Police say the woman got away but the suspect allegedly followed her to her front door

Missing Surrey woman ‘located and safe,’ police say

Kayla Amy Smith, 30, who was reported missing last month

‘Scrappy’ Cloverdale team rallies but falls short in bid for B.C. hockey championship

In the end, Colts placed third in the province at top-tier Bantam tournament in Prince George

STRONG, PERSEVERING AND PROUD: Surrey Pride celebrates 20 years with biggest party yet

PART ONE: A special series on the past, present and future of our LGBTQ+ community

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Boy who went missing from park remains largest probe in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

Six ‘distraction thefts’ in two days spark warning to seniors by Vancouver police

Distraction thefts are used to steal jewelry off the necks of unsuspecting women

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Protective human chain forms around B.C. mosque for Friday prayer

Vancouver Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

WATCH: Popular Glow festival faces cancellation in dispute over farm land

Langley’s Darvonda Nurseries received a compliance assessment notice from the ALC on March 5.

B.C. fire department offers tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

With wildfire season getting closer, the Penticton Fire Dept. offer tips to keep your home safe

Most Read