Powell Street Festival celebrates Japanese culture in Vancouver

Jun 17 2016, 7:40 pm

The free Powell Street Festival, Vancouver’s annual celebration of Japanese Canadian culture, is expanding to include a block party on Alexander Street in July.

Now in its 40th year, the cultural extravaganza is Metro Vancouver’s longest running community arts festival and the largest event of its kind in Canada.

This year it takes place on July 30-31 in the city’s historic Japanese Canadian neighbourhood, which organizers wish to acknowledge as unceded First Nations territories.

Festival goers will now be able to enjoy entertainment on two stages in Oppenheimer Park and on Alexander Street, as well as activities and exhibitions at Firehall Arts Centre, Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall, and Vancouver Buddhist Temple.

Diyet (Powell Street Festival)

Diyet (Powell Street Festival)

The festival lineup includes both contemporary and traditional Japanese Canadian artists, includes Australian koto virtuoso Miyama McQueen-Tokita and Tutchone-Japanese Tlinget-Scottish folk singer Diyet.

Chordophone, the viola-looping electronica brainchild of brothers Marcus and James Takizawa, will also be performing for the first time.

Other attractions include a reading by acclaimed author Lynne Kutsukake from The Translation of Love, and film screenings of Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight: The Japanese War Brides and Good Luck Soup.

An aikido demonstration at Powell Street Festival (Studio by Jeanie)

An aikido demonstration at Powell Street Festival (Studio by Jeanie)

New activities in the expanded festival include more food and craft vendors and interactive exhibitions, such as The Koinobori, an installation inspired by Japanese carp streamers, or wind socks, in Oppenheimer Park.

The Powell Street Festival is organized by the Powell Street Festival Society, which aims to cultivate Japanese Canadian arts and culture to connect communities. It is completely free.

Powell Street Festival

Where: Oppenheimer Park and surrounding streets and venues – Vancouver

When: Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31, from 11:30 am to 7 pm

More info: powellstreetfestival.com

A sumo demonstration at Powell Street Festival (Noah Photography)

A sumo demonstration at Powell Street Festival (Noah Photography)