Indian Summer Festival’s premium pass delivers rich cultural experiences, including stunning musicianship and brilliant literary talents

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      (This story is sponsored by the .)

      This 5-week long edition of Indian Summer Festival features artists who are consummate shapeshifters and exactly the kinds of voices we need to guide us in this moment. From Grammy Award nominees to tomorrow's musical stars, a Scotiabank Giller Prize winner, world-famous musicians who worked with one of the Beatles, a member of the Grateful Dead, a Booker Prize nominee, and a two-time Dora Award–winning playwright. This year’s lineup for Indian summer Festival truly offers a cultural banquet for curious minds.

      This is your opportunity to experience artists like Zakir Hussain, Anoushka Shankar, the deliciousness of door delivered food from Vij’s, and special gift boxes from Vancouver’s Punjabi Market. Premium passes are available through early-bird pricing of the Limited Edition ISF2021 Premium Pass until midnight on May 31st. For just $285 you can enjoy access to all of the festival’s digital events, including a dazzling opening party on June 17 with Laydy Jams, Shamik Bilgi, Her Tribal Roots, and Kamal Pandya, and cohosted by artistic director Sirish Rao and CBC News at 6 anchor Anita Bathe.

      The ISF2021 Premium Pass also offers entry into the exclusive  afterparty. The passholder will be paired with festival friends and artists for multiple one-on-one conversations and performances. Not only that, it comes with a bottle of wine from Volcanic Hills.

      The next big event on June 19, The Musical Journey of a Shapeshifter, features seven-time Grammy Award–nominated sitarist and composer Anoushka Shankar sharing music, and stories from her life, from her home. Shankar’s brilliant musical career has included performing alongside Sting, Lenny Kravitz, Herbie Hancock, and, of course, her half-sister, Norah Jones. Shankar also helped her famous sitar-playing father, Ravi Shankar, produce an album by George Harrison of the Beatles.

      Anoushka Shankar
      Laura Lewis

      The other musician with a Beatles connection at the Indian Summer Festival is table maestro Zakir Hussain. He’s performed with Harrison, Van Morrison, and Earth Wind & Fire. And Hussain’s hypnotic beats helped set the mood in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now.

      This legend will perform at the Indian Summer Festival on June 26 along with two friends, Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead and bansuri star Rakesh Chaurasia.

      Another musical highlight comes on July 8 when the Indian Summer Festival will premiere a documentary about Vancouver DJ-producer-poet Ruby Singh’s astonishing Jhalaak project. The nine-song collection, unveiled last year, integrates Rajasthani folk with rap and devotional Sufi music. Singh will also speak at the event with Vancouver musician and musical historian Khari Wendell McLelland and the Inuit throat-singing group PIQSIQ in a truly cross-cultural exploration of sounds that move us.

      Now in its 11th year, the Indian Summer Festival has always taken pride in its literary offerings. This year, they include Home Fire author Kamila Shamsie joining Exit West author Mohsin Hamid in a discussion with Rao about their award-winning books. Also on the lineup for July 10 is a pairing of Booker Prize nominee Avni Doshni (Burnt Sugar) with ScotiaBank Giller Prize–winning short-story writer Souvankham Thammavongsa (How to Pronounce Knife).

      Ruby Singh
      Kristine Cofsky

      For theatre lovers, Vancouver playwright Anosh Irani will unveil his new work, Transcendence, on July 15, featuring Lois Anderson, Munish Sharma, and Laara Sadiq.

      It wouldn’t be Indian Summer without a glorious closing musical performance. This year, that will be provided by Naadaleela Ensemble and Mohamed Assani & Friends, delivered straight into people’s homes from the Orpheum Theatre on July 17.

      For tickets to individual events or to buy the ISF 2021 Limited Edition Premium Pass for access to all events, visit /.