This year’s Indian Summer Festival presents a galaxy of artists who will help us dream new ways to heal our inner and outer climates

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      (This story is sponsored by the .)

      From July 7 to 17, one of Vancouver’s most anticipated arts and culture festivals will resume in-person events at Performance Works on Granville Island.

      After taking a virtual format for two years, the Indian Summer Festival (ISF) will showcase live music, dance performances, film screenings, and more. Since the pandemic-related restrictions have been lifted, the festival can resume building a strong South Asian cultural presence within the community.

      “The very essence of a festival is to create a place of gathering,” shares Sirish Rao, cofounder and artistic director of the ISF. “We haven’t been able to feed this basic human need for the last two years, although we did try and create a digital campfire through our online events.”

      The 12th-anniversary edition speaks to the theme of “Inner/Outer Climates”, exploring some of the current concerns weighing heavily on society. Its lineup is centred on climate change, mental health, and social justice issues, which will be addressed with the curiosity and enthusiasm that’s always marked the ISF.

      “Our theme this year reflects our deepest concerns today: our personal health and planetary health. And to support the theme, we’ve invited a stellar cast of local and global writers, filmmakers, musicians, performers, dancers, artists, and healers. I believe they will help us dream new ways of living our lives, and there is healing in this process,” says Rao.

      The lineup shines the spotlight on insightful speakers, award-winning filmmakers, and boundary-pushing performers like South Asian and Indigenous DJs. After each event, attendees will feel connected to the community and inspired to heal their inner and outer climates.

      Indian Summer Festival

      At 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 9, folks can witness an engaging discussion between a panel of notable writers and thinkers. will be hosted by Rao and Chan Centre for the Performing Arts curator in residence Jarrett Martineau, and will feature celebrated authors Naomi Klein, Amitav Ghosh, Robyn Maynard, and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, as well as Tsleil-Waututh community organizer Rueben George. 

      Together, they’ll touch upon the personal and political forces that shape our society, such as colonialism and the global supply chain. Those who attend the event can also catch a live musical performance by Juno Award–winning jazz guitarist Gordon Grdina and sitar maestro Mohamed Assani.

      On Sunday, July 10, former Delhi 2 Dublin band founder Tarun Nayar shares his latest adventures in music. Nayar has been exploring the bioelectricity of plants and the sounds that they produce when connected to a synthesizer.

      Another event, , is set to take place at Performance Works on Granville Island, featuring veteran musician Tarun Nayar and including wireless headsets. Attendees will be in awe at his ability to create music with mushrooms together with sitar player Sharanjeet Singh Mand. The rare collaboration of the natural and human world starts at 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 10.

      Copresented with the Chan Centre of the Performing Arts, Pakistani vocalist Arooj Aftab is performing in Vancouver for the first time on Wednesday, July 13. At 8 p.m., the Grammy award-winning singer, songwriter, and composer will perform at the University of British Columbia’s Chan Centre for the Performing Arts. Her latest album, Vulture Prince, has already been named to several “Best Albums of 2020” lists. Tickets to the show can be purchased .

      For festival highlights and the full event lineup, visit

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