Known to locals as one of the Lower Mainland’s most multicultural spots, the city of Richmond embodies the spirit of Canada. With the highest proportion of immigrants in the country, the location is proud to offer a vibrant and unique heritage, and boasts a special emphasis on celebrating diversity.
For the past three years, the city has embraced its reputation for cultural harmony with its annual Richmond World Festival. This year—its fourth—promises to be one if its most varied yet. Offering up a taster of food, arts, theatre, and culture from around the globe, the event spotlights all the different elements that make up its community.
Where the festival really excels, though, is its musical programming. Over the course of two days during the Labour Day long weekend, the event will feature more than 90 artists performing on nine stages. African, Asian, North and South American, European, South Pacific, and Caribbean sounds will all be represented, with many artists fusing flavours from multiple traditions.
As well as its collection of engaging artists from around the globe, the event will feature two North American acts as headliners. The first, taking over the main stage on Friday August 31, is Lights. Bringing home the artist-of-the-year trophy at the Juno Awards in Vancouver this year for her gritty pop tracks, the singer captivated audiences at the live show with songs from her latest record, Skin & Earth, a concept album created in conjunction with a comic book she wrote and illustrated herself.
Taking the top slot on Saturday September 1 is Magic! Known for the earworm hit “Rude”—a bouncing reggae-pop song that launched at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and stayed there for six weeks—the four-piece fuses Caribbean-inspired beats with a western feel, leading them to work with stars such as Sean Paul. With its mixed multicultural sound, the band embodies the feel of the Richmond World Festival.
Those acts will be supported by Canadian favourites instrumentalist Elijah Woods and vocalist Jamie Fine. Playing together as EWxJF, the duo were the Week 2 winners of CTV’s The Launch¸ and their original song “Ain’t Easy” has already scored more than 12 million worldwide streams. Drawing on diverse, global influences, the pair’s cultured pop incorporates elements from genres such as dancehall, hip-hop, and jazz.
Fan favourite Desi Sub Culture, too, takes pride of place on the bill. Dubbing their sound “immigrant bass music”, the group generates tracks using a host of international influences, patching together everything from traditional Punjabi folk songs to trap hooks and synth swells. Highlighting how different cultures can percolate and merge, Desi Sub Culture mirrors the goals of the Richmond World Festival, and the soul of the city.
The Richmond World Festival is at Minoru Park (7191 Granville Ave) on August 31 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., and September 1 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
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