Festivals help Vancouver forge a shared cultural identity

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Keep an eye out for this series of articles in the Vancouver Sun. On the verge of a massive Cultural Olympiad and the celebrated contemporary PuSh festival, this series offers a little perspective on the cultural importance of festivals to Vancouverites. Some of us build our holidays around local festivals …

Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival
… we continue a series of essays that aim to deepen our understanding of the world in which we live, and offer provocative and informed views on cultural issues.

Veda Hille performing at the PuSh Festival

VANCOUVER — As the city anticipates the opening of the PuSh Festival on Wednesday, with the massive, eight-week Cultural Olympiad hot on its heels, it makes sense to reflect upon how we chronicle the most social expression of artistic culture: the festival.

Vancouver’s lively arts scene and rich festival tradition are hallmarks of the city’s cultural identity.

summer days at the Vancouver Folk Festival

A raft of arts festivals sprouted up within a few years of each other in the 1980s and early 1990s, a very rich time for Vancouver culture: among them, the Vancouver International Fringe Festival in 1985, the Vancouver Queer Film Festival in 1989, and the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival in 1990. The Vancouver International Jazz Festival was first mounted in 1986, and the International Folk Music Festival goes back even further, having been founded in 1978. With their long histories, these festivals have become traditions that many Vancouverites have grown up with.

To read the entire article, click here.

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