Indian Summer Festival: Showcasing Tricksters, Magicians, and Oracles

The Festival brings top writers, academics, philosophers, musicians, artists and filmmakers from Canada, India and around the world to its stages.

In less than a decade, the Indian Summer Festival has become one of the most well-regarded and highly anticipated festivals in Metro Vancouver. The Festival brings top writers, academics, philosophers, musicians, artists and filmmakers from Canada, India and around the world to its stages. These stages have welcomed Nobel, Booker, Grammy and Oscar winning artists, while also introducing new talents to the masses.

The 9th edition of festival takes place from July 4 to 14 in various venues across Vancouver. This year’s theme is “Tricksters, Magicians, and Oracles,” with influential artists from around the world that share different views on this topic. Festival Co-founder Sirish Rao describes the week-plus event as a “festival for the curious mind.”

The festival is a meeting place of many different ideas, artistic disciplines and cultures,” Sirish advises.“It gives us a sense of the interconnectedness we have as human beings, who possess a sense of curiosity.”

The Festival presents a combination of free and ticketed events. The events at the festival will highlight music, dance, comedy, literature, art, and ideas from distinct creators that come together through a South Asian lens, including: Humble the Poet, a YouTube star, hip-hop & spoken word artist, and best-selling author based in Toronto; Sikh Knowledge, electronic, dancehall and roots reggae sounds by Montreal-based, out and queer DJ Kanwar Anit Singh Saini; Pico Iyer: philosopher, writer, and world-traveler; Amitav Ghosh, Acclaimed Indian writer and novelist; Amjad Ali Khan, one of India’s most celebrated classical musicians; and Hari Kondabolu, American comic and creator of the hit documentary, The Problem with Apu. Indian Summer Festival will be collaborating with the Vancouver Art Gallery, Surrey Art Gallery, and Audain Gallery at SFU, including with the festival’s feature artists Sara Khan and Nep Sidhu.

“It’s important that we tell a wide, diverse and exciting story of our community,” Sirish advises. “There are people doing incredible works that we should encourage and be part of. The festival really presents the very best of South Asian art, culture, thought, innovation and intellectual discourse.”

The Indian Summer Festival opening party is July 4th at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre. Sold-out for the past eight years, Chef Vikram Vij invites some of the city’s top culinary magicians and a cast of jugglers, fortune tellers and musicians to explore the festival theme of ‘Tricksters, Magicians and Oracles.’ The first edition of the festival drew approximately 1500 attendees. Each subsequent year it has grown by twenty-five to thirty per cent. Last year’s festival drew approximately 50,000 attendees. To learn more about the Indian Summer Festival, including ticket information, visit the website at