After 11 years of bringing you local reporting, the team behind the Vancouver Observer has moved on to Canada's National Observer. You can follow Vancouver culture reporting over there from now on. Thank you for all your support over the years!

City of Bhangra, North America's largest Bhangra festival

Experience the sights and sounds of Bhangra when the streets come alive from April 29 – May 8 as Rogers presents the City of Bhangra Festival. The festival, organized by the Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration (VIBC) Society, encourages cultural exploration and community participation through a diverse series of events highlighting the Northern Indian art form of Bhangra.

"Each year we aim to push the boundaries about what Bhangra is and how it is performed,” says Sukhi Ghuman, Director of the VIBC Society. "This year we're celebrating our sixth year of operation. We're continuing to showcase events that bring Bhangra to an entirely new level. We’ve taken a form of dance and music created hundreds of years ago in celebration of the harvest in Punjab and brought it to Vancouver and made it accessible to people of all cultures."

This year RePercussion is led by Sal Ferreras, music educator and producer who explores percussion and folk drumming, represented by a variety of cultures that make up Vancouver. This exhibition will include performances by a number of multicultural drum troupes and Bhangra dhol drums at the VOGUE Theatre.

Dance on the sidewalk and sing out loud at VIBC’s Downtown Bhangra. This is a free outdoor concert stage featuring wild dance routines, amazing bands and all the Bhangra you can handle, on the Georgia Street Plaza at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Lal Singh Bhatti and his band, San Francisco’s Black Mahal, are guaranteed to get the crowd grooving. With its unique blend of traditional Punjabi folk, funk and hip- hop, the resulting eight-member band has since exploded onto the international scene, capturing the attention of the BBC and Rolling Stone India magazine.

The festival concludes with eight of North America’s best Bhangra teams competing for the $5000 first prize at the Coast Capital Bhangra Competition at Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Look out for international Bhangra superstars, Nirmal Sidhu from the UK, Vancouver’s own En Karma and Punjabi pop artist hailing from Denmark Anita Lerche. International Bhangra teams will be flying in from Calgary, LA, San Francisco, New York, and Punjab, India.

VIBC Society
Since 2005, the not-for-profit Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration Society (VIBC) has presented events to entertain and educate all communities about Bhangra. The Society’s vision is to embrace the spirit of celebration, generosity and community that is Bhangra. The VIBC is dedicated to spreading the universal rhythm of Bhangra and welcoming people from all cultures to enjoy the beats of this beautiful art form.

For more information about the Festival, please visit


More in World

An Afghan story from a Greek refugee camp

While visiting an Afghan refugee family in their tent in Greece, my wife and  I came to understand the particular plight of families fleeing the chaos and violence in Afghanistan.   Canada...

Police Encourage Vigilance Following Attacks in Brussels

Vancouver – Police are encouraging the public and business owners and operators to remain vigilant following this morning’s attacks in Brussels, Belgium.  The threat level in Canada remains...

Canadians gather in B.C. to demand safe passage to Europe for Syrian refugees

VANCOUVER — A choir sings hymns of peace on a downtown Vancouver beach while a small dinghy gently coasts ashore and a dozen people in life jackets, including a young boy, alight onto the sand. The...
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.