Vancouver Part 2

Summer in Vancouver is also festival time, with another starting every few days. This particular weekend was the Dragon Boat Festival, which offered a range of live music at a beer garden in the Olympic Village Square. Over a couple of beers we listened to Alex Cuba perform a variety of songs in Spanish and English.

We visited the Surrey Night Markets, open throughout the summer, which offered a variety of Asian foods and other stalls including of handicrafts, mobile phone paraphernalia, posters, a stage, and other activities. It was a decent market to visit but for one you have to pay to enter, there are other free alternatives that are better. 

Jazz Festival, Vancouver, British Columbia, CanadaThe Vancouver Jazz Festival was in full swing, offering a range of free as well as paid performances in such number that is easy to be entertained gratis for the entire weekend. We dropped by David Lam Park on the Saturday and returned on the Sunday afternoon, where they had a small entertainment district setup with a variety of stalls, food outlets and a bar.

We saw Sprïng (formerly SSRIs), a prog rock inspired band with heavy 60’s British influence. Euan Burton & Occurrences, an interesting contemporary jazz ensemble both melodic and dissonant. 4=4, led by a violinist accompanied by guitar, bass and drums, played some beautiful harmonies blending jazz and rock. Lorraine Klaasen is a Montreal based Soweto born vocalist who presented South African inspired songs that were infectious and uplifting. The 24th Street Wailers, were a loud and intense electric blues ensemble fronted by drummer and vocalist Lindsay Weaver. Miami Device are a 10 piece with horns, guitars, drums, and keyboard providing some excellent funk. And The Belle Game, a Vancouver pop-rock-orchestral hybrid – not my cup of tea, but Vancouver seemed to love it.

Jazz Festival, Vancouver, British Columbia, CanadaJazz Festival, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

The summer also brings the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival, for its 25th year, providing performances of ‘The Tempest’, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, and ‘Cymbeline’ as well as contemporary play ‘Equivocation’ by Bill Cain and a one-man retrospective on the history of Bard on the Beach. The Bard’s players are mostly local veteran actors, having played roles in a variety of TV and theatre, some of whom are in multiple performances. On Sunday we saw the Matinee of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.

Bard on the Beach, Vancouver, British Columbia, CanadaThe stage is at the rear of the tent with a portal opening out onto Park. It is multi-tiered stage with a singular lounge shrouded in an ornate umbrella. The players use the entirety of the stage in the performance, sometimes bringing extra props as required. It is a semi-contemporary take on the play with the language and story being original but some of the performances being inspired by modern media and modern music to enhance the audience experience. This modernisation is both to the performances benefit and detriment, with some of the music jarring me from the fantasy. Having the portal overlooking the park is also an excellent addition, adding a naturalist perspective to the experience especially when a downpour occurred mid-performance (such a torrent that I feel the actors would have preferred it to have occurred in the Tempest).

One of the beauties of Shakespeare is that it is so malleable that it is rare to see a poor interpretation, and it is a great joy when you see a good or excellent one. The Bard on Beach provided an excellent afternoon out and is well worth taking the time to enjoy.

Other Canada Articles

Vancouver Part 1
Vancouver Part 3
Canada Day
Tough Mudder



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