As a non-Vancouver native, this year’sÂ Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat FestivalÂ that took place June 11 and 12, 2011, was my first encounter with the world of Dragon Boat racing. The sport gained popularity following Vancouver’s Expo ’86 while the festival celebrates and promotes racial harmony in one of Canada’s most diverse cities. Bringing together young and old, the tradition with the modern, this festival had something for all ages, including racing teams for youth, adults, seniors, men, women, rookies and seasoned vets.
Not only does the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival uphold its roots in ancient myths and legends from Southern China, but also it incorporates more modern cultural celebrations such as the World Beat Stage. With world music, dance and jazz performances, the festival has seamlessly merged tradition and modern culture into one giant celebration of cultural diversity.
As a fairly recent arrival in Vancouver from Calgary (insert redneck, cowboy or Stephen Harper joke here) for me, this festival was not only an opportunity to immerse myself in the unique and diverse culture of Vancouver, but it was also an opportunity for me to take in a live show by Y57′s 2010 Battle of the Bands Winners,Â Hello, Sir. Their performance at the World Beat Stage included a number of Hello, Sir original songs as well as covers of Green Day’sÂ Good Riddance (Time of Your Life), and Bruno Mars’Grenade, both of which were met with enthusiasm from the crowd. While this marked one of the last Hello, Sir performances before the band goes on hiatus, singer Camille has high hopes for the band to continue creating music and reuniting stronger than ever in the future. Also in high hopes for the band? A Stanley Cup Victory for the Vancouver Canucks who will be returning to Boston this Monday for game six of the Stanley Cup Finals – regardless of whether they win in Boston or at home.
ClickÂ hereÂ to view the full gallery from the event!