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Shambhala Music Festival: An Unaltered Tale of My Altered Journey



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Featured Image | Shambhala Music Festival

It’s 10am on Tuesday, I have just awoken from a nearly 19-hour sleep. I left Shambhala at around 5:30am Monday morning, although it felt more like Sunday night. I walked straight to my friend Steve’s car after spending the entire evening roaming the festival under the guidance of MDMA, LSD and watered down liquor, more on this later.

The first few days after Shambhala are always a little strange, I had just checked out of real-world living for the better part of four days. “Normal” doesn’t feel normal at all, at least not yet. I haven’t cut off my festival wristband, I’m not ready to.

Before I get too deep into the experience, I must present a disclaimer. I am telling this story to the best of my memory, highlighting things that stood out to me as it relates to my personality. Shambhala is a unique experience for everyone. As much as the festival is about connecting with others and the world around you, it’s also about deeper connecting to yourself and how you react to the situations and stimulus that cross your path. I try to garner a lesson out of every Shambhala and always feel a bit more in tune with myself when returning from each trip. I’m still reflecting on the experience as a whole, but I’m slowly discovering the theme of this year’s journey.

That being said, substance use is mentioned in this article. The last thing I want is for you to read my work and use it as an excuse to try drugs without proper research. Though I am somewhat experienced in experimentation, I am not an avid user and only submerge myself in psychedelic euphoria on rare occasions as a way to exercise my mind beyond its sober constraints. A clear head is extremely important, but escaping the grips of reality for brief moments in life can push the horizons of your personal boundaries. Sometimes that can aid our growth. Be wary of succumbing to over-consumption and falling into a murky pit of reliance. Abuse is dangerously possible, always educate yourself before digging.

Shambhala is a dry event, meaning drugs and alcohol are prohibited. Despite this being common law, drugs and booze can find its way into any festival ground. As a precaution, ANKORS, a free-of-charge drug testing site is available on-site to make sure that if you are choosing to do drugs, you are doing them safely. Nobody NEEDS drugs to enjoy Shambhala, but I explore them to layer the experience. To see through an altered lens.

I arrived to Shambhala around 5pm on Thursday. Steve and I were trying to find our friends in “Camp Lurk,” a collective squadron that consisted of us “Canadian homies” and the “Colorado fam.” The Colorado fam were originally a neighbouring camp I met at Shambhala 2015 through my close friend Daniel, who is also responsible for opening me to this outworldly festival. We connected with our American neighbours through a shared love of heavy bass music. We’ve kept in contact ever since, opting to camp with each-other annually, always picking up exactly where we left off without skipping a beat. There’s so much love and good vibes in this group, I couldn’t be more grateful.

We shared great stories with each other throughout the weekend. Some that stick out are Darling’s ghostly experience in Taiwan as well as the one about Steph’s son who cried when she wouldn’t let him name their new puppy Bassnectar. Seraj also has me convinced that I need to check out Burning Man.

The first artist I witnessed was Crywolf at the Amphitheatre the night of my arrival. He performed mostly melodic, poppy, wavy dubstep, yet his stage presence was almost punk-rock esque. He thrashed across the Amp, headbanging and wailing like G.G. Allin on speed. He ended his set smashing a guitar on-stage, a unique choice for a performer of his genre. I went to sleep fairly early this night.

We spent Friday morning at Muscle Beach, which, in our group, is also often referred to as the “river” or “creek.” Shambhala promotes body-positivity and freedom of judgement. Many people disrobed completely as they walked the sand and submerged their naked bodies within ice-cold water, free from shame, comfortable in their true skin. Our group met a cute little baby frog, no bigger than a toonie, as we calmly chilled along the shore.

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After grabbing a bite and returning to camp, I soon ingested some MDMA given to me by a trusted friend. MDMA promotes feelings of euphoria and has tendencies to strip you of social anxiety. Quite dangerous if over-ingested, a nice amount will deeply connect you to the music and turn you into a bit of a chatterbug. Expect to hug complete strangers. And sweat a lot (stay hydrated.)

The most memorable performance on Friday night for me was BC’s own Excision. Celebrating his 10-year anniversary at Shambhala, he played a mammoth two-hour set that went straight to the punch as soon as he hit the jungle-esque Village stage. It was everything you’d expect from an Excision Shamby set, with the added touch of ending the last half-hour with guest mixing by his Kelowna brethren Datsik and Downlink, playing wubby classics dating all the way back to 2008. Camp Lurk was out in full-flex to catch the entirety of this highly anticipated set, raging together from beginning to end.

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Saturday morning started off fairly chill. I had breakfast and went to the beach to meditate. Because of the hot musk from the smokey BC skies due to wildfire, the river was packed with people and I couldn’t easily find a nice, quiet spot to relax. Instead, I opted for 10 minutes at the Oxygen Bar located near the Living Room stage. It was classical-music hour, so I was calmly listening to 1800s symphonies as I breathed in a mix of scents that were meant to promote healthy and uplifting mentalities. It was a pleasant combination.

After the Oxygen bar, I was met with an extreme calm. The tonality in my voice softened and the speed vastly slowed down. I felt clear headed. I returned to camp and was eventually met with some horrifying news. Due to the heavy smoke and approaching BC wildfires, Shambhala will stop at 9am on Sunday morning, a full day early. You could feel the heart of the festival sink upon the announcement. It was as if the deep grey smoke had sucked the energy from the festival. Suddenly, the dusty air of Shambhala was fragranced with melancholy. We wouldn’t let this destroy our spirit. There was one day left, we were gonna make it count.

Saturday is usually the day I like to go hard. Yesterday I gave myself a small taste of MDMA to ease myself into substance experimentation. Today I wanted to completely disassociate myself from reality by dropping the psychedelic hallucinogen “Acid,” properly known as LSD. I usually start off with a microdose, only putting half of the tiny paper-square on my tongue. After fumbling it in my mouth for a bit I washed it down with a straight shot of cheap vodka that I mixed with some MDMA.

I was feeling good. My vision was in HD and the colours popped. People in their costumes felt like they really were the characters they portrayed for the night. In these magical lands, I couldn’t be convinced otherwise. It was hard rubbing the feeling that this was unexpectedly going to be the last day of Shambhala, but I couldn’t let it consume me. I jumped from stage to stage with a friend for a bit, but couldn’t fight the itch to want to wander alone.

I believe everyone should have at least one point in Shambhala where they roam by themselves. It gives you a chance to fully take in everything around you, letting it all sink in. You can be whoever you want to be and do whatever you want to do, guided by winds of your choosing. I feel it’s times like this where you have most opportunity for growth and self-discovery. I told my friend my feelings and they completely understood. We walked back to camp to spend a few more minutes together before separating. We drank, talked about the experience thus far. We then ate some magic mushrooms before parting ways. I truly hoped they would get consumed by Shambhala the same way I did my first year.

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I recall soon seeing French artist CloZee drop some glitchy tracks at the Grove stage around 1:30am, she always slays. After the set, I somehow stumbled upon a woman painting an abstract space-like piece along a trail. The blue hue of the canvas’ background glowed from afar, drawing me closer in. I watched the woman wash her paintbrush in a jar of water and dip it into some paint. She slid the brush along the surface, creating a thick white line that seemed to dance to the music as colour met canvas. It looked like she was painting a reimagination of a bridge heading towards a moon. I was stricken by the art. When she took a small break, I approached her.

“Can I ask you a question?” She glanced back at me with a nod and a smirk. “What do you think about while painting something like this?” She thought for a moment. “I don’t really think about much, actually. I kind of just flow with the music.” This response struck me deeply. I am generally an over-thinker and feel it’s been a result of many downfalls. The fact that she could create something so beautiful without too much thought opened my eyes to the beauty of acting on impulse when it feels right. I asked for her name, it was Lindsey. I transferred a bracelet with a Yin-Yang charm from my wrist to hers. For a brief moment our hands blended together as one, the mushrooms were making their presence known. We gave each other a hug goodbye and I journeyed on.

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Rumours started floating around that Shambhala might not be cancelled after all. It brought a level of excitement in some but dread in those who needed firmer answers. Many people had already started leaving early. I hoped for another day, but was open to the rumour being just that.

I ended up at the Pagoda stage with some friends. Herobust dropped trappy, bassy, heavy tunes. My eyes soon locked with those of a petite brunette, our hands clasped together and we started grooving. We stared at each other without a blink and soon our clasping hands turned into fingertips pushing against each other, a feeling of energy jolting between our prints. Her name is Lola and she works as a mechanic, which caught me as a surprise given her tiny stature. Her dream car is a 1972 Skyline GT-R. We talked for a bit as we danced, I suddenly felt the urge to kiss her. I asked her if I could and she told me she had a boyfriend. Surprisingly enough, this didn’t knock my confidence. We still danced together for quite some time. We thrashed our heads towards one another like a couple of headbangers at Ozzfest and clasped hands one last time during the buildup to an epic dubstep-drop. Soon, we went our separate ways.

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I ended the night around 4am after seeing drum n’ bass group Calyx & Teebee at the Village. If one thing is for sure, I have to catch a late-night Village DnB set every year no matter what. For some reason my dancing becomes tribal and I feel like a wild caveman paying homage to the stars as I become one with fast-paced electro-punky beats. I’m a free-spirit in the Jungle, dancing beneath moonlight. After the set, I went to camp and laid in my tent, contemplating getting up to watch the sunrise. I told myself I would rest my eyes for five minutes to regain energy. We all know how this ends up.

There was a pattering against my tent the next morning. I took a peek outside, it was raining. I could hear music from one of the stages. For a small moment I was in awe, the rumours were true! Shambhala wasn’t cancelled after all. I looked at my phone to see that it was 8:57am. I then remembered announcement saying things would end at 9am. Before I knew it, the music went quiet. I was alone with the rain.

I laid in my tent for a few more hours. When I eventually had to go to the bathroom I asked a security guard if the festival was truly over. They said it was. I returned to camp just as the rest of the homies were waking up. We had a great night, but the bummer of no more Shambhala was still apparent. We slowly packed our things, chatted and hung out. I gave everyone a massive lingering hug before Steve and I decided to make our leave around 11am.

It was a slow and grey walk to the car. We were approaching the Sunshine lot gate, the point of no return. 50 more steps and Shambhala was officially over, we’d be heading back to Surrey. Suddenly a man with a megaphone stepped a few feet in front of us, his message went something like this:

“Dear attendees of Shambhala. After much deliberation and after talking with the local government and BC fire department, I am happy to inform you that Shambhala’s final night will continue as scheduled! Shambhala is no longer cancelled!”

My body filled with joy! Steve and I went back to camp to deliver the amazing news. Everyone was still confused, for all we know this was some random with a megaphone being silly. It was not the case though, we received an official notification from Shambhala on our smartphones. Party as planned. Many people still ended up leaving, as they have mentally checked out and were ready to go home. I’d guess at least a thousand people, if not more, left the festival grounds by the time Sunday night began. It didn’t matter, I knew I was sticking around.

A few of us headed to the Pagoda stage to watch Dimond Saints at 8pm. While there, an extremely sweaty man gave me a hug and told me I could accomplish anything I put my mind to, as long as it’s done with a good and pure heart. He hugged me and other strangers several more times before exiting the stage. Another man on stilts in a kind of Yeti-esque costume roamed the Pagoda grounds, towering over festival goers. At the front of the stage, I witnessed a woman stand directly beneath him. She let him rub his genitals all over her face. It was a strange site, but hey, to each their own. My crew ended up heading to the Amphitheatre whereas I stayed at the Pagoda.

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I poured the small bit of MDMA powder I had left into my almost empty liquor bottle. To try and get more out of it, I filled the bottle with water, so I can nurse this minor concoction for the night. Not my proudest moment, but also not my least proud.

Deeper into the night I watched Terravita destroy the Pagoda stage. Can’t really say much about it aside from that. I somehow found myself get from a wretched pit of dubstep headbangers to mysteriously stumbling into the Living Room stage where a performer was playing the Violin over very chilled out electronic beats. There weren’t many people there, but I was astounded by his sound. Everyone was sitting on the ground in front of the stage, just chilling out. The ground was nice and spacey, I took a seat in the dirt.

This was probably the most intimate live performance experience I have ever gone through. I’ve never literally just sat directly in front of the stage like that before. I relaxed and watched him play a few songs before journeying on. The artist and I exchanged eye contact as I got up. I smiled and flipped him a peace-sign with my fingers. He nodded and smiled back. Very cool.

I found a tree with a bunch of poems nailed to it. In my state of mind it was hard for me to really ingest what I was reading, yet somehow at the end of each poem, I felt like I knew what it was about. One poem did stick out a lot. It was about a man drinking alcohol outside on a moonlit night. The man, the alcohol and the moon all felt like characters in this piece. It reminded me of my mother, who has suffered from alcoholism since as far back as I can remember. Like most, her consumption put a hefty strain on our relationship growing up.

I didn’t concentrate on the negatives, however. Instead, after reading this poem, I thought about my mom outside of the alcohol. A sweet and gentle lady with a unique sense of humour. I was unable to shake the image of her warm smile. In that moment, I wanted her to appear in front of me so I could give her a hug and say I loved her, something I don’t do enough. I carried on.

I bumped into a man at the Grove who gave me a hug and a bunch of stickers that said “You Are Beautiful.” I gave him a bracelet in return. Later on in the night I got lost and asked a lady at a service desk for directions to one of the stages. She was pleasant, so later that night I went back to give her a You Are Beautiful sticker and one of my last bracelets. She was overwhelmingly happy and reached over the counter to give me a very tight hug. She blew me a kiss as I walked away. I felt a very happy energy surrounding me for the rest of the night.

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After finishing my watered down liquor I noticed the vibrant colours of acid wearing down. It was roughly 3 in the morning. I went to the Pagoda stage and it started raining violently. I could see people running around trying to find cover, many posting up in the coffee shop. Coffee didn’t seem like such a bad idea, I could use a warm up. I only drank about half of it, the caffeinated bitterness did not mix well with my psychedelic comedown. The intense rain only lasted about 10 minutes before coming to a sudden halt. The freaks could roam once more.

I went to the Amphitheatre stage because I figured I might find members of my camp there. I never did see them, but I discovered a new artist: Proko. Super dank bass music, they were extremely sick. Liquid Stranger was supposed to play a back-to-back set with Space Jesus, but unfortunately they couldn’t make it due to wildfire. Another DJ, I believe his name was Yheti, opted to spin tracks from their set. I spent about two hours at the Amphitheatre before heading back to camp.

Nobody was at camp when I arrived, so I sat and reflected. Soon, a couple fellow Camp Lurkers, Darling and Ezra, rolled in. We had a small chat and I gave them both the last of my bracelets before heading back to Steve’s car, where I presumed he was waiting as we had packed our stuff in it before the night began. It took me awhile to find, but in my dissociated stumble I eventually found the car around 5:30am when he answered his phone and honked his car horn. We drove out. Upon exiting Salmo River Ranch, Shambhala volunteers smiled and waved us goodbye.

This was only a portion of the experience, it’s far too large to write in full. I cannot express how many interesting and friendly people I met and interacted with as well as the little mini-adventures that came across my path. There is a genuine sense of love and openness at Shambhala. It’s beautiful to see that there are still so many amazing people in this world.

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Jonathan Nicholas “Johnny” Papan is a Canadian writer, filmmaker, and musician born in Surrey, British Columbia to a Guyanese mother and half-Hungarian, half-Trinidadian father. Aside from film and music, Johnny also enjoys performing standup comedy. His interest in journalism surfaced after watching documentaries on influential writers Nora Ephron and Hunter S. Thompson. -

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Aman Bassi set to release her third music single



Aman Bassi, Surrey’s youngest and coveted Executive Producer/ Director released her third new single ‘Meri Jaan’ on Saturday, April 4th. Earmarking her success from the direction and production career, Aman forayed into the music industry in 2019 with her two previously launched songs ‘Chaali Jaan de’ and ‘Vibe’ that turned out to be one of the most trending songs on Spotify.

Popular for her incredible work in the film and television industry, Aman has also been a part of some really popular music videos such as ‘High rated Gabru’, ‘Issa Jatt’, ‘Too Hot’, ‘Pagal’, ‘Baby Baby’, ‘Jatta Ve’, ‘Circles’, ‘Closer’ and many more.

The new song ‘Meri Jaan’ is a cross-genre song between EDM and techno music which is very unique to the Punjabi music industry. The song has a catchy hook to it and is likely to be the new dance number leading the charts.

Video Chat Interview with DOP and Recording Artist Aman Bassi

Talking about the new launch, Aman Bassi said, “I’m extremely thrilled to launch this song as it was written about 8 months ago for someone who has always supported and inspired me to grow further in life. I’m sure everyone who will listen to this song will be able to relate to it and be able to dedicate it to their special person or that guiding light that motivates them to grow.”

There is an extremely talented team behind the launch of this song such as Empire Major, the producer who has been a part of some big Sweden bands such as Swedish House Mafia. Mixing and Mastering is done by Adam Fulton who has worked with profound artists like Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande. The song will be launched on Aman’s YouTube channel and be available on all music platforms – Apple music , Spotify and Youtube

Aman Bassi is a young (24) and popular Executive Producer and Director. Born in 1995 with numerous awards and accolades to her name such as ‘Best of Show’ and ‘Best of DOP’ at Whistler Film Festival and she was also nominated as the ‘Best New Director’ by PTC. Aman’s creative instincts have always set her apart in any crowd. Since an early age in life, she has been glued to the camera at all times making her a celebrated Director today.

Aman went to high school in Surrey, BC and attended LA Matheson and Princess Margaret. She then graduated from the Art Institute in 2015. Her career in this industry started with working as an assistant in the film industry at the age of 16. She eventually worked her way up to being the Executive Producer on sets for Vancouver production houses.

Owing to her young age, Aman faced difficulty in proving her might and ability to others.

So far, she has been a part of some major Netflix productions such as ‘Sabrina,’ ‘Firefly Lane’, ‘Stranger Things’, ‘6 Underground’, ‘Sacred Games’, Red Notice (in production)’ and ‘Riverdale (on going). She has also worked on Directors Guild film projects including ‘Ghosting’, ‘When the Lights go out’, ‘Descendents 2’, ‘The Mighty Ducks’, and ‘Bates Motel.’ Her feature film projects include major titles such as Quentin Tarantino’s Oscar winning ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’, ‘Hobbes and Shaw’, ‘Deadpool 2’, ‘Jumanji 2,’ and some iconic Punjabi Films including ‘Manje Bistre 2’, ‘Ardaas Karaan, ‘PR’ and the indie film ‘Monster.’

Some incredibly popular music videos under Aman’s work profile are ‘High rated Gabru’, ‘Issa Jatt’, ‘Too Hot’, ‘Pagal’, ‘Baby Baby’, ‘Jatta Ve’, ‘Circles’, ‘Closer’ and many more.

She has also released her own music videos in which she debuted as a singer such as ‘Chaali Jaan de’ and ‘Vibe’ in 2019. These have turned out to be one of the most trending songs on Spotify.

Instagram | Spotify | Youtube

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Coffee Concert With the Bergmann Duo and Special Guest April 9



Bergmann Piano Duo, and Clarinetist, Jose Franch-Ballester join forces for Clarinetastik! Part of Surrey Civic Theatres’ Coffee Concert Series

Surrey, BC – With virtuosity, and charm, Elizabeth and Marcel Bergmann on piano, with Jose Franch- Ballester on clarinet, delight audiences with classical and contemporary music.

Part of Surrey Civic Theatres’ Coffee Concert Series, April 9, 2020social hour at 10:00 AM, concert at 11:00 AM.

Tickets Online:

Box Office: 604-501-5566

Where: Surrey Arts Centre, 13750–88 Avenue, Surrey, BC.

“From the first note to the last, it was a pleasure to hear these two natural musicians, who breathe, think and play as one.”—National Post

On April 9, entertaining musicians and storytellers, The Bergmann Piano Duo, bring their charm and musical alchemy to Surrey Civic Theatres’ intimate and casual morning concerts.

For Clarinetastik! the Bergmanns welcome clarinetist, Jose Franch-Ballester to entertain audiences. Franch-Ballester is an award-winning musician, assistant professor of clarinet and chamber music at UBC, and is considered one of the finest classical soloists and chamber music artists of his generation.

Based in White Rock, the Bergmanns met when they were both students with the same teacher at music school in Hanover, Germany. It was that teacher who suggested that the couple should perform as a duo. “Our teacher encouraged us to prepare a two-piano concerto for a festival in Greece, collaborating rather than competing against each other. As a result of that positive and inspiring experience, over the next year we started learning some of the standard duo piano repertoire …and of course for many years after that!” said Marcel.

Marcel also said that working with your spouse definitely has its pros—and cons! “There are many positive aspects: the best thing is being so closely connected to each other personally and not having the same boundaries that exist when playing with other musicians. However, the fact that you can be more free and honest with each other, can, at times create some tension! For instance, during rehearsals when there are disagreements about certain aspects of the music and interpretation. We certainly went through a time where we argued about those things…but once we worked through those issues, things became easier and much more enjoyable.”

The Bergmanns said they both enjoy the Coffee Concerts because it’s a chance to share music and stories with audiences in a much more relaxed and informal way. They both also enjoy the opportunity to collaborate—and showcase fellow musicians. “Jose is a fantastic musician with a very impressive career. He is also very passionate about the music he plays. He has a very genuine, warm personality. So we think—and hope—our audiences will enjoy our upcoming collaboration as much as we will,” said Marcel.

Bonus: Bus Trip—Leave Driving to the Coffee Concert to Us!

For patrons who don’t want to drive to the theatre, there is the option of taking a bus from South Surrey Recreation and Arts Centre.

This service drops people off at the Surrey Arts Centre in time for the social hour and concert, and afterwards brings them back to the South Surrey Recreation and Arts Centre. Tickets for the bus tour are $50 (price includes return bus trip, social hour with treats, and the Coffee Concert).

It can be registered for online: Patrons can also call and register at 604-501-5100. The bar code to register online or over the phone for the Bus Trip and Coffee Concert is #00017483

“He [Ballester] is a natural onstage…he is also a musician of some depth.”—New York Times

About the Performers

The Bergmann Duo are laureates of the Dranoff International Two Piano Competition and enjoy dazzling audiences around the world at festivals and on tour.

Jose Franch-Ballester is a multi-award-winning Spanish clarinetist hailed for his “technical wizardry and tireless enthusiasm” (The New York Times), his “rich, resonant tone” (Birmingham News), and his “subtle and consummate artistry” (Santa Barbara Independent). The recipient of a prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2008, and winner of both the Young Concert Artists and Astral Artists auditions, he is a solo artist and chamber musician in great demand.

Individual tickets are $26–$33 and are available online now at or from the box office at 604-501-5566.

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Vancouver Music Festival, 5X Festival, Appoints International Business Strategist and Entrepreneur Ravi Krishnan as Chairman (Non-Executive)



(VANCOUVER, CANADA) – 5X Festival, a Canadian based South Asian millennial festival showcasing the best of music, art, film and fashion, has appointed Ravi Krishnan as Chairman (Non-Executive), effective immediately.

Krishnan is a visionary business leader with over 25 years of cross-border experience developing global brands within sport, fashion, media and entertainment. He is currently the Founder and Chairman of global wellness brand, Stepathlon and has previously served in a leadership capacity at various event properties; holding positions such as: Chairman (Non-Executive) X1 Racing League, Vice Chairman Rajasthan Royals (2008 champions of the Indian Premier Cricket League), Managing Director South Asian/Senior VP IMG developing the Aircel Chennai Open, Lakme Fashion Week, and the Indian Premier League.

Inspired by both SXSW and Afropunk, 5X Festival is the largest South Asian youth event in Canada, with a unique focus on empowering young creatives, providing them the momentum they need to crossover into mainstream platforms and create global impact.

According to 5X Festival’s Executive Director, Tarun Nayar, they are positioned for exponential growth in the coming years, with Krishnan being an ideal addition to the group to help propel this evolution.

“Ravi’s entry into 5X has truly come along at the right time. We are at a critical point in our trajectory and he has the right connections and experience to help us garner the high level support that we really need to elevate 5X into an international brand,” explained Nayar. “Having worked on multiple global properties from the Sahara Cup, to the cricket Indian Premier League to Lakme Fashion Week, he knows what it takes to take something from an idea to a high functioning global property. I am confident that our board will benefit from his breadth of experience, insights and global perspective as we continue our evolution into a global brand and online community that champions South Asian youth culture.”

Both Nayar and Krishnan agree that South Asian culture is ready to ‘cross over’ and have a much greater influence in what is perceived to be ‘mainstream’. From their point of view, it is a question of when, rather than if. With his extensive experience at the market entry level of building brands and sport, media and entertainment properties, Krishnan feels he can be catalytic in making this jump happen.

“Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to have been involved in the ‘process of pioneering’. It has given me a relevant blend of strategic, commercial and execution capabilities that I seek to leverage for the benefit of the promoters and projects with whom and which I collaborate. The opportunity for 5X Festival is substantial and timely. They have laid a solid foundation for an exciting future. However, to capitalize on this opportunity requires a new mindset from “origination to facilitation”. That is what I seek to instil, by bringing my experience and network to the table. I have also had the privilege of working at the junction of creative and commerce throughout my career and that requires a certain understanding of the talent, whether it be athletes, artists, activists or actors’ ambitions, whilst making sure that the commercial goals are juxtaposed in a win-win manner.”

Nayar himself has been involved with the festival in a creative capacity since its first iterations 10 years ago, and has himself had massive global success with his touring band Delhi 2 Dublin. In recent years, he took over the festival, rebranded it and has bold ambitions for its future.

The festival couldn’t be more excited about the introduction of Ravi to the team, stating that his unique perspectives on the global business environment will be a valuable asset as they chart the future together.

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Fort Langley Jazz & Arts Festival Rising Star Application Opens



Rising Star Jazz Musician Award opportunity to earn scholarship and jazz festival show Fort Langley Jazz & Arts Festival organizers busy at work preparing for 2020 festival

When the Fort Langley Jazz & Arts Festival returns for two full days of live music in July, an up and coming jazz musician will be featured as the festival’s Rising Star award winner.

Festival organizers established the annual award in 2019 “to recognize an outstanding jazz student who demonstrates a high level of performance ability and is pursuing a professional career in jazz music.”

The Rising Star award winner will be given an opportunity to perform with a main stage artist on Saturday, July 25 during the festival and in their own featured paid performance on Sunday, July 26. They will also receive a scholarship of $1,000.

“We are thrilled to offer a unique opportunity for an emerging jazz student to become our Rising Star,” said Dave Quinn, artistic director for the festival. “One of our key mandates is to support youth and emerging artists and the award is a wonderful opportunity for an up and coming jazz student to perform with and be mentored by established artists, while also receiving financial support for their education.”

Last year’s inaugural award winner, Julian Borkowski, a Surrey resident and second-year music student at Capilano University at the time, said the recognition “is a great opportunity for me to expose myself musically.”

Award submissions are open to all secondary and post-secondary music students from the Metro Vancouver area until March 31, 2020 on the festival website.

For 2020, Fort Langley Jazz & Arts Festival will be held from July 24 to 26, offering free concerts on two outdoor stages with world-renowned jazz acts on the Saturday and Sunday, along with four nighttime concerts for ticketholders. Featured genres include straight-ahead jazz, R&B, big band, New Orleans, funk and latin jazz.

One of the festival’s four ticketed events, an opening-night concert, on Friday, July 24, inside Fort Langley National Historic Site will feature an all-star blues show. A Roaring 20’s gala dance event will recreate the Cotton Club with a big band and Cab Calloway singer on Saturday, July 25 at the Fort Langley Community Hall. A new jazz concert with a headliner act at Chief Sepass Theatre is also scheduled for Saturday night.

Closing the festival will be a gospel/soul show at Chief Sepass Theatre on Sunday, July 26.

The festival is also adding a new ticketed concert series called the “Art of Jazz” that will feature innovative and creative jazz acts in an intimate concert setting.

Tickets for all nighttime shows will go on sale in April at

“There will be something for every jazz fan,” Quinn stated. “We’ll also have four pop-up performance stages around the community featuring youth and emerging jazz acts, Jazz Around Town performances at restaurants and a Kidz Zone area and stage.”

Organizers are also expanding the art side of the festival with an Outdoor Painting Challenge, a student art exhibit, artist vendor areas and Indigenous artist workshops and demonstrations.

The band lineup and all other festival activities will be announced in April. You can view highlights of the 2019 festival here.

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Khanvict’s First Vancouver Live Set



Khanvict, a local Pakistani born Producer had his first live show in Vancouver on January 17th at the Imperial. Asad is a bit of a local hero within the scene as the young up and comer who is really making a name for himself off the bat.

This live show was really nothing like what South Asian artists have performed locally. Since last spring he has been practicing this unique showcase in a warehouse setup with his custom hardware and software rig including live and electronic instruments and cutting edge lighting and visual design.

Beyond just the hybrid of sounds – bollywood / electronic / punjabi / south asian – he is truly engaging the diaspora youth in something that feels uniquely theirs. Think of artists such as Cartel Madras in the hip hop space or Raveena (a bit more mainstream) but in the R&B space – he will be quick on the heels of that type of success.

His show also featured Raaginder, a violinist and music composer from the San Francisco Bay Area, who has produced several contemporary albums in which the sounds of Indian classical violin and hip-hop music intermingle. He has also had the privilege and pleasure of performing in prominent venues all over the world such as The White House, Staples Center, Wembley Arena and many more.

About Khanvict

Surrey based Asad Khan, better known by his stage name Khanvict, has built his name around a sound that seamlessly blends the eastern influences of Bollywood and Punjabi music with a signature West Coast bass music punch. An immigrant from Pakistan who arrived in Canada in his early teens, Khanvict found purpose in the ultra-competitive world of South Asian dance parties, quickly becoming one of the most in-demand DJs in the scene. In 2017, spurred by experiences at West Coast festivals like Shambhala, Khanvict began to take inspiration from the likes of Troyboi, Clozee and Indian artists like Nucleya.

Very much a product of the streaming generation, Khanvict co-founded the record label Snakes x Ladders to take his sound to the masses. His first EP on the label, Kahani, saw great traction and led to an opportunity to release 2 official remixes of AR Rahman’s classic Bollywood hits Jiya Jale and Ramta Jogi through Venus Records in India.

Khanvict is known for his ability to perform – and this Vancouver show is his first fully live set in Vancouver ever! Months of preparation, custom software and hardware, and a custom lighting and LED rig have allowed him to bring his expansive and cinematic vision to life.

Recent shows include Shambhala, Sessions Music Festival (NYC), FIMPRO (Mexico) and Chasing Summer (AB), Rifflandia 2018 (BC) and opening for Vidya Vox at the Celebration of Light 2019.

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