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Canada’s Largest South Asian Youth Festival Goes Virtual – Announcing 5X: Race to the Stage



Global festival-goers connect, create and move – checking out virtual stages, taking in performances and competing in challenges as they progress towards an exclusive experience at the 5X Mainstage.

5X is excited to announce their 2020 Festival – 5X: Race to the Stage – in collaboration with global wellness and fan engagement platform Stepathlon. 5X: Race to the Stage will gather festival-goers worldwide to move around a virtual world through real life steps and activities (yoga, dancing, meditation) combined with gamification and engagement (daily contests, challenges and events).

By downloading the app, festival-goers will immerse themselves in a virtual world, exploring 40+ stages located across the globe, featuring concerts, performances and 60+ of their favourite local and international creators to complete their journey and arrive at the 5X Mainstage for a two-day experience on September 19 and 20, 2020. Participants will explore the hottest in South Asian youth culture through creativity and movement, while encouraging mental and physical health.

The event comprises a 6 week registration period and an 8 week virtual journey, where participants combine creativity and movement each day, uploading content and logging their activity to discover over 40 stages and unlock exclusive content, merchandise and prizes. Following a ‘reward the many’ approach, prizes are awarded daily and include a mixture of real life prizes and one-on-one online activations such as musical workshops, workouts, cook-offs, and more, that users will enjoy from the safety of their own homes.

Those who progress through the entire festival will be awarded a Golden Ticket to the 5X Mainstage: a weekend with 14 A-list South Asian creators on September 19 and 20, 2020. Previous editions of the festival have hosted notable guests, such as Rupi Kaur, Raja Kumari, Jasmine Sandlas, Mickey Singh, Sandy Lion and more.

“There are approximately 210 million South Asian millennials in North America and India alone; we want to unite and evolve our community beyond physical boundaries. We create a space where artists can meet artists, novices can meet masters, and fans can be inspired to find their inner artist,” shared Tarun Nayar, Executive Director, 5X Festival. “We have always aspired to be a global brand and online community, and although COVID-19 has been devastating for everyone, it has also been a catalyst for us to fast-track towards this goal.”

5X: Race To The Stage, is produced in collaboration with Stepathlon, whose Founder and Chairman Ravi Krishnan also holds the title of 5X Festival’s Non-Executive Chairman. Founded in 2012, Stepathlon is a proven platform that has worked with 722 companies, engaging over 500,000 participants across 1,010 locations in 65 countries.

5X and the Stepathlon teams worked in partnership to develop a virtual, music-centric experience tailored to the global South Asian millennial audience, a purpose made especially urgent due to the current realities of a COVID-19 world.

Discussing the relationship, Krishnan explained, “Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to have been involved in the ‘process of pioneering,’ working at the junction of creative and commerce. This experience has given me a relevant blend of strategic, commercial and execution capabilities that I seek to share for the benefit of the promoters and projects with whom and which I collaborate.

I strongly feel that the opportunity for 5X Festival is substantial and timely. They have laid a solid foundation and with the support of our Stepathlon platform, we can really help propel their growth and expand their reach to create broader, deeper impact and inspiration.”

5X: Race to the Stage embraces movement, creativity and mental health as its three key pillars of overall well-being, which are increasingly important in a time of self-isolation, quarantines and lockdowns. More than ever, there is real desire for music, fun, creative outlets and connection.

This is particularly true for many of the tens of thousands of South Asian international students, who have found themselves stranded and isolated throughout North America at this time. This festival also decidedly continues to highlight 5X’s commitment to their Sustainability and Female-Forward policies by ensuring accessibility for all and gender parity across their festival line-up, board of directors, staff, and membership.

By keeping audiences engaged from ‘screen to stage’, 5X hopes to motivate young people to stay active and connected pre, during, and post-race; help to relieve stress and anxiety; and eventually bring disparate communities together. In previous Stepathlon programs 95.2% of participants reported a positive change in their health and 73% felt a reduction in stress.

Nayar went on to explain how the platform and the race overall is inclusive, fun and easy. Agnostic to gender, location or physical ability, everyone has an equal ability to participate and reap rewards. In today’s global environment, with the arts and music community in a fragile state, 5X: Race to the Stage provides a non-volatile environment focused on content creation, engagement, well-being and relationship building.

5X Festival gratefully acknowledges the support of the City of Surrey, City of Vancouver, Canada Council for the Arts, the Government of Canada, the BC Arts Council, and the Province of British Columbia.

5X: Race to the Stage registration opens June 11, 2020. For more information, please visit:


5X is a global brand and online community that champions South Asian youth culture. They bring the liberated spaces of digital into real, physical experiences. Taking inspiration from both SXSW and Afropunk, 5X Festival, their flagship event, is Canada’s largest South Asian millennial festival showcasing art, fashion, and film. Throughout the year 5X continually engages with open mics, DJ workshops, club nights – and now – online community discussions and weekly Twitch streams.

5X is not interested in presenting the biggest stars, but in highlighting the most liberated, creative personalities. They’re interested in presenting influencers who inspire others to be fully themselves with a focus on creating spaces where artists can meet artists, novices can meet masters, and fans can be inspired to find their inner artist.

For an audience of South Asians with complex identities, their goal is to stimulate free and liberated artistic expression of our lived realities.

5X is also decidedly committed to their Female-Forward and Sustainability policies. 5X ensures gender parity within the festival lineup and staff, and actively seeks to empower womxn, differently-abled, and LGBTQ2+ community members. By 2022, their goal is to achieve zero-waste and carbon neutrality and currently follow best practices as detailed in the ‘Sustainability in Canadian Festivals’ Technical Report (Ryerson University, 2017).

For more information, visit


Stepathlon is a unique health and wellness program that effectively combines wellness and social participation. The Stepathlon Platform is a race around a ‘virtual world’ where real life steps and activities (yoga, swimming and 14 other activities) are combined with gamification (virtual race course) and engagement (contests, challenges and events) to motivate participants to adopt and maintain healthy habits – anytime, anywhere.

Stepathlon focuses on the three key pillars of well-being – movement, nutrition and mental health to help people break the cycle of sedentary behaviour and manage their health and wellbeing through a ‘Sports Marketing approach to Wellness’ which focuses on activation and engagement.

Established in 2012, its original purpose was to engage employees of corporates, members of communities, institutions etc. via a platform that effectively blends wellness, mass / social participation and ‘active’ engagement. Over the past 8 years of operating as a B2B platform, Stepathlon has worked with 722 companies and over 500,000 participants across 1,010 locations in 65 countries.

Stepathlon’s foray into the fan engagement/B2C space in 2019 in partnership with Manchester City FC won the ‘Best Fan Engagement Campaign’ in SPIA 2019 and two awards (Best Engagement and Best Partnership) at Mass Participation World 2019. For more information, visit

Surrey604 is an online magazine and media outlet based in Surrey, BC. Through writing, video, photography, and social media, we secure an intimate reach to the public. We promote local events and causes.

Arts and Entertainment

Feed Your Inner Artist with Surrey Art Gallery’s Art Takeout Courses!



Surrey, BC – Explore your creativity this summer with Surrey Art Gallery’s new Art Takeout courses. These six-week hands-on, interactive programs are a fun way for all to try new mediums and artistic techniques at home. Participants pick up their course materials from Surrey Art Gallery, and each box includes art supplies, links to video lessons, and the opportunity to join in a live online session, to share artwork created.

There are two Art Takeout courses to choose from. Drawing in the Field focuses on learning and practicing drawing skills, including en plein air (in the open air drawing), art journaling, sketching, blind contour, multiple perspectives, and more! This six-week course, led by artist educator Alexandra Thomson, runs from July 20 to August 24, costs $15.

Hand Building with Clay! reimagines the sculptural possibilities of clay. Inspired by contemporary ceramic art, participants learn a variety of techniques including pinch, coil, and slab construction, as well as surface pattern techniques with artist educator Amelia Butcher. This six-week course runs from July 27 to August 31 and the $35 cost includes firing and glazing as well.

“For all ages and abilities, Surrey Art Gallery’s Art Takeout courses invite you to try new artmaking techniques while having fun with family and friends during the summer,” says Alanna Edwards, Surrey Art Gallery Engagement Facilitator. “It’s a way to still feel connected to each other and the artmaking community during this time.”

“I love the feeling of being outside, with the sky, the earth, and all the plants,” says Drawing in the Field artist educator Alexandra Thomson. “Drawing outside is an amazing feeling. I feel connected to the thing I’m drawing. It’s a really careful observation that has an almost meditative quality.”

Art Takeout boxes can be picked up from July 13 for Drawing in in the Field and July 20 for Hand Building with Clay at Surrey Art Gallery. To register for either program, phone the Call Centre at 604 501 5100, or sign up online at

About Surrey Art Gallery | Internationally recognized for its award-winning programs, Surrey Art Gallery, located at 13750 88 Avenue in Surrey, is the second largest public art museum in Metro Vancouver. Founded in 1975, the Gallery presents contemporary art by local, national, and international artists, including digital and audio art.

Its extensive public programs for children through to adults aim to engage the public in an ongoing conversation about issues and ideas that affect our communities and to provide opportunities to interact with artists and the artistic process. Admission is free. Surrey Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of the City of Surrey, Province of BC through BC Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, and the Surrey Art Gallery Association.

In response to the temporary closure of our exhibition and artmaking spaces, Surrey Art Gallery presents Art Together, a series of online programs that explore art and artists in the community, spark the imagination, and celebrate the ways that art can impact our lives. Although the Surrey Arts Centre is temporarily closed, Surrey Art Gallery is open online. Visit us virtually, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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Arts and Entertainment

Stewart Farm to Offer Guided Outdoor Tours



A New Way to Experience the Heritage Site

Surrey, BC – Starting July 14, Historic Stewart Farm will offer guided outdoor tours of the popular heritage site. The new modified service follows new protocols to ensure community safety as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Visitors must pre-register, with groups limited to 10 people. Tours of the historic site will be available Tuesday to Friday afternoons from 1:00 to 3:30pm.

Registrations times will be available every thirty minutes with the final tour beginning at 3:00pm. Guests are required to pre-register online with their MySurrey account. Registration opens July 6.

“With people staying safe and closer to home this summer, I encourage Surrey residents to get out and explore all that Surrey has to offer,” said Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. “Historic Stewart Farm’s heritage tours are a great option for families to discover our local history and enjoy some time outdoors.”

Highlights of the 30-minute outdoor tour include the 1894 Farmhouse, Pole Barn, heirloom gardens, root cellar, boat building and former threshing shed. Tours will lead visitors around the picturesque site, exploring the grounds and the history of the area, the Stewart Family, and the farm itself.

Exclusively outdoors, visitors are advised to dress for the weather to maximize their tour experience. A visit through the heritage Pole barn will be included, marked with a one-way route to ensure physical distancing. All other buildings will be closed. Historic Stewart Farm is a one-of-a-kind heritage venue located at 13723 Crescent Road within Elgin Heritage Park, along the Nicomekl River. Entrance is free.

For more information, call 604-591-4627. or visit
Follow the Farm on Facebook at @HeritageSurrey or on Instagram at @StewartFarmBC.

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Arts and Entertainment

Big Splash is Back for Another Hot Season – Social Distancing Style




TSAWWASSEN, BC – Metro Vancouver’s favourite water park is reopening for the season on Canada Day, July 1st, 2020! The 7-acre resort-inspired park features 13 body and tube waterslides for kids and adults of all ages. Due to COVID-19, the park will operate at 35% capacity with extra safety precautions to ensure everyone can enjoy their summer, safely, 7 days a week.

This year, Big Splash has made several important changes to ensure their staff and guests can feel safe while enjoying the sunshine and water slides. They will be conducting temperature checks and screenings on all employees and guests at entry. They have added hand sanitizing stations, outdoor showers, and created one-directional walkways and paths to waterslides.

There will be limits on how many people can be in a pool and hot tub at once. And this year, families will be allowed to bring in 1 cooler of food and drinks (no outside alcohol allowed). To ensure admission, guests are encouraged to book a cabana or table online for a specific date and admission tickets in the same transaction.

This is the perfect summer venue for birthday parties, family reunions, and corporate events. With a full-service cabana and tent rentals available, you can sit back and relax as you and your loved ones have fun. Big Splash offers a fully licenced bar and patio, with delicious summer-inspired cocktails and ice-cold beers on tap!

With two eateries available on site you can enjoy summer favourites made in-house with burgers, pizza, salads, poutines, fish & chips and more! “2020 has been a difficult year for many, and we hope that Big Splash can make a difference. With safety in mind, we plan to open our water park this year at 35% capacity to allow families to enjoy the sunshine and have a break while working together to flatten the curve.

We want to thank our first responders for the hard work they have been doing and want to assure our guests that we will do everything to keep our facility safe for everyone.”- Tamara Tam, Director of Operations. To learn more about the safety precautions, directions to the park, hours of operation, ticket information, ride information and more, please visit our website

About Big Splash Water Park | Owned and operated by Executive Hotels & Resorts since 2017, Big Splash Water Park is a Metro Vancouver favourite, located in sunny Tsawwassen. Offering endless fun and water activities for people of all ages, the 7-acre resort-style park has 13 water slides to choose from.

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Arts and Entertainment

Surrey Libraries Launches Takeout Service



Patrons can order books, DVDs, Summer Reading Club materials, and more.

Surrey, BC – Surrey Libraries has announced the launch of contactless Takeout service at six branches serving Surrey’s town centres. City Centre, Cloverdale, Fleetwood, Guildford, Newton, and Semiahmoo library branches will be providing the service starting June 26.

“Whether you pick up a book to enrich your personal knowledge, for your scholastic studies, or for the pure joy of reading, I know the act of holding and opening up a new book is one of the great and simple pleasures of life,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “Not everyone likes reading on digital devices and many people in our community rely on our libraries for books for themselves and their children. I am delighted that Surrey Libraries will be offering this takeout service, starting just in time for children to join in on Summer Reading Club activities.”

“The response from our community through the Resuming Library Services Survey was clear,” said Neelam Sahota, chair of the Board of Trustees of Surrey Libraries. “People are eager to borrow physical materials like books and DVDs and return the items they’ve had at home since March. However, people also told us that they’re not ready to come back into the branches for programming or browsing just yet.”

To access the service, library members can either call one of the six participating branches or fill out an online form at Patrons will be able to pick up their holds and return items when they arrange a pickup time.

Borrowers will also enjoy an extended due date of September 8 on newly borrowed materials. All materials returned to the library will be held in a 72-hour quarantine before being put back into circulation. Studies have shown that the COVID-19 virus can survive up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel; therefore, the 72-hour quarantine will provide ample time to ensure that trace amounts of virus on books and other materials are eradicated.

With regard to reopening branches, the Library is taking a phased and cautious approach. “The health and safety of our staff and patrons is our top priority as we implement our reopening plans,” said Surinder Bhogal, Chief Librarian. “We have added safety protocols such as physical distancing, quarantining materials, proper hand hygiene, frequent surface sanitization, and installing plexiglass barriers at service counters.

We remain committed to providing as much service as possible. We’ll evaluate the Takeout service and may extend to other branches, and we’re working toward reopening some library branches after Labour Day.”

For people who enjoy digital materials, Surrey Libraries has tripled the number of eBooks and eAudiobooks ordered each month, substantially increased the size of the eSuperloan collection, and launched weekly titles available without holds for quicker access to new reading material and popular titles.

For more information, visit

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Arts and Entertainment

Summer is Back at Arts Umbrella



Due to COVID-19, our original Summer Camp schedule was made obsolete. This, however, did not stop us from continuing to evolve and adapt our curriculum to new learning environments. Our new summer offerings include a mix of online learning and in-studio classes that accommodate new safety measures as approved by the Province of BC. Our classes follow the same excellent curriculum and high-quality instruction that Arts Umbrella is known for. Below is a snapshot of our offerings.

Art & Design

From Drawing & Painting, to Mixed Media, to Cartooning and Comic Creation, we’re offering a mix of small in- person studio classes and online programs to provide young people with visual arts skills and techniques, as well as inspire new levels of creativity. We are also offering an online Drawing & Painting Intensive for teens (13-19) in August. In this program, artist-instructors will guide students in independent research into artists and history.

From that, inspiration and knowledge will inform students to create original works at home during online classes. Participants will also investigate the ideas in their work, while refining fundamental skills such as composition, design, and colour theory. In conversation with their peers, students will also explore and practice constructive critique.


We have reduced class sizes for our Junior and Teen Summer Dance Intensives. As always, this program features classes in ballet, character, modern, repertoire, and jazz with special guest instructors and Arts Umbrella faculty. These Intensives offer young dancers a comprehensive way to maintain fitness and prepare for regular classes in September.

Theatre & Music

From Acting to Musical Theatre, and Shakespeare to Puppetry, our Summer Session Theatre & Music classes give young artists a strong foundation for further classes. We also offer a number of in-person and online Intensives in for more experienced students. Whether students are interested in acting for the stage or film and TV, these programs can help bring their skills to the next level.

This year, we’re also offering some new online programs for students who want to further their singing and musical theatre skills: Song Study, Voice Lessons, and Curbside Cabaret.

Arts Umbrella is back for Summer, with classes starting July 6, 2020. Registration is now open for online, outdoor, and small in-person classes at:

Over the past few months, Arts Umbrella has been testing innovative ways to bring arts education to young people through online programs. This summer, children, youth, and teens can take online classes in Art & Design, and Theatre & Music. In addition to the online experience, Arts Umbrella will also be open for some small in-person classes in a safe studio environment.

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