By Jamila Pomeroy
VANCOUVER – Khatsahlano, by name, pays tribute to the First Nations that inhabited Vancouver for over three thousand years. The name is a specific tribute to Chief August Jack Khatsahlano; a Squamish medicine man who was immensely instrumental in the recording of his people, geographical climate of the area, and its history and traditions.
Through the festival, Vancouverites celebrate the past, as well as present contributors to the music and art scene. The festival spans the carless streets of West 4th Avenue, between Burrard and MacDonald — remaining Vancouver’s largest free music and arts festival. With aims to highlight the general laid-back nature of West 4th, the festival casts throwbacks of 60s festival culture — Woodstock being in the minds of organizers during its inception.
Created in 2011, the festival has continued to grow and expand along with the neighborhood, while retaining its chill, close to the beach vibe. “The festival is really a chance for West 4th businesses to connect with the community. It’s really a great community event, showcasing all the area has to offer,” says Jane McFadden, Executive Director of the West 4th BIA, which hosts the festival.
Khatsahlano features multiple stages showcasing a diverse line-up of over 50 artists. Musicians featured span a wide range of genres, and include artists such as; Bif Naked, Frazey Ford, Jasper Sloan Yip, and Kimmortal. “We have a mural that we are unveiling with two local artists, Tiko Kerr and Jay Senetchko” says McFadden. The mural covers a wall on the outside of Romers Burgers, on the 1800 block of West 4th. There will also be a wine garden outfitted with green foliage, and tables and chairs: a more artful and serene take on the traditional beer garden. “The artists will be there on hand. The mural is a real mix of Canadian artists, and is called ‘The Gift of the Given.’ We really just wanted to make a space that’s not a beer garden, but a wine garden, that just has a different vibe.”
The West Coast Living Stage (at 4th and Yew) will be making a comeback with a few new added shows and events, including fashion shows featuring clothing from businesses on West 4th and in collaboration with Vancouver Fashion Week. Other events include food and drink features with samples for select spectators. “We have two bartenders that are going to be making Vodka cocktails: one from Silk Road Teas, with one of their teas mixed with vodka.”
Aside from wine garden lounging, complex cocktails, and vibrant music, McFadden explains there will be plenty of activities for children and families. The Toys R Us sponsored Khats Kids stage (at 4th and Trafalgar) features many kid friendly performances. “For the first time there is music all day long [at the children’s stage]. We found that there are so many families that go to Khatsahlano, so we’ve got it going straight until 8pm.”
Khatsahlano takes plce on July 7 from 11:00am – 9:00pm on West 4th Avenue, between Burrard and MacDonald.