Producing a festival that goes until the end of August means that you don’t get to go summer adventuring as much as many of the other folks on Instagram. Instead I’ve really loved being a Vines Artist Groupie, getting out to all sorts of events where Vines artists have been performing around town. I thought I’d give you a quick recap of what some of them have been up to this summer and why you should make it out to see them at Vines on August 19th.

On July 2nd a group of grassroots folks got together to host the event “Unsettling Canada 150” with the message that “Canada 150 is a celebration of Indigenous Genocide.” Here we witnessed a traditional welcome and song from Cease Wyss, songs from Kwiigay iiwaans, poems from Crystal Smith and Valeen Jules alongside many other powerful artists on a hill side full of warm people in New Brighton Park. A highlight for me was Cedar Parker and his sister reading their grandfather Chief Dan George’s “Lament for Confederation.”

In Early July at Dancing on the Edge Festival Arash Khakpour performed with Emmalena Fredriksson a new work Untitedistance with a clear value of humaneness, questioning how we communicate with one another and what one question can reveal through our bodies. Kelly McInnes presented a work at Left of Main “Acclimatize” – an exploration of our relationship with our bodies, natural environment and capitalist values of productivity. Elissa HansonArash Khakpour and Matthew Tomkinson were also found in a meeting room performing a work by Kinesis. Finally, All Bodies Dance did a whimsical and heart-warming short public performance outside the roundhouse which featured Harmonie Taylor and Sarah Lapp. This was a lovely two weeks of dance watching as I went to each show with a group of youths!

At Paddle for the Peace Kelly McInnes and Taylor Pearon brought back their piece 2 degrees from Vines 2016 festival. It was wonderful to see the piece in the Ocean this time around. I also heard the beautiful voices of Jaz Whitford and Kwiigay iiwaans, singing and speaking their words of resistance. They will be collaborating on August 19th at 630 PM at Trout Lake.

I have been fortunate to be moved by Snotty Nose Rez Kids twice this summer, once at a bar in gastown, the energy was buzzing. I felt so touched by how much heart there was on stage and in the audience and was blessed to be a part of it. I got to watch SNRK again at the Drum is Calling Festival, this time on a BIG stage with a runway, which was well taken advantage of! I left beaming with hope and energy. Check them out on August 19th at 700 PM to close Vines!

In the same week Valeen Jules was the featured poet at the Youth Slam where we heard some of their tender and resonant words. Then again at the Drum is Calling Fest alongside four other outstanding poets.

I have been learning and unlearning a lot this summer from these artists and doing my best to understand  how I can create space for these artists with integrity and generosity. Thank you to all these artists for making my summer wonderful.

Come out and see these folks and others perform at Vines, it’s really a special group and I hope you can find the time to see and hear them!

– Heather Lamoureux
Artistic Director