Metro Vancouver’s 5X Festival
Running since 2004, including under its previous name until 2017, the 5X Festival is an annual multi-day festival.
Historically, the event’s focus has been on sharing Punjabi culture, music and dance with the greater community. Today the focus is on celebrating South Asian arts in general.
Festival Dates and Location
The 5X Festival runs primarily from June 12th until the 16th in 2019, although it may have an extra event around May 31st.
For an idea of what to expect, festival activities in 2018 that took place at various venues in both Vancouver and Surrey included:
- Celebrities Night Club – at 1022 Davie Street in Vancouver (for the 5X Pre-Party on June 1st.)
- Space An Art Gallery – at 1063 Hamilton Street in Vancouver (for the 5X Art Party on June 13th)
- Surrey City Hall – at 13450 104th Avenue in Surrey (for the 2 Vs 2 Bhangra Competition and 5X Fanfest on June 16th)
- Central City Plaza – at 10153 King George Boulevard in Surrey (for the 2 Vs 2 Bhangra Competition and 5X Block Party on June 17th)
- Blackbird Hall – at 10768 King George Boulevard in Surrey (for the 5X After Dark event on June 17th)
2018 Festival Events
In 2018 the 5X Festival featured 6 main events: the 5X Pre-Party, 5X Art Party, 5X Fanfest, 2 Vs 2 Bhangra Competition, 5X Block Party and the 5X After Dark event.
The 5X Pre-Party took place in Vancouver on Friday, June 1st, at Celebrities Nightclub (which is famous for its night life and LGBTQ+ culture). It’s a South Asian-themed party with some of the city’s top DJs that kicks off the festival a couple of weeks early.
5X Art Party
The 5X Art Party took place on Wednesday, June 13th, from 7 until 10 pm in Vancouver at The Space An Art Gallery at 1063 Hamilton Street. Tickets cost $25 and the event involves visual arts, photography, fashion and a team of young South Asian artists.
5X Fanfest was a panel discussion-style event that took place on Saturday, June 16th, from 5 until 9 pm at Surrey City Hall. The event included panel discussions with YouTubers, musicians, actors and other artists, along with question and answer sessions, live music and food.
The event was free, but you do needed to RSVP. Click 5X Fanfest for details.
2 Vs 2 Bhangra Competition
The 2 Vs 2 Bhangra Competition was on the weekend of June 16-17, 2018.
On Saturday, June 16th, Rounds 1 and 2 of the competition took place from 11 am until 2 pm at Centre Stage at Surrey City Hall at 13450 104 Avenue. On Sunday, June 17th, Rounds 3 and 4 happened from 1 until 3 pm at Central City Plaza (outside the SFU Surrey campus).
The 5X Festival’s 2 Vs 2 Bhangra Competition involved three dozen Bhangra dance teams who battle it out for cash prizes of $1000, $500 and $250. (Note: auditions for the event take place via online video submissions in May).
5X Block Party
The 5X Block Party was a block party at Central City Plaza on Sunday, June 17th, from 3 until 9 pm. It’s was free event that featured local DJs, Bhangra dancing and other fun stuff!
5X After Dark
The 5X After Dark event took place on Sunday, June 17th, from 9 pm until the wee hours of the following day at Blackbird Hall at 10768 King George Boulevard in Surrey (which is conveniently just down the street from Central City Plaza and the 5X Block Party). Tickets cost $20.
What is Bhangra?
Bhangra is a style of East Indian music and folk dance from the Punjab region of Pakistan and India that became popular in the 1970s and 1980s in Great Britain.
Originally performed frequently in the Punjab by labourers, Bhangra served as a way for young folk to bridge social and racial divides, connect people with their cultural heritage and strengthen local communities through the dance and music.
Since 2004, the City of Bhangra Festival continued the tradition of connecting people – the mission of the organisation behind the event has been to educate, foster community engagement and stimulate artistic innovation. Today, the 5X Festival continues the tradition.
For more information about the event in Vancouver and Surrey, see the 5X Festival website.
If you like Bhangra, East Indian culture and this kind of event, other local East Indian cultural events you’ll probably enjoy include the following:
For information on other kinds of events throughout the year, see Vancouver’s Festivals and Events Calendar.