If you weren’t there, it’s kind of hard to explain what happened in Kitsilano yesterday. As I sat atop the roof of Zulu Records, drinking absolutely delicious 49th Parallel Hopparrazzi india pale ale, a conversation broke out about Vancouver’s ability to throw a party. One guy said that Vancouver was a lot better than it used to be and that those who complained just hadn’t put themselves out there. He pointed to the Greek festival as a fine example.
Well, I was at the Greek festival a few weeks ago. It sucked. It was boring and uninspired. The only thing you could do was walk around and line up for souvlaki. In a word, it lacked entertainment.
Then along came the little festival that could. Khatsahlano laid out 10 stages and put up 40 bands. The clouds cleared and the crowds came and poof! you had that rare event in Vancouver – the free music festival.
The day began appropriately enough with a yoga session on the street, directly in front of a stage that would soon belt out aggressive retro 90′s music. It was the calm before the storm.
Patios were temporarily extended into the street, fenced in like beer gardens. You could feel Vancouver pull the wedgie out of its rear end and loosen up. If only the patios could stay there year round – or at least for the summer.
There were people in costume and some in costume and little else.
With too many bands to name, I’ll just show a few of the early acts. The headliners included the Zolas, the Matinee and Bend Sinister.
And there was the rooftop patio of Zulu Records – the owners of which had the brainchild to kick the cars off the street for one day only and hold a shaker. May their shelves be empty today and their register full as they deserve the business after such a fantastic display of what Vancouver can be, if it just shrugged off the chip on its shoulder and stopped trying to be so damn cool.
On this rooftop, the conversation invariably turned to the transformation occurring across the city. The hipness of Main and Mount Pleasant, the growth of Gastown with it’s $500 used frames, $1000 trunks and restaurants run by skinny-jeaned restauranteurs. It was all applauded (except for the overpriced garbage some stores sell), but then came the moment of absolute truth. The man with tattooed arms said he loved his condo in Chinatown but, if he could, he’d live in Kitsilano. Heck, it has everything, the beach, the nature and yes, on this day, it had the atmosphere.
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