The Powell Street Festival is the largest Japanese Canadian festival in the country and the longest running community arts celebration in Vancouver! Enjoy traditional and contemporary Japanese Canadian performances and demonstrations, including taiko drumming, sumo wrestling, martial arts, bonsai and ikebana, folk and modern dance, alternative pop/rock/urban music, visual arts, film/video, as well as historical walking tours, tea ceremonies, and a fantastic array of Japanese food, crafts, & displays.

Every BC Day Long Weekend, 11:30am to 7:00pm

See below for info about past Festivals.

42nd Annual Festival 2018

41st Annual Festival 2017

40th Annual Festival 2016

39th Annual Festival 2015

38th Annual Festival 2014

37th Annual Festival 2013

36th Annual Festival 2012

35th Annual Festival 2011

34th Annual Festival 2010

33rd Annual Festival 2009

32nd Annual Festival 2008

31st Annual Festival 2007

30th Annual Festival 2006

29th Annual Festival 2005


42nd Annual Powell Street Festival

Oppenheimer Park (400 block of Powell Street)
Firehall Arts Centre (280 E. Cordova Street)
Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall (475 Alexander Street)
Vancouver Buddhist Temple (220 Jackson Avenue)
Centre A Gallery (268 Keefer Street)

View our full print Festival program here!!
Download our PDF two day Festival schedule here!


 

41st Annual Powell Street Festival

Oppenheimer Park (400 block of Powell Street)
Firehall Arts Centre (280 E. Cordova Street)
Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall (475 Alexander Street)
Vancouver Buddhist Temple (220 Jackson Avenue)

Download the entire 2017 Festival Program Guide (PDF, 9MB) or just the Festival 2017 Schedule (PDF, 1MB) to see all of the activities, times, and locations.

This 2017 extravaganza included a new interactive installation entitled “Macro Maki”, a special presentation on Japan’s Third Gender, a panel with two of Haruki Murakami’s top translators, and a performance by the dynamic duo George and Noriko – a Japanese blues cowboy and Tsugaru samisen player from Melbourne, Australia.

 


2016 Powell Street Festival Poster by Lynda Nakashima.

40th Annual Powell Street Festival

Saturday, July 30th & Sunday, July 31st, 2016
11:30am to 7:00pm

Oppenheimer Park (400 block of Powell Street)
Firehall Arts Centre (280 E. Cordova Street)
Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall (475 Alexander Street)
Vancouver Buddhist Temple (220 Jackson Avenue)

Download the Festival Program Guide (PDF, 24 MB)
Download the 2016 Festival Schedule (PDF, 7 MB)

Powell Street Festival, Canada’s largest festival of Japanese arts and culture, celebrates 40 years with a weekend full of live performances, martial arts, beautiful crafts, and delicious Japanese food! This year’s festival promises to be one of our biggest and best to date. Attendees will discover an interactive section in the park, a street party on Alexander Street, and all the beloved hallmarks of this unique event.

The eclectic lineup of performers included Australian koto virtuoso Miyama McQueen-Tokita, Tutchone-Japanese Tlinget-Scottish folk singer Diyet, and the premiere of Chordophone, the violalooping electronica brainchild of brothers Marcus and James Takizawa.

 


39th Annual Powell Street Festival poster

The 39th Annual Powell Street Festival

Saturday, August 1st & Sunday, August 2nd, 2015
11:30am to 7:00pm

Oppenheimer Park (400 block of Powell Street)
Firehall Arts Centre (280 E. Street)
Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall (475 Alexander Street)
Vancouver Buddhist Temple (220 Jackson Avenue)
Centre A (229 E. Georgia Street)

View our online 2015 Festival Schedule.

Download the 2015 Festival Program Guide (PDF, 12.5 MB) or just the the 2015 Festival Schedule (PDF, 1.7 MB).

Powell Street Festival, Canada’s largest festival of Japanese arts and culture, celebrates its 39th year with a weekend jam-packed with live performances, martial arts, beautiful crafts, and delicious Japanese food! In 2015, we were thrilled to present a diverse extravaganza that juggles the traditional and cutting edge: in addition to Festival staples like Sumo Fun Club, Omikoshi, Tanko Bushi, Sakura Singers, and a wide array of martial arts, we were pleased to present Cuban inspired pianist Niho Takase; monster jazz drummer Bernie Arai; avant-garde muse Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa; Calgary-based movement artist Mark Ikeda; Butoh-inspired sensation Kokoro Dance; comedy troupe Assaulted Fish; and our mega-taiko event, Against The Current, featuring the combined forces of Katari Taiko, Sawagi Taiko, Sansho Daiko, and Chibi Taiko. Powell Street Festival also hosted a number of events that explored the rich and complex history of the many communities who have called the Downtown Eastside home: in addition to our Powell Street Historical Walking Tours, given throughout the weekend by Nikkei National Museum, we were proud to present Labour Landscapes: A Storytelling Walk, which explored the multicultural labour history of the DTES; and Nikkei Stories of Powell Street: a film/new media project that brings to life the historical Japanese Canadian presence in the Powell Street area.

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powell street festival 2014

38th Annual Powell Street Festival

Saturday, August 2nd & Sunday, August 3rd, 2014
11:30am to 7:00pm

Alexander Street (between Princess and Dunlevy Avenues) and Jackson Avenue (between Railway and Cordova Streets).

For the 2014 Festival, the new site spanned approximately 4 city blocks and will have one main stage located on Alexander Street west of Jackson Avenue. As well, our other venues did not changed! More info ›
Firehall Arts Centre (280 E. Street)
Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall (475 Alexander Street)
Vancouver Buddhist Temple (220 Jackson Avenue)
Centre A (229 E. Georgia Street)
Ming Sun – Uchida Building (439 Powell Street)
Click here to download the 2014 Festival Program Guide (PDF, 15MB)


37th Annual Powell Street Festival poster – by Janice Wu, 2013

37th Annual Powell Street Festival!

Saturday, August 3rd and Sunday, August 4th, 2013
11:30am to 7:00pm
Oppenheimer Park (400 Block Powell Street)

Download the 2013 programme (4.8 MB).

Weekend Highlights

A reading by 
Mariko Tamaki
 (ON), author of Skim and (You) Set Me on Fire; 
Omodaka
, a multimedia project led by 
Soichi Terada
 (Japan) that mixes Minyo (Japanese traditional-flavored folk song) and electronic music with motion graphics (watch a video); performances by 
Robson 800 Crew
 (BC), 
Rhythm Recall
 (BC), 
Tetsu Taiko and Dead Beat Ninjas
 (BC), improvisation loop-pedal sensation 
Doug Koyama
 (BC), indie dream pop performer 
Ohara
 (QC), 
Spring
 (BC), and dancer 
Aretha Aoki
 (BC); and the second year of the 
Jackson Avenue Block Party performance space and marketplace
.

Theme for 2013: Champion
PSF celebrated artistic champions who have risen above an array of challenges in order to create dynamic works and build stronger communities. This included Mitch Miyagawa’s film A Sorry State, which investigates the impact of the state apology on individuals who have borne the brunt of Canada’s colonial and racist past; a new work by taiko drummer Tiffany Tamaribuchi (USA) for Canada’s trailblazing taiko ensemble Katari Taiko (BC); and a stirring debut performance of the butoh-flavoured Pond by dance artist Tomomi Morimoto (QC).

Poster design by Janice Wu

2013 Festival Events

FESTIVAL LAUNCH WITH OMODAKA
August 2, 2013, 8:00pm

Centre A (229 East Georgia Street, Vancouver)
Soichi Terada, the electro producer of Omodaka combines traditional minyo (folk music) with contemporary electronic sounds performed in tandem to projected videos. The mask-wearing chip-tune enthusiast plucks live melodies from modified video game hand-helds to create live performances of bleeps and blips with traditional Japanese singing. Limited seating and by donation. watch a video ›

YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN
August 3rd, 2013, 8:00pm

Roundhouse Community Centre (181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver)
Tickets $5 for youth (24 and under)/$20 (advance/students/seniors/members) at brownpapertickets.com /
$25 at the door
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan are a psychedelic noh-wave opera group fusing noise, metal, pop and folk music into a multidisciplinary hyper-orientalist cesspool of East-meets-West culture clash in giant monochrome paper sets. Founded in late 2007 by performance artists Alaska B and Ruby Kato Attwood, YT // ST is an Asian, Indigenous and Diasporic Art Collective that was shortlisted for the 2012 Polaris Prize. Presented in partnership with Queer Arts Festival.

WHEN THE SUN COMES OUT
August 5th, 7th & 9th, 7:30pm

Roundhouse Community Centre (181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver)
Tickets: $30 in advance (brownpaper-tickets.com) / $35 at the door
A story of forbidden love, divided loyal- ties and culture clash unfolds in When the Sun Comes Out. This lesbian opera explores the oppression that queers face and the risks they take, in nations where homosexuality is illegal. Written by composer Leslie Uyeda and poet Rachel Rose. Directed by James Fagan Tait. Featuring Teiya Kasahara, Julia Morgan and Aaron Durand. Commissioned by the Queer Arts Festival and co-presented by the Powell Street Festival.


34th Powell Street Festival poster – by Cindy Mochizuki, 201236th Annual Powell Street Festival!
Saturday, August 4th and Sunday, August 5th, 2012
11:30am to 7:00pm
Oppenheimer Park (400 Block Powell Street)

Firehall Arts Centre (280 E. Cordova), Vancouver Japanese Language School & Hall (475 Alexander), Chapel Arts (304 Dunlevy), Japanese Canadian National Museum (6688 Southoaks, Burnaby), Blim (115 East Pender)
Download full 2012 Festival programme.

In 2012, it had been thirty six years since the inaugural Powell Street Festival, and in that time we’d grown from a small community event to a full-blown arts & culture celebration attended by thousands each year. We are grateful to all the participants, volunteers, funders, attendees, and our DTES community for supporting our efforts these past number of years!

Poster design by Cindy Mochizuki

 


35th Annual Powell Street Festival 201135th Annual Powell Street Festival
Saturday, July 30th and Sunday, July 31st, 2011
11:30 am to 7 pm
Oppenheimer Park (400 Powell Street)

Firehall Arts Centre (280 E. Cordova), Vancouver Japanese Language School & Hall (475 Alexander), Chapel Arts (304 Dunlevy), Japanese Canadian National Museum (6688 Southoaks, Burnaby), Blim (115 East Pender)

Download the Programme (PDF, 2.7MB) and Schedule (PDF, 1MB) as printed in The Bulletin.

Weekend Highlights

Reading by Nina Matsumoto, the Eisner Award-winning artist behind the Yokaiden manga series currently completing artwork for The Last Airbender: Zuko’s Story, World premiere of Tashme Project by Julie Tamiko Manning (QC) and Matt Miwa (ON), a theatrical retelling of stories from the Tashme internment camp, Cross-cultural collaboration between Chibi Taiko (BC) and the Aboriginal Youth Drumming Group Spakwus Slulum (BC), Sei Trio, an international musical exchange featuring Yuki Isami (Japan), Keiko Devaux (QC), and Vivien Nishi (BC), Performances by Canadian emcee Nish Raawks (ON), energetic dance troupe the 605 Collective (BC), experimental jazz band Robots on Fire (BC), electro-acoustic group Densabi (BC), and many more

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34th Powell Street Festival – by Sleepless Kao, 201034th Annual Powell Street Festival
Saturday, July 31st and Sunday, August 1st, 2010, 11:30 am to 7 pm
Oppenheimer Park (400 block Powell Street)

Download the schedule (1.1 MB) and the full programme (3.8 MB) as printed in The Bulletin.

The Powell Street Festival headed home in 2010! After a one-year relocation in 2009 to Woodland Park, the Powell Street Festival returned to its traditional home in the newly-renovated Oppenheimer Park. Taking inspiration from the Japanese notion of Koen debut, or Park debut, whereupon neighbourhood toddlers are introduced to their local community, the 34th Annual Powell Street Festival celebrates the idea of neighbourhood, youth, children, the park and its landscape.

Festival Weekend Highlights
Cross-disciplinary collaboration by Toronto-based contemporary dancer Andrea Nann and Vancouver theatre artist Maiko Bae Yamamoto • World premiere of the Podplay Ground Zero, a downloadable audio theatre piece (320 kbps or 128 kbps) by NeWorld Theatre (Vancouver) • Performances by local bluegrass band Shout!WhiteDragon, butoh innovators Kokoro Dance (Vancouver), New York singer Yoko Kikuchi, Katari Taiko (Vancouver) with Mario Zetina, and many more • Screening of award-winning video art from Japan

The Theme for 2010: Park/Koen
Returning to its traditional home in Oppenheimer Park after a one-year relocation, Powell Street Festival Society (PSFS) celebrated its return and its 34th year with the theme of Park/Koen. As important places of congregation and community, Oppenheimer Park is a source of escape, celebration and rejuvenation. Heralding the city-directed and community-based renovation of Oppenheimer Park, PSFS looks back to its grassroots origins and to its future as a community-based organization and presenter of challenging experimental arts. Like Oppenheimer Park where nature meets cultivation, PSFS’ 34th year celebrated the confluence between the wilder side of artistic expression as well as the more refined traditional forms of art.

Oppenheimer Park is inseparable from the organization’s 1977 birth. It is the locus of the formerly-named Powell Grounds, and is the centre of Vancouver’s early 20th century Japanese Canadian community, once a busy gathering site for baseball games and big community gatherings. 2010 aimed to re-entrench the stable roots of the past and build strong local connections, reflecting on this newly seeded and reborn environment. Taking inspiration from the Japanese notion of Koen debut, or Park debut, whereupon neighbourhood toddlers are introduced to their local community, PSFS will focus particularly on the idea of neighbourhood, youth, children, the park and its landscape itself. The season’s many shades of Park themed events began with the artistic collaboration between Andrea Nann and Maiko Bae Yamamoto who performed a new interdisciplinary work set in the historic Vancouver Japanese Language School (located nearby the Park), a new series of youth-directed and community-based theatrical PodPlays set in the Oppenheimer area by NeWorld Theatre, performances by local bluegrass band Shout!WhiteDragon, and the experimental performance and public interactive exchange by Tochka Factory. This series of events in 2010 brought in new artists and created many opportunities for creative collaborations.

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33rd Powell Street Festival – by Kazuko Kusumoto, 200933rd Annual Powell Street Festival
Migration
Saturday, August 1st and Sunday, August 2nd, 2009
Woodland Park (Woodland and Adanac)

Download the 2009 Festival schedule (pdf) by clicking here. To download a pdf of the entire program, click here.

Some highlights of the 33rd annual Powell Street Festival included: Singing and drumming collaboration between Sawagi Taiko and First Nations performance group Tiqilap • Contemporary chamber music by Tiresias • Martial arts demonstrations • Screening of Empty Orchestra: video collaborations between karaoke singers and new media artists • Performances by Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre, dancer Aretha Aoki (BC/USA), Kokoro Dance (Vancouver), Performance duo Elfin Saddle (Montreal), and contemporary taiko performer Kenny Endo (USA) • Documentaries by Tadashi Nakamura • Literary readings by Asian Canadian writers • Historical Walking Tours

Poster by Kazuko Kusumoto.

The Powell Street Festival had free bicycle parking in 2009!

The Bicycle Valet service is a free, safe and secure solution for event goers. It allows attendees to store all non-motorized transportation while they enjoy an event without the worry of where they lock or store their bike.
BEST_and_BV_logo_darker_green

It’s quite simple. Patrons sign a claim check, give us their bike and keep the stub. When they want to leave, they bring back the stub and their bike/belongings are returned. For more info go to www.thebicyclevalet.com.

2009 Festival Theme: MIGRATION: Change & Exchange
In 2009, the Powell Street Festival explores the concept of Migration as it is expressed within Japanese Canadian identity. For the 33rd festival, the theme of Migration is negotiated on both the macro and micro levels. Allowing for the expression of the Japanese Canadian cross-cultural migratory experience and the fusion that has resulted, Migration also explores intergenerational and interdisciplinary exchange. It presents a temporal and spatial migration back to Japanese hereditary traditions as well as the exploration of contemporary media, technology, arts and cultures, and the new trajectories that they provide.

Cultural change is so often a result of migration—people adapting to foreign lands and communities. Although the migratory experience can heighten the hold on hereditary traditions, culture itself is by no means static; it is in a constant state of evolution. However, the speed of cultural evolution has been compounded by the rise of globalization and the subsequent decay of geographical barriers. People, ideas, and cultural expressions have greater mobility. The resulting exchanges have born forth fusions of seemingly disparate cultures.

In ancient times, Japan borrowed many things from their neighbour China, including written language, pottery, martial arts, and religion. However, in the contemporary era, Japan has extended its absorption of culture beyond Asian borders. Renowned for their contemporary anime and manga, the Japanese have borne this distinctive aesthetic by fusing Japanese style with Western animation and comics that traversed the waters post WWII. Whereas some of these cultural elements are now perceived as distinctly Japanese, the Powell Street Festival redefines these ideas of the traditional and the contemporary. Bridging a multiplicity of cultures, the Powell Street Festival demarcates a fusion territory of hybrid Japanese Canadian identity.

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32nd Powell Street Festival poster – by Kathy Shimizu, 200832nd Annual Powell Street Festival
Sensu
Saturday, August 2nd & Sunday, August 3rd, 2008
Oppenheimer Park (400 block of Powell Street)

Download the 2008 Festival schedule (pdf) by clicking here

Some highlights of the 32nd annual Powell Street Festival included: a taiko extravaganza featuring several Vancouver-based taiko groups and Jodaiko, featuring Tiffany Tamaribuchi from California • Martial arts demonstrations • New work by Kokoro Dance commemorating the 20th Anniversary of Japanese Canadian redress • Dress me up in your love, an intimate theatrical experience by Theatre Replacement • Dance performances by Hiromoto Ida/Ichigo Ichieh Dance (Nelson) and mask and mime artist Yayoi Hirano • Launch of pH6,a collection of haiku-inflected poetry by six Asian Canadian writers • Jazz by Yuji Nakajima’s Coracao Boemio • Historical Walking Tours of the Powell Street area • Animated shorts by Japanese Canadian filmmakers

Poster by Kathy Shimizu.

2008 Festival Theme: Sensu
Sensu: An all-encompassing, modern Japanese word meaning “style,” derived from the English word “sense.” Also literally translated as traditional Japanese fan, a symbol of Japanese functional art.

Design is a process of relating. Whether to our time, our place, or each other, every moment of relating is an opportunity for interaction and with interaction, an opportunity for design. By attempting to describe how we live while defining our limitations, design allows us to form our ideas so that they may meet in a level field and be sculpted by those at play. Design from Japan is refined. A limitation of resources combined with an ongoing dialog between the tradition of craft and the chaos of play has created recognizable artefacts from centuries past to the present day. It is both a reaction to the world which has formed it as well as an exemplary method for living in that world.

Sensu explored how on one side of the field stand the history, tradition, and limitations that have formed our past; and on the other side, stands the contemporary reaction to a modern climate of technology and excess. Where the two interact, stands opportunity. A focus on visual arts, media arts and performances that interact with other media were explored and shown in Sensu.
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31st Powell Street Festival poster – by Lynda Nakazhima, 200731st Powell Street Festival
Play/Playful
Saturday, August 4th & Sunday, August 5th, 2007
Oppenheimer Park (400 block of Powell Street)

Download the 2007 Festival schedule (pdf) by clicking here.

Some highlights of the 31st annual Powell Street Festival included: new work by festival favourites Kokoro Dance; Theatre performance of Skim, written and directed by Mariko Tamaki (Toronto) and performed by Julie Tamiko Manning (Montreal); Visual Arts group exhibit, Between what’s said and unsaid group exhibit, featuring artists from Canada, USA and Japan; public sculpture exhibition by 3rd generation Nikkei artist Michael Tora Speier entitled Broken Only at Sky: a Magnification of 20th Century Japanese Diaspora & Community Journey; music performances by Yuji Nakajima, Keiko Devaux, and special guest from Japan Koichi Makigami; the usual exciting array of taiko by Katari Taiko, Sawagi Taiko, Chibi Taiko, Yuaikai Ryukyu Taiko, and new to this year, Jodaiko, a superstar group led by taiko master from California Tiffany Tamaribuchi; and the annual YUGO Hip Hop Fusion event.

We are also presented, for the first time, a Japanese film festival Kibatsu Cinema in partnership with the Pacific Cinematheque, as a lead-up event to festival weekend.

Poster by Lynda Nakashima.

2007 Festival Theme: Play/playful
Play/playful: experimentation, risk taking, fall and recover, process, children, fun, social engagement, imagination, creativity, opposite of finished or complete, opposite of “work”, curiosity, light-hearted, opposite of serious

The 2007 Powell Street Festival’s theme was Play, a celebration of artistic creativity and possibilities and an exciting and inspirational follow-up to 2006, the Powell Street Festival’s 30th anniversary year that focused more on history and community. Programming explored all facets of this concept from play as recreation or amusement, such as children’s play, to an aesthetic tradition of play that is grounded in an intent toward artistic discovery. The tie that binds various forms of play was a commitment to curiosity and creativity. Artistic process, innovative forms of audience development and engagement, providing more space for children’s and youth events, and integrating children and youth into adult-dominated areas of the festival was prioritized.

Since its culturally reclaiming inception, Powell Street Festival has continued to flourish as a veritable hothouse of dialogues, social inquiries, remembered traditions, artistic fusions and urban contrasts. New and old stories and experiences span generations and have come together here for more than three decades. It is a place of not ideal, but real, community activity, creative invention and intervention, social investigation and rediscovered history. PSF has always been committed to openly creative processes that leave room for further exploration and larger definitions of us as (hyphenated) Canadians.

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30th Annual Powell Street Festival poster - by Lynda Nakashima, 200630th Powell Street Festival
Memory Streams
Saturday, August 5th & Sunday, August 6th, 2006
Oppenheimer Park (400 block of Powell Street)

Download the 2006 Festival schedule (pdf) by clicking here.

Out of town artists included Kyo Maclear (Ontario, literary), Terry Watada (Ontario, theatre), Derek Nishikawa (Ontario, music), Miki Nishida (Quebec, dance), Linda Turnbull (Alberta, dance), Mu Daiko (USA, music), Yamini Nayer (USA, media arts), Yasue Maetake (USA, media arts), Christian Nguyen (USA, media arts), Maria Dumlao (USA, media arts), Kazuko Hohki (Japan, performance) and Angharrad Davies (England, music).

Local artists included Hiromi Goto, Roy Miki, Assaulted Fish, Dharmakasa, Sawagi Taiko, Katari Taiko, Baco Ohama, Rafael Tsuchida, Maya Ersan, Karin Lee, Aretha Aoki, Katherine Shozawa, LOUD, World Tea Party, Kokoro Dance and more.

Poster by Lynda Nakashima


2005 Powell Street Festival Poster2005 Powell Street Festival
Hip’pu Pop’pu,
celebrating contemporary Japanese Canadian culture

Saturday, July 30th & Sunday, July 31st, 2005
Oppenheimer Park (400 block of Powell Street)

Download the 2005 Festival schedule (PDF).

Out of town artists included Kim Moritsugu (Ontario, literary), Gerry Shikatani (Ontario, literary), Mariko Tanabe (Quebec, dance), Aya Takada (Japan, visual arts), Yuki Iwata (Japan, media arts), Tadasu Takamine (Japan, media arts) and musicians Nobukazu Takemura (Kyoto, Japan) and Suppamicropanchop (Tokyo, Japan).

Local artists included Fred Wah, Hiromi Goto, Henry Tsang, Kirsten Forkert, Kokoro Dance, Theatre Replacement, Hiro and Maiko, Craig Takeuchi, Katari Taiko, LOUD, Alcvin Ramos, Assaulted Fish, Vancouver Opera, Rafael Tsuchida, Vanessa Kwan, and more.

Poster by Kathy Shimizu

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