BY ROHAN RAI, BRAMPTON
Downtown Brampton once again came alive to the sights and sounds of South Asian culture with award-winning Vibrant Brampton festival on July 22 and 23. Held at Garden Square in Brampton, the fun filled two day festival was the 7th annual edition of the Vibrant Brampton organized by the non-profit group Arts and Culture Initiative of South Asia (ACISA).
Thousands of people from Brampton, Mississauga, Oakville, Milton, Richmond Hill and adjoining areas attended the festivities with hundreds of musicians, singers and other performances.
Mayor of Brampton, Patrick Brown addressed the audience while Sonia Sidhu, MP from Brampton South, presented the organizers with a plaque and a congratulatory message from Hon’ble Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Bollywood playback singer NEERAJ SHRIDHAR, headliner for the first day, performed for two hours to the delight of the audience and had them singing along, dancing, and applauding to the sounds of his superhit numbers. The musician supported by a local band, The R&B United, entertained the audience with several of his songs including the chartbuster “Hare Ram Hare Ram” from the movie Bhul Bhulaiyan 2 and other songs including Salman Khan Starrer” Character Dhila hai” and Ranbir Kapoor’s super hit “Ajab Prem Ki Gajab Kahani”.
As well, 50 other artists presented diverse music and myriad performances.
Local acts on July 22nd included the 2021 winners of #Vstar Talent Hunt & Mentorship program, launched back in 2020 as a platform to hunt for upcoming local artists and providing them a much bigger platform to perform alongside professional artists at the main stage of Vibrant Brampton Festival. Some of the notable acts on the first day included Indigenous artists Aqua Nibii Waawaaskone and Nichole Leveck, Bollywood, and fusion dance performances by DDA Canada and IND Toronto, Pakistani Canadian band “Raavi” and Mexican Canadian artist MC Sulek made everyone sway, swing and dance to the tunes of their music. Some of the other acts included a belly dance together with a local Arabic Jazz fusion band called Moneka.
A special tribute to legendary Indian Singer Lata Mangeshkar, fondly known as the Nightingale of Indian music industry, was offered by three outstanding local singers.
The second day on July 23rd was even bigger in terms of attendance and performing artists. Punjabi pop singer from UK, JAZ DHAMI and Canadian legendary Punjabi singer, GEETA ZAILDAR were the two headliners along with over 90 other local artists. Besides these, the audience enjoyed performances from internationally recognized, award winning Canadian Indigenous artist David Maracle; local groups like Shivanjali Dance School performing a popular Garba dance and Nachdi Jawani Group with energetic bhangra acts.
Internationally famed GTA based Flamenco artist Carmen Romero choreographed a well appreciated Flamenco dance act, while local upcoming Punjabi singer Damanjeet Singh stole lot of hearts with his Punjabi numbers, with original creations. The crowd frenzy was to be witnessed when Zaildar started with his most popular numbers like ‘Siti Mar Ke” and “Chitte Suit Te”. The audience danced and enjoyed his performance after which Jaz Dhami set the stage on fire with his ever popular numbers “Uchi Addi- High Heels te Nache” and “Bas”
The festival had everything for everyone- varied food vendors, ethnic apparel, footwear, jewelry vendors, local artisans, Henna artist and most notably a kid’s zone which included free painting, balloon twisting and a community arts project.
“We wanted to ensure an amalgamation of culture and diversity in Ontario,” said organizers and co-founders Ricky Bajaj, Arpan Banerjee and Sandeep Prabhakar. “Vibrant Brampton promotes local talent and we wanted to include an exciting line-up of upcoming artists and well-known names in the entertainment industry that would appeal to all.”