Friday, July 08, 2011
After a mere five years, RBC Mosaic has grown to become the largest South Asian festival of its kind in North America.
However, organizers aren’t resting on their laurels. Instead, they’re pulling out all the stops to make this year’s event, running July 8-10 at Mississauga Celebration Square, the best yet.
“It will be bigger than ever with more than 26 hours of entertainment – and that’s just on the main stage,” said Arshad Mahmood, who co-founded the multi-disciplinary event with his wife, Asma, in 2006.
Mahmood said he’s expecting a record turnout, especially since the festival is returning to Civic Square (renamed Mississauga Celebration Square after a major makeover) after being exiled to Living Arts Park last summer.
“It’s a much larger venue with two stages – the main one and the amphitheatre – so we can showcase more performers,” he said.
Headliners include Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan, the biggest singing sensation to hit the sub-continent in recent times; Sain Zahoor Ahmad, BBC’s “Voice of the Year” in 2006; H. Dhami, named “Best Newcomer” by the U.K. Asian Music Awards in 2008; and Vancouver’s premier bhangra band, En Karma. A popular mainstay, Shiamak’s Indo Jazz Dance Movement, will make its fifth appearance at the festival.
“Shafqat and Sain are both making their first appearance in North America and Dhami is extremely hot in the U.K and here in Canada,” said Mahmood.
New this year is Desi’s Rock, with five bands with South Asian members or musical influence – Dead Shyre, Swaras, Nawtiks, Sing Bandana Singh and Kazak – performing. They'll be in the amphitheatre, rejigged with new sound and lighting, on July 9 from noon-6 p.m.
Back for the sixth year is Rock the Coliseum, which has presented more than 80 Indie bands since 2006. This year’s lineup features Burning Love, Ryan Masters and The Pinnacle People, The Coppertone, Indian Handcrafts, Titan, Greys, Treble Warriors, Creeper, Infernal Arms, Cunter, Morning Thieves, The North, Gentlemen Husbands, Hi Kyle and Kick The Door Down Jackie.
Directed by Mahmood’s daughter, Bushra, the 15 bands will also perform in the amphitheatre all three days.
The Mosaic Film Festival, now in its fifth year, runs July 6-7 at the Art Gallery of Mississauga. This year’s offerings are East is East and West is West by director Damien O’Donnell.
But RBC Mosaic is not only about music, dance and films; festival-goers can also enjoy midway rides, fashion shows and lots of food. Then there’s the Underground Garage Sale featuring the work of young artists and a dance competition.
“This is an opportunity for dancers of different calibres to showcase their talent. At Mosaic, we believe there’s a hidden dancer in each one of us,” said Mahmood.
All the entertainment is free.
“We’re the only festival in Mississauga that can boast that,” said Mahmood.
For the full program and schedule, visit www.mosaicfest.com
Picture: Renowned Pakistani Sufi singer Sain Zahoor Ahmed is one of the headliners at this year’s RBC Mosaic. Photo: Supplied.