That’s a wrap for 5X Fest 2021, and boy, what a ride it was.

The theme of this year’s 5X Festival was “Come Together,” because for the first time in almost two years, we were able to finally gather to celebrate music, art, culture, and most importantly, community. 

The festival took place at the Beaumont Studios in Vancouver, and to say that the vibrations at the venue were electric would be a massive understatement.

Image: Anand Mohapatra

All three days of the festival were sold out, and as soon as doors opened, eager attendees lined up outside the venue, ready to experience live music and art, and to do it alongside like-minded individuals in the community.

Even the torrential downpour on day one wasn't enough to stop the party, nor was the last minute change of moving the venue from outdoors to indoors, and navigating the constantly changing pandemic guidelines.

We had over 400 attendees and 23 artists perform over three days of the festival, proving that even though things looked much different than our usual 10,000 person Blockparty, there's always a way to make sure that the show goes on.

The performances were streamed out to our followers on Instagram, so even those who couldn't join could feel like they were apart of the experience that was 5X Fest 2021.

Although we couldn't do the festival as big as we would've wanted to, the intimate venue and vibe allowed for everyone to feel connected to the art and the artists, and showed that there is a desire and need for this kind of space in the community.

You could feel the positive energy buzzing around the space, whether around the stage or outside in the curated art lounge, as brown creatives, artists, and guests met over one key shared interest: connecting with Brown visionaries.

Image: Anand Mohapatra

A common thread throughout the weekend was the sheer joy on the faces of those on stage or in the crowd, as we temporarily suspended our differences, our worries, and the anxiety of this past year, to be together to celebrate the incredible talent in the South Asian community, some of which originated right here in Surrey.

Surrey's own Intense had the crowd pumped up as he performed a number of hit songs, including tracks off his latest album with Diljit Dosanjh, demonstrating what can happen when local talent goes global.

The festival also had many “firsts,” with so many artists gracing the stage for the first time ever, hearing their names being chanted by an enthusiastic crowd while they performed.

Image: Anand Mohapatra

Highlights of the weekend include seeing the bewilderment on the faces of some of the first-time performers, including Robyn Sandhu and Raman Bains, as the crowds sang along to the lyrics of their songs without missing a beat.

In another notable moment, Richmond’s very own Horsepowar brought down the house on night one with her bold delivery and unapologetic lyrics, as her adoring niece and nephew watched from the front row before momentarily joining her on stage.

Image: Anand Mohapatra

The sweet moment was a reminder that the collective is often the backbone to the creative, and many of the artists who graced the stage have a sea of people wanting to see them thrive, including those who attended this weekend.

Some of the headliners, including The PropheC and Fateh DOE shared their excitement about being on stage for the first time in nearly two years, with their energy matching the crowd as they lit up the stage.

As The PropheC held up the mic to the crowd, the sounds of the entire audience singing "Tu Hi Ah" alongside him filled the venue, turning the love song into a banger in ways that seemed to surprise even the man himself.

Image: Anand Mohapatra

Aside from the dope sounds, outside the venue Creative Director Sahil Mroke worked with local artists to design and curate an outdoor art lounge that, despite the rain, was filled with people taking in the beauty of the space.

Image: Anand Mohapatra/Art: @SabineKFilm

At every turn, we were reminded of the immense talent within this community 

This weekend was also a reminder that while we can achieve great strides as individuals, our power lies in our unity, and there is so much beauty in what can happen when we come together. 

Image Anand Mohaptra/Art: @Vidursh/xx.smrn

“Movements > moments,” said Writer, Producer and Director Kashif Pasta on Twitter. And what was proven this weekend, is that 5X Fest is a movement, with no signs of slowing down. 

We hope you’ll join us. 

Stay tuned to our socials, including our Instagram for more behind the scenes of the festival and so much more.

We’re just getting started.

Image: Anand Mohapatra

About the author

Rumneek Johal

Rumneek is a journalist, host and speaker. She is currently the BC Reporter at Press Progress where she focuses on systemic inequality, workers and communities, as well as racism and far-right extremism. Her previous work centers on asking tough questions within her community, starting conversation and chipping away at the status quo. Other focus areas for her work include the South Asian community, arts and culture, pop culture, and more. She is a proud Punjabi woman from Surrey, BC.

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5X Press is a forum for opinions, conversations, & experiences, powered by South Asian youth. The views expressed here are not representative of those of 5X Festival.