Due to the current COVID-19 crisis, the 44th Powell Street Festival is cancelled as a public gathering event.

The Powell Street Festival Society (PSFS) board is directing its staff to follow public safety guidelines and to continue consulting with community stakeholders to reconceptualize a safe and innovative celebration of Japanese Canadian arts and culture.

“Our festival is first and foremost, a celebration of community and culture.  We may not be gathering together physically but we are united in spirit.  Because of our deep historic roots in the festival’s geographic location of the Downtown Eastside (DTES), we are committed to the people currently living in the neighbourhood and stand in solidarity with them,” says President Edward Takayanagi.

“During the festival weekend, August 1 and 2, 2020, the 44th Powell Street Festival will adapt its Japanese Canadian celebration to transcend the COVID-19 pandemic and to uplift communities and people in need. There will be no public gathering but we will create opportunities for everyone — artists, festival attendees, volunteers, vendors, DTES residents, and the Japanese Canadian community at large — to enjoy art, culture and community.”

The Powell Street Festival Society’s mission is to cultivate Japanese Canadian arts and culture to connect communities. A group of Japanese immigrants and third-generation Japanese Canadians initiated PSF in 1977, on the centennial year of Japanese Canadian settlement in Canada and 35 years after the forced removal of Japanese Canadians from British Columbia’s coast during WWII. The Powell Street neighbourhood was once a bustling Japanese Canadian community and today is known as one of the most impoverished districts in North America, the DTES. PSFS remains engaged with the local community, offering accessible programs that assert social justice through the arts.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: June Fukumura, june@powellstreetfestival.com