Vancouver Moving Theatre in association with Carnegie Community Centre & Association of United Ukrainian Canadians presents

The 12th Annual Downtown Eastside
Heart of the City Festival
Wednesday October 28 to Sunday November 8, 2015

Featuring over 90 events at over 25 locations throughout the Downtown Eastside

The annual Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival is a cultural and heritage event that serves as a high impact, bridge building force that gives voice to the Downtown Eastside and its low income residents, cultural communities and neighbourhoods.

To recognize the abundance of talent, wisdom and power of our home community, the theme of this year’s Festival is ‘Nourished by Community.’ As we face the challenges and opportunities of the coming years, we are inspired by the neighbourhood’s indigenous stories and feel proud of the art forms, artists, values, heritage and exciting community-engaged art generated in Vancouver’s founding community.

The Festival takes inspiration from the words of the late much beloved Downtown Eastside poet and activist Bud Osborn: Our purpose is to live in community, and community is care, care for one another, care for those least able to care for themselves, care for all, care in action.

The 2015 Festival features a feast of twelve days of music, stories, songs, poetry, cultural celebrations, films, theatre, dance, processions, spoken word, panels, workshops, discussions, gallery exhibitions, multi media, art talks, history walking tours, and a diverse array of artists.

A special presentation this year is Against the Current, an original cross-cultural performance that explores the role of salmon in Japanese and First Nations history, culture and the shared experience of swimming against the current. Created by Chibi Taiko, Katari Taiko, Sansho Daiko, Sawagi Taiko and Vancouver Okinawa Taiko, with storyteller Rosemary Georgeson (Sahtu Dene/Coast Salish) and music ensemble Tzo’kam (Lil’wat), led by Russell Wallace.

An abundance of other events include: • A Celebration of the Carnegie Theatre with the Carnegie Jazz Band (band leader Brad Muirhead) and special guests IdVerb; the book launch of From the Heart of a City; • Beneath the Surface, an original teen suicide prevention play by Imagi’Nation; • special guest Columpa Bobb shares Stealing Light: Stories of Transformation; • spirit-lifting Barrio Flamenco: Flamenco for the People with flaming hot music and dance; • Culture Saves Lives, gallery show and auction; • book reading and live interview with writer Michael Christie in partnership with the Vancouver Public Library; • guest poets Valerie Mason-John and Bertha Clark present The Courage to Heal; • a celebration concert of blues, jazz and gospel with Dalannah Gail Bowen and Friends; and the closing afternoon concert at the Ukrainian Hall featuring, among others, Orkestar Slivovica and the exciting Ukrainian Dovbush Dancers.

The mandate of the Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival is to promote, present and facilitate the development of artists, art forms, cultural traditions, history, activism, people and great stories about Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The festival involves a wide range of professional, community, emerging and student artists, and lovers of the arts. Over 1,000 local artists and Downtown Eastside residents participated in last year’s 2014 Festival.

Many events are free or by suggested donation.

Read more about our Top Picks for the 2015 festival.


The Heart of the City Festival gratefully acknowledges the financial and in-kind support of our 2015 Festival partners and sponsors.

HTOC Logo Bar Website