Savour the last vestiges of summer with free concerts by former child soldier Emmanuel Jal, as well as local genre-benders the Boom Booms and Kytami at Whistler Olympic Plaza (whistlerblackcomb.com); the Dal Richards Orchestra, Prism, Lifehouse and roller-era superstar Olivia Newton-John at the PNE (pne.ca); and the Ballantynes, Indian Wars, Mode Moderne and more at the hipster Victory Square Block Party, with local actor Ryan Bell as emcee (Sunday, victorysquare.net).
Save the Salish Sea Festival
Then if you’re so inclined, stand up against oil tankers and pipelines at the Save the Salish Sea Festival, featuring free concerts by the Boom Booms, Wayne Lavallee, Kia Kadiri and many more, as well as talks by aboriginal leaders and author Naomi Klein (at Waterfront Park in North Van Sunday, tankerfreebc.org).
Interior Provincial Exhibition and Stampede
Practice your yee-haws, then enjoy an old-school country fair at the Interior Provincial Exhibition and Stampede, which comes with heel-stomping live music, an amusement park, a petting zoo, a rodeo and stampede, lumberjack shows, tasty vittles and prizes for everything from the best veggies to the finest honey (through Sunday, armstrongipe.com).
Prefer western culture with urban flare? Test your riderly mettle at the Creekside Stampede and Mechanical Bull Championships in Whistler (Saturday, whistlerblackcomb.com), and don’t miss the first annual Gastown Barbecue & Chili Festival, a two-day block party that comes with chili competitions, live music, a pig roast and plenty of finger-licking charbroiled eats. Part proceeds to charity (blarneystone.ca/bbq). Or transport yourself to simpler times at the Chilliwack Bluegrass Festival, featuring top acts from Tennessee, Arizona, Kentucky, Texas and beyond (through Sunday, chilliwackartscouncil.com).
Catch Australian singer-songwriter and actress Missy Higgins as she lands on Vancouver shores with her latest, The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle (at the Commodore Sunday, ticketmaster.ca). More indie faves? Don’t miss the soulful Lee Fields and the Expressions at Fortune Sound Club (ticketmaster.ca) the old-timey Pokey Lafarge & the South City Three at the Rio (pokeylafarge.net) and Swedish electropop trio Niki and the Dove, who were nominated for BBC’s Sound of 2012 poll, at Electric Owl (ticketmaster.ca).
Vancouver Latin American Film Festival
Take in top flicks from Guatemala, Brazil, Mexico, Chile and beyond at the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival, which includes a spotlight on Argentine cinema, a series of indigenous shorts, Latin queer films, free screenings at SFU Harbour Centre and more (until Sept. 9, vlaff.org). And don’t miss Big Boys Gone Bananas!, which tells the true tale of a Swedish documentarian who made a film about 12 Nicaraguan plantation workers who sued Dole and won – then found himself in the fruity giant’s legal crosshairs. With talks by local producer Bart Simpson of The Corporation (until Sept. 6, viff.org).
Celebrate Asian food, culture, sports and more at TaiwanFest, a vibrant downtown festival featuring Taiwanese sounds from rootsy aboriginal music to gleaming pop, live dance, documentaries, wellness lectures, heritage walks and a Tainan Street Banquet along Granville (taiwanfest.ca). Or head south and soak up samba, drumming and jaw-dropping martial arts at Aché Brasil’s Brazilian Culture and Capoeira Festival (at the Roundhouse Sunday, roundhouse.ca).
Fido and Fifi feeling a little lacking in spirituality department? Bring them to Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese garden, where renowned Buddhist lama Kyabgon Phakchok Rinpoche will perform Vancouver’s first official Pet Blessing, an act that’s said to reduce pets’ hardships and lead to a positive rebirth. Beats liver treats any day (Saturday, petblessing.eventbrite.ca).