8th Annual desiFEST Ignites Yonge-Dundas Square!
For its 8th consecutive year, desiFEST did not disappoint as it brought Yonge-Dundas Square alive for a 12-hour non-stop open-air concert on May 31st. Showcasing an array of South Asian influenced genres ranging from Bollywood, R&B and Hip Hop to Soca, Bhangra and soul, desiFEST fulfilled its mandate to celebrate and showcase the talents of established and emerging artists on the desi urban music scene.
“Music is such a powerful force to fuel change, share messages and engage audiences to support our community. This is why we started, and why we continue to grow desiFEST with the support of our wonderful sponsors TD and Crest,” said desiFEST founder Sathish Bala. Upcoming and established artists from Canada, the US and the UK ignited the desiFEST stage in front of 40,000 eager fans throughout the day.
Visitors were treated to a number of on-site promotions hosted by presenting sponsors TD and Crest. Families with children enjoyed the TD Kids Zone, which featured the ever-popular bouncy castle and clown balloons. As part of its Shine Day campaign, Procter & Gamble hosted a series of sampling and product stations in the square showcasing popular brands such as Pantene, COVERGIRL, Olay, Gillette, Old Spice, Bounty, Tide and Crest among others. Guests in the square were given beauty touch-ups and mini makeovers, while members of the media and performing artists did the same back stage at the COVERGIRL
beauty station. Even Finance Minister Joe Oliver, who dropped by tospend some time at desiFEST visited the Gillette booth after appearing on stage to address the crowd. As he took the stage in front of an attentive audience of thousands, Mr. Oliver appreciated the significant contributions of South Asians to Canada and mentioned the importance of the strong relations between Canada and India as the crowd cheered on.
Among the 20+ performers at desiFEST this year, were some amazing Canadian talents. desiFEST welcomed the fresh new sound of Toronto’s own Shyann, the engaging lyrics of MC Ayydos, YouTube sensation duo Sham and Karter and back by popular demand for the third year in a row were JDhee and Reality Raj of Synsational, who had female fans swooning over their set. Toronto fans also welcomed R&B, hindi and tamil singer Piri Musiq and hip-hop artist Raxstar from the UK with open arms. Later in the evening, the crowd erupted as surprise guests, actor Vinay Virmani and singer Raghav took to the stage to promote the upcoming Hollywood film Dr. Cabbie, which is coproduced by Bollywood heavyweight Salman Khan and stars Vinay Virmani and Kunal Nayyar (The Big Bang Theory), releasing Sept. 19th, 2014. After a special preview of the film’s trailer, audiences were treated to an electrifying performance by Raghav, who sang his charttopper, Angel Eyes followed by his upcoming release from the soundtrack of Dr. Cabbie. Performances by DJ KSR, Shilpa Narayan, Nouman Khalid and Gunjan kept the crowd jumping all evening building up to a huge finale at the end of the show.
As the night sky came over the square, the plexiglass stage was illuminated with neon blue lights creating the perfect setting for what was to come. Celebrated Toronto trio, Culture Shock, featuring Baba Khan, Sunny Brown and Lomaticc brought a high-energy performance as the crowd erupted in excitement. And just as energy levels peaked with fans jumping in unison, the unsuspecting audience roared as Toronto reggae artist Michee Mee and rapper Choclair joined the trio on stage for a finale performance of Toronto Raptors anthem “We the North”. The performers, the fans, the media and even producers of the show danced to the last minute. It was a beautiful scene in the heart of Toronto under a moon lit sky.
The music continues on June 21st as the team moves the excitement out of the city to Celebration Square in Mississauga for their next event of the summer – Hungama! Currently in its second year, this event delivers an evening of outdoor Bollywood entertainment, food and family fun in the heart of Mississauga.