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Free Wake Up! festival in Surrey to feature social-justice music March 13

The fest was launched at KPU last year in conjunction with Surrey Music Strategy
Local musician AHSIA will perform in Surrey on March 13. (Contributed photo)

Surrey-based BIPOC and queer artists are featured at the second annual Wake Up! Social Justice Music Festival, coming to Newton on the evening of Wednesday, March 13.

Admission is free at the event, planned at the Kwantlen Polytechnic University campus from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Cedar building conference centre (12666 72nd Ave., Surrey).

Vancouver-based hip-hop artist Ndidi Cascade headlines the festival alongside performances by multi-genre emerging artists AHSIA, Xhalida September and Zabrina Hay.

“Hip-hop heals communities and it can empower communities as well,” Cascade says in a press release from festival organizers. “Being a social activist is something that anyone can do, something that each one of us as humans have a responsibility for.”

Ndidi Cascade. (Contributed photo)

KPU students and instructors come together to stage the event, which launched in February 2023.

The music festival aims to “enhance KPU’s visibility in the city of Surrey as a potential hub for music and cultural development for BIPOC and Queer artists,” according to a post on, where the free tickets can be reserved. Details are also found on

At KPU, music instructors Gordon Cobb and Malcolm Aiken lead the MUSI 3500 course, a gathering place for 20 students helping to produce the show, from a variety of backgrounds including music, journalism, business and creative writing, Cobb explains.

“Surrey is ready to hear about racism, discrimination, homophobia, bodily autonomy, these are the types of things we’re studying, so why not learn this through music?” Cobb said. “By experiencing the music, listening to the lyrics, and watching the performances, I hope people will learn something they didn’t know and have questions about what they’re seeing and hearing.”

Students in the class are producing videos and music about social justice issues, plotting the stage and doing marketing and communications for the festival, launched last year in conjunction with the Surrey Music Strategy, an initiative with the City of Surrey that engages the local music community, record labels, producers and musicians to further develop music strategies and support performing arts in the city.

Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news for Surrey Now-Leader and Black Press Media
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