Planners of a new festival in one Surrey neighbourhood are aiming to bring more life to a laneway painted with colourful murals.
Newt Fest, set for Saturday, July 27, is billed as a free street-art festival that celebrates public art and new entrepreneurs.
Fernandez is among artists who created murals and graffiti art in the area’s “festival alley,” commissioned by Newton Business Improvement Association (BIA) as a way of “giving life to dark corners of the community,” BIA director Philip Aguirre told the Now-Leader in May 2018.
Event planner Nasrin Baji, creative director for the BIA, said Newt Fest is an inaugural event with a vision.
“We want people to see it’s a great place to see, hang out and experience, and that it’s also a safe place to be,” she told the Now-Leader. “We’re trying something new here.”
To create the festival, the BIA has partnered with Dunefield Consulting, a Vancouver-based firm with more than 15 years of experience in community, economic and urban development in both Canada and the Netherlands, according to a post at dunefieldconsulting.com. “We bring an international perspective and provide a truly holistic understanding of what makes communities work.”
Vendors signed on for Newt Fest include Surrey Artist Co-operative, Oliver’s Candle Co. Global Market, Made in Oaxaca, Bayan Shop, Diane Chubb, Sewmates Craft, Nik-Art, The Marrakesh and MJ Friesen.
Food will be served by What the Pho, Kyoto Sushi, Freshslice Pizza, Select Pizza, FAB Burgers, Japadog and Adana Grill, and the beer garden is presented by Kelly’s Pub.
Event partners include Dunefield Consulting, City of Surrey, Value Property Group, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Surrey Crime Prevention Society, DIVERSEcity, Newton Recreation Centre and Downtown Surrey BIA. Sponsorship opportunities are available.
Def3’s DJ set will include youth dance groups invited to perform on a temporary floor, Baji said.
The “festival alley” site is about “activating space” in Newton, Aguirre said in 2018.
“Providing an area that’s normally not used as an alley, where the garbage cans and grease traps from restaurants are, and sort of providing a space where the community can come to. Giving new life to an area. And doing that with art, doing that with colour, doing that with passion and community events.”
“The idea was to create something to enhance the area, with a bit of the history of what’s going on in Newton,” he said. “This is the old (interurban) train,” he explained, pointing to the far left of the mural, “so it’s kind of like this idea of the progression of Newton. This is all black and white.”
Each letter’s content shows off part of the community’s story.
“I wanted it to include things from Newton, the Vaisakhi festival, the Wave Pool, and the evolution of the new (LRT) train would be the rapid transit,” Fernandez said. “The final piece is the night-sky shot of a modern building,” he added. “It’s kind of old to new.”