After a two-year Covid-related hiatus, Surrey Fest (now re-branded as Surrey Fest Downtown) returned to Holland Park this year. A rather muted affair compared to the roughly 4 000 visitors pre-pandemic, we counted maybe 40 or so visitors on this grey June-uary Saturday in Surrey.
Juno-nominated world music sensation Mazacote brought some sun-drenched salsa and tropical brass n’ beats to chase away those clouds.
Prior to Mazacote’s set, Cookin’ with Brass brought their own brand of party to the park, and it was a lot of fun! Horn-heavy and encompassing more genres than your boomer uncle’s vinyl collection, Cookin’ with Brass marched right off the stage, dancing and blowing their way through the grounds to everyone’s delight and amusement.
We unfortunately didn’t get a chance to catch headliner Reckless, but this local Bryan Adams tribute band is said to be a sight to see. They also played at Surrey Pride Day this year so we will be sure to catch up with them at a festival near you.
Phoenix Society was representing on multiple fronts at Surrey Fest Downtown with a booth and a food truck on site. We covered the Phoenix Flame BBQ food truck in depth at Surrey Eats, so we will focus on Phoenix Society’s other community commitments here.
Phoenix Society serves people with multiple barriers such as addiction, mental health issues, lack of housing, unemployment, and involvement in the criminal justice system. Known first and foremost for operating recovery houses since back in the early ’90s, Phoenix rose above the usual Surrey flophouse style of warehousing addicts in exchange for their welfare cheques, by showing compassionate commitment to putting their clients first. They’ve even earned the esteemed CARF certification for their endeavours. The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities gives this seal of approval to facilities that continually improve in serving their communities.
Phoenix has greatly expanded to meet the changing and growing needs of marginalized people during the pandemic through efforts like the aforementioned food truck, a Covid-19 isolation center, an Emergency Response Center with a focus on triaging seniors experiencing homelessness and addiction, several innovative housing initiatives, and best of all, a men’s knitting club where former inmates and recovering addicts can give back by knitting toques for the homeless! This is just a short list, so check out Phoenix Society’s website for much more.
There were so many other booths and community groups that deserve a mention here, such as DiverseCity, The Surrey Christmas Bureau,the REACH program for refugee and immigrant youth, and the tenacious Keep the RCMP in Surrey group that just refuse to be stifled no matter how crazy things get. Did you sign their petition? Or are you team SPS (Surrey Police Services)? Weigh in in the comments below, we’d love to hear your opinion on this contentious issue!