Festival Program & Schedule

Blessing Ceremony

Friday Night Kickoff

Main Stage Entertainment

Creekside Stage


Beginning on Thursday afternoon with the colourful Eye-dotting Ceremony and followed by the Friday kick-off opening concert, the festival continues with two more days of non-stop entertainment on the World Beat Stage, fabulous food, children’s activities, art installations, interactive circus performances, shopping, and of course, dragon boat racing of the highest caliber.


Admission is free to the general public. Plan to come down to the waters of False Creek and celebrate with us!

Located at Concord Pacific Place, Creekside Park and the waters of False Creek, near Science World. Nearest SkyTrain Station is Science World. Intersection of Quebec Street and Terminal Avenue in Vancouver.

Festival Program & Schedule

Thursday, June 22
Blessing Ceremony 5pm
Dragon Boat Gala 6pm
Friday June 23
Friday Night Opening Kick Off 6pm
Visiting Team Welcome Party 6pm
Feature Race: TBA 6:30pm
Saturday, June 24
Races start 8am
Concord Pacific Fan Zone Open 8am
Family Fun Zones Opens (Featuring Climbing Wall, Wipe Out Game & Obstacle Course) 10am
World Beat Stage Entertainment begins 11am
Creekside Stage Entertainment Begins 11am
Granville Island Brewing Beverage Garden Opens 11am
Circus West POP-up Performances Begin 12pm
Concord Pacific Champion Race Series 12:30pm
Featured Race: Concord Pacific International Cup
Featured Race:  Grand Dragons Cup
Featured Race: U24 Cup
Featured Race: CIBC Breast Cancer Survivor Race
Featured Race: Guts and Gory Women 5pm
Festival Site Closed 7pm
Sunday, June 25
Races start 8am
Concord Pacific Fan Zone Open 8am
Visiting Team Race 8am
Family Fun Zones Opens (Featuring Climbing Wall, Wipe Out Game & Obstacle Course) 10am
World Beat Stage Entertainment begins 11am
Creekside Stage Entertainment Begins 11am
Granville Island Brewing Beverage Garden Opens 11am
Circus West POP-up Performances Begin 12pm
Featured Championship Divisional Races 12pm
Granville Island Brewing Beer Garden opens 11am
Championship races begin (time approximate) 12pm
Welcome Remarks from World Beat Stage 1:30pm
Featured Race: Concord Pacific Guts and Glory (Mixed) 5pm
Paddlers and Volunteer Send Off begins in the Granville Island Brewing Beer Garden 5pm
Festival site is closed to the general public 6pm

Blessing Ceremony

Awakening the Spirit of the Dragon


Dotting the eyes takes on a whole different meaning when we Awaken the Dragons – the official kick-off event for the 2017 Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival.

Each year Festival honours the ancient Chinese tradition of dragon boat racing with an Eye Dotting and Dragon Blessing Ceremony. We invite priests and members of the congregation of the Evergreen Taoist Church to the waters of False Creek to conduct this ancient and colourful ritual.

The priests set up their altar right on the dock from which paddlers will board dragon boats the next morning. The dragon boats – “dressed” with ornate dragon heads and tails – are lined up. The chanting begins. The priests invoke the Goddess of the Sea, the Saints and the Immortals through chanting, invocation and burning joss sticks. This cleanses and blesses the racecourse, the competitors and their boats and charges all with the strength of the Dragon.

The priests make offerings to the five elements and directions: joss sticks representing wood for the east, flowers representing metal for the west, candles representing fire for the south, water representing its elemental self for the north and fruit representing the earth for the centre.

The climax of the ceremony is the eye dotting ritual, which officially awakens the Dragon. Ancient Chinese dragon mythology has it that the Dragon sleeps in the mountains and travels to the water when it is awakened. Guest dignitaries assist in this rite, dipping brushes in pots of red cinnabar paint and dabbing the eyes on the boats’ dragon heads.

At the end of the ceremony the priests nourish and appease other souls that might be present by throwing them 18 coins and coloured beans representing the five elements and directions. Taoism is one of the world’s oldest religions, originating in ancient China. Members of the Evergreen Taoist Church are devotees of the Complete Reality School – Dragon Gate Sect and follow the teachings of the Immortals, master Lu Sun-Young, Master Wong Chung-Young and his disciple Master Yau Cheung-Chun.


Please join us for this engaging ritual:

When: TBD
Where: Dock at the foot of Ontario Street, just south of the Science World dome

Further information for media:
Anita Webster, Media Relations
Phone: (604) 732-7035
Cell: (604) 313-6568
Email: media@dragonboatbc.ca

Friday Night Kickoff

At 6pm, the Festival kicks off with a live performances on the World Beat Stage.

Grab a drink during the performances and make sure to visit our food trucks and marketplace vendors.

Visiting Teams Welcome Party

Out of town teams and their hosts are invited to attend this special event that coincides with the Friday night opening BBQ.  Invited paddlers enjoy free food and a drink with their teammates and new friends.

If your team would like to attend, please email racersservices@dragonboatbc.ca


Friday, June 23 2017
6:30pmBC WORLD MUSIC COLLECTIVE starring Adonis Puentes, Celso Machado, Tonye Aganaba, Kurai Blessing, Tom Landa, Pedro Mota, Robin Layne, Liam MacDonald, Nick La Riviere, Kalissa Landa, Ronnie Swirl, Ostwelve.
Saturday, June 24 2017
11:00amWest Coast Guitar Collective (Les Finnigan, John Gilliat, Rossi Tsonkov, Edgar Avelino)
3:30pmSamson's Delilah
Sunday, June 25 2017
12:30pmMostly Marley
3:30pmBig Easy Funk Ensemble
5:00pmCamaro '67

BC World Music Collective – Main Stage 6:30pm, Friday June 23 
Dragon Boat Festival - BC World Music Collective

13 musicians. 7 nations. 3 juno award winning artists. The BC World Music Collective, featuring: Celso Machado, Kurai Bandambira Nyamukapa, Cuban Sonero Adonis Puentes, Tom Landa, Tonye Robin Layne Band, and members of Locarno If there was a World Music supergroup, this would be it. The BC World Music Collective brings together musicians from Cuba, Mexico, Brazil, Africa, and London, who now make their home in this beautiful province.This is truly an exciting band with some impressive talent. Their performance is very much a collaboration that sees all the musicians playing with each other, and backing each other up as they sing their own songs and tell the stories of where they are from, and how they got to BC. They are the ideal festival band and takes listeners on a worldwide journey without leaving the province.

 Caracas – Main Stage 2pm, Saturday June 24 

Since 2011, Latin punk band CARACAS has given South American immigrants, and specially Venezuelan expats, a voice in which to express their feelings for their place of origin, and the circumstances which forced many of them to find a better life abroad. Started by Venezuelan-Canadian brothers Javier and Victor Badillo, and joined by Luis Garzon, Heather Anderson and Shawn Martin, CARACAS blends punk rock with Latin rhythms and melodies to create a uniquely upbeat musical revolution.


Samson’s Delilah – Main Stage, 3:30pm Saturday, June 24 

2017 Dragon Boat Festival Music

Unique, fearless, soul-full rock opera folk music.

With a fierce intensity weaving throughout their soundscapes, utterly captivating, Samson’s Delilah will leave their mark on every listener.  Heavily influenced by latin guitar, reggae, and other world music, driven with thought provoking songwriting, the thread of the “guroove” runs deep, and you will not be disappointed by the fusion and spell that they weave….

Their debut album “Unfinished Humans” was released this June. Joined by sought after rhythm section Dan Barton (Drums) and Tim Bennett(Bass/Vocals), as well as one of Alberta’s premiere Fiddle players, Scott Duncan (John Wort Hammon, The Polyjesters. Western String Project), they are a “tour de force”!  The album has been well received across Canada, charting in the top 10 lists on campus radio and World Music stations across the nation. The band headlined 11 festivals in the summer of 2016 and are gearing up for another busy festival season of touring. In their spare time, Seth & Shara organize the “Robson Valley Music Festival” that happens in their front yard in Dunster every August. They are seasoned music makers and music lovers….   http://www.samsonsdelilah.ca

“… downright enjoyable…tightly played mix of alt.folk, reggae tinged funk and country bluegrass…”



“Utterly captivating… heavily influenced by Latin guitar, reggae, rock opera and other world music and driven with thought provoking songwriting.”



“…dramatic, exotic and inspiring…..an impressive and stirring set of songs.” Unfinished Humans is all about vibe and ‘guroove’”




Alonso – Main Stage, 5pm Saturday, June 24 

ALONSO puts on a performance that hypnotizes audiences with contemporary, deep electro-acoustic rhythms, sensual Spanish guitar playing and high-caliber, nuanced, emotionally expressive musicianship. 

The music of ALONSO is an enchantment of beautifully crafted songs with electro-latin-jazz grooves and Spanish guitars with intimately lyrical vocals. His self-titled debut solo album shares a story through 7 songs, of an intimate journey through Love, loss and reflection. Carefully recorded and crafted over the course of 2016 in Toronto, Canada.


ALONSO is available through iTunes, Spotify and Alonso.Band

Kiérah – Main Stage 11am Sunday, June 25, 2017 

Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival - Music

Kiérah is a multi award-winning violinist and Celtic fiddler from White Rock, BC. She has completed her A.R.C.T. with the Royal Conservatory of Music, receiving one of the highest marks ever given. With an Irish/Scottish heritage, Kiérah’s passion, however, is composing and performing traditional and contemporary Celtic fiddle music. A ridiculously talented player, Kiérah captivates her audiences by taking fiddling to a completely different level, demonstrating her mastery of the instrument and radiating her love of the music.

Kiérah has released four albums, with her 3rd- Stonemason’s Daughter – receiving a 2013 CFMA Award for Young Performer of the Year. She has also written B.C.’s first book of all original fiddle tunes, Kiérah’s Collection, carried by Long and McQuade across Canada.

Mngwa – Main Stage 2pm Sunday, June 25, 2017  

Dragon boat Festival 2017 Music 

An 8-headed party band for the strange new world. Rooted in the Afro-Latin soul of cumbia, Mngwa blends elements of psych rock, surf, reggae, and hip hop into their polyrhythmic pot. With members from Mexico, Canada, Europe and Asia, the Vancouver ensemble draws inspiration from all corners of the globe and invites all to join in the sonic ecstasy.


Big Easy Funk Ensemble – Main Stage 2pm Sunday, June 25, 2017

2017 Dragon Boat Festival Music

The Big Easy Funk Ensemble celebrates the amazing variety of music that has grown out of New Orleans. With influences from 60s funk legends The Meters and Dr. John to more recent groups like Galactic and Trombone Shorty. BEFE (pronounced ‘beefy’) mixes many genres of funk, jazz and blues to create awesome grooves. The 9 member band includes a 3-piece horn section comprised of Andrew Benton (Sax), Kevin Tang (Trombone) and Ryan Naso (Trumpet).  The rhythm section includes Reece Worth on guitar, Eric Stephenson on bass, Tyler Gibson on keyboards/organ, Ryan Davis on drums, Jeffrey Kornblum on Percussion and last but not least the mesmerizing Chris Berry on Vocals.

A Mardi Gras party in 2014 brought the band together for the first time and by the end of the show both the musicians and the audience knew that this group had to continue.  Two years and many shows later, BEFE has developed a large repertoire of songs covering a wide range of NOLA talent from Louis Armstrong to the Dirty Dozen Brass Band to Allen Toussaint to the Pimps of Joytime.  The Big Easy Funk Ensemble is fast becoming one of Vancouver BC’s preeminent party bands by attracting fans and stimulating dance floors.  Don’t miss their next show at a party near you!


© 2017 Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival Society