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Khatsahlano! Music and Art Fest leaves West Fourth hippies behind

Neighbourhood block party packed with live music, skateboarding, burlesque

STATE OF THE ARTS

The hazy counterculture days of Kitsilano are long gone so area businesses have ditched the Hippie Daze street party of old in favour of a day-long event with a more current feel.

Khatsahlano! Music and Art Festival, July 23, will showcase more than 25 local musical acts, curated by Zulu Records, to tune into what's happening in Kitsilano and turn the community onto Vancouver's music scene.

"We have one head shop and we have one macramé store left," said Russ Davies, executive director of the West Fourth Avenue Business Improvement Association, which organized the event.

Fourth Avenue will close to cars from Burrard to MacDonald with the sounds of folk, punk, rock and electronica replacing traffic noise from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Headlining bands include Jon & Roy, Yukon Blonde, Frog Eyes and The Evaporators featuring hyperactive frontman Nardwuar the Human Serviette. Davies is particularly excited to see Victoria-based singer-songwriter Aidan Knight, who recently played at the smaller stage at Summer Live in Stanley Park, and Humans.

"I'm totally addicted to them," Davies said. "It's kind of electronic and very sort of new wave."

Skateboarding demonstrations have been organized by Pacific Boarder and Comor, various yoga shops hope visitors will beckon the sun with on-the-street salutations, and 3H Craftworks has curated an artists stroll.

Browns, Refuel and Hell's Kitchen will serve customers on extended patios and other restaurants and shops will spill their goods onto the street.

Local merchants will strut their stuff in two fashion shows and passersby will see burlesque at Arbutus at 12: 30 p.m. and a dance flash mob on the stage at Vine at 3 p.m.

Further west, between Balsam and Trafalgar, Kitsilano Neighbourhood House is hosting a huge garage sale. Vendors pay $25 to secure a 12-foot-by-12-foot plot with the fees going to the house's programs and expansion project.

The BIA chose to name the celebration Khatsahlano after Squamish Chief August Jack Khatsahlano, Kitsilano's namesake. Squamish Chief Dennis Joseph will be a guest of honour at the opening ceremonies at 12: 30 p.m.

The BIA took a break from holding a summer event last year but budgeted between $50,000 and $60,000 from 2010 and 2011 funds to host this year's festivities, with the help of corporate sponsors.

"We didn't receive any Vancouver 125 grants, or anything like that," Davies said.

Davies said businesses back the expenditure because it's been their tradition to throw a summer party and they want to show off West Fourth Avenue to the rest of Vancouver.

He said a committee looked at other neighbourhood festivals in Vancouver, in addition to those in San Diego and the Capitol Hill Block Party in Seattle, when hatching this year's plans.

But Davies notes the Capitol Hill festival is ticketed.

"[Khatsahlano!] will be a really awesome day and the whole thing is free," he said.

For more information, see www.shopwest4th.com.

crossi@vancourier.com

Twitter: @Cheryl_Rossi