MONCTON – The 14th annual Mosaïq Multicultural Festival on July 20-21 will feature headline acts like five-time Juno Award winner Exco Levi, a reggae musician from Brampton, Ont.
The event at the Riverfront Park will also include performances and booths showcasing cultures from more than 25 countries that are present in Greater Moncton.
Camelia Radu, the event’s chair who’s originally from Romania and has lived in Moncton for seven years, said seeing various cultures celebrated is important for newcomers. It brings them closer to their countries of origin but also provides international exposure for Monctonians.
“Culture is not something to watch, it’s something you do, it’s something you wear,” she said at an announcement for the festival. “When we see the crafts, traditions, clothes, dances, and celebrations of cultures from around the world, the festival creates a celebration that brings people together and also tells us that this is a place we can call home.”
The Romanian community will have a booth and possibly prepare a performance for the festival, Radu said.
Always, we share our traditions, our cultures,” she said to Huddle. “We live in Canada, we love Canada, but you know, in my blood, is Romania.”
Ziwei Wang, the acting president of the Greater Moncton Chinese Cultural Association, said events like Mosaïq would create a stronger community.
“Because more and more people move to Canada and Moncton, you have to understand each other,” he said.
The festival will begin at lunchtime on Friday, July 20, with a performance by Brazilian-Canadian artist Flávia Nascimento. Fränder, a Swedish-Estonian band, Kenyan acrobatic group Simba Zambezi Troupe, Central African Republic singer Laetitia Zonzambé, Algerian singer Djazia Satour, and Afro-Colombian musical act Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra will follow throughout the event.
It will also have a beer tent from Pumphouse Brewery and activities for children, among other things.
Justin Ryan, the Public Relations Officer at the Multicultural Association of Greater Moncton Area (MAGMA), said the festival has grown a lot since he started with the organization seven years ago. The festival used to be held on a street, the corner of a park and the space in front of Moncton’s City Hall. Having outgrown those spaces, last year it moved to the Riverfront Park.
“Seeing the growth of what it’s become is really something that’s quite extraordinary,” he said “And I think it really reflects not only the sheer numbers of newcomers, but also the growth in how important [immigration and multiculturalism are] being seen and valued as part of the community.”
He said as the region seeks out immigrants to help tackle economic challenges stemming from an aging population, the festival signals a welcoming community for potential newcomers.
“Because you don’t just turn up for an economic opportunity. You bring your family, you raise your children, you live there,” he said. “And you need a visible signpost from that community that this is a place that welcomes and celebrates international cultures, that welcomes newcomers from around the world.”
The City of Moncton and MAGMA are co-presenting the event, and Host Event and Association Management is coordinating it. The Town of Riverview, Dieppe, and the federal and provincial governments are also the event’s partners. Its private sector partners, sponsors and supporters include RBC, McDonald’s, Exxon Mobil, Fancy Pokket, Pumphouse Brewery, BMO, OMISTA Credit Union and Downtown Moncton Centre-ville Inc., among others.