Parade of Lost Souls: Masquerade
Festival Production + Design
"If we are lost, then we are lost together" - Blue Rodeo
The Parade of Lost Souls is one of Vancouver's most beloved fall festivals, running for over 20 years. The festival draws inspiration from a wide breadth of cultural harvest celebrations and death ceremonies celebrated in October, integrating these diverse myths and rituals into a celebration that is equal parts raucous and contemplative. At its heart, the festival aims to celebrate the creative power inherent in death and dark places, a way to let go of the fear that these concepts typically engender.
In 2010, the Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret Society assumed leadership of the artistic vision and production of the festival; their introduction has given the festival a new face, with festival programming emphasizing performers who engage directly with the crowd. The festival now includes numerous multicultural performers and visual artists who draw from a wide variety of traditions to build interactive sculptures, community-engaged artwork, and participatory performances for the public to enjoy.
The festival's true popularity lies in its ability to inspire and accentuate the creativity of those who attend. The Parade of Lost Souls is proof that we have not lost our link to the richness and depth of the ritual celebrations of our ancestors.
Working closely and in conjunction with the Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret Society's Director Kat Single-Dain, Chelsea and Steve were involved in multiple areas of the 2014 Parade of Lost Souls, including parade production and grant writing, infrastructural planning, graphic design, educational community workshop planning and execution, and fundraising/crowd-sourcing efforts. Steve and Chelsea, along with the DFC's Art Director Jeanette Bishop, were also responsible for the design and construction of several key pieces of festival infrastructure including thresholds, lanterns, and the festival's centrepiece, the Ceremonial Shrine. These structures were fabricated and built with help from architectural graduate Gordon Yiu, designer Hannah Margaret, and several volunteers.
The Shrine, a temporary structure constructed of lashed bamboo, formed the end-piece to the parade's funerary procession. Guarded by three cloaked Guardians, the Shrine became a contemplative place where festival goers could pay their respects to the lost souls in their lives. Paper lanterns adorned with hand-written love notes and memories were placed at the base of The Shrine as an offering to the spirits of past.
scope | Shrine, Gates + Lantern Design,
Graphics + Festival Planning
project team | Chelsea Louise Grant, Steve Gairns, Hannah Grant, Gordon Yiu, with Kat Single-Dain and Jeanette Bishop of the Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret Society